The blues of a shopkeeper, lonely and waiting for the Strasbourg Orangerie park to emerge from its torpor

The blues of a shopkeeper, lonely and waiting for the Strasbourg Orangerie park to emerge from its torpor
The blues of a shopkeeper, lonely and waiting for the Strasbourg Orangerie park to emerge from its torpor

A meeting place for lovers, families, sports enthusiasts and simple walkers, the Orangerie park in Strasbourg is currently changing. But it will still take patience before returning to all the attractions that have attracted tens of thousands of visitors for decades.

Wedding photos, romantic meetings, jogging, digestive walks, the desire to get some fresh air not far away, the possibility of letting the children play in appropriate areas, going on a boat, a trip in small cars on a closed circuit…the Parc de l’Orangerie in Strasbourg is all this and more. Catering, an ice cream vendor, pancakes and toilets accessible to all, of course. But for months, even years, the atmosphere has changed.

Over time the zoo has disappeared, the ice cream seller and the pancake seller have left, the restaurant has closed (the Buehrehiesel remains but not everyone can afford it), the bowling alley is under construction and the Adjoining toilets have closed.

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Two kiosks closed, one of which is due to reopen this year.

© Valérie Ruiz Suri / France Télévisions

Currently remaining attractions are the small car circuit and the boats on the lake. They have transported thousands of children on their closed circuit and taken countless couples and families to the great waterfall of the lake, but for some time now, they have been less successful because the environment is no longer the same. “Currently we have a lot fewer customers. People, after one to two hours, leave the park. regrets Frédéric Couvert, owner of the two concessions. “To the extent that a certain number of kiosks have disappeared, and people cannot necessarily find something to eat, have a drink, or toilets, this actually poses problems for the attractiveness of the park.”

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The boats among the few remaining attractions, for the moment.

© Valérie Ruiz Suri / France Télévisions

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The car circuit has seen millions of children pass by since the 1950s

© France Télévisions

1er May, a sunny public holiday, with 25 degrees on the thermometer, there were a lot of people in the park. Students revise their exams, groups of friends picnic on the lawns, families head towards the boats. “We didn’t come for that, but we passed in front. As there weren’t many people at the beginning, we saw that the children really wanted to do it, they were the ones who motivated us.”

For the owner, it is a relief but we will have to hold on until the park comes out of its torpor. For now, the city deputy, Suzanne Brolly, in charge of green spaces and town planning, ensures that the work is progressing.

“The closing of the zoo, the departure of the pancake and ice cream stands, vsIt is true that this gives the impression of abandonment of the commercial offer on the site, but in terms of the offer of natural spaces, there is a lot of work that has been done to plant more trees, more shrubs.”

The elected official also points out that the fountains and the waterfall, which had been stopped for years, are working again. The water jets will soon work again too. “The large play area will be redeveloped this year (the one where the spider is) and another area for the little ones has been set up with wooden games.”

“Regarding the two ice cream and crepe stands, sanitation work is needed and as there is work, it is necessary to consult more widely and not necessarily attribute it to an operator, even a historical one.” explains Suzanne Brolly. “Anyone can apply to operate these two buildings (small buildings) and so we put out a call for expressions of interest, just like for bowling. Today we will have a new operator for one of the buildings and the second requires much heavier work and we hope to be able to consult within the year so that it will also be in operation next year.”

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Picnic by the water.

© Valérie Ruiz Suri / France Télévisions

In the meantime, the boat and small car dealer must pay his installments, even if he had monthly payments reduced during covid, because the public could not frequent the green spaces. “He was offered accounting support like other traders in the area.“, specifies the elected official.

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The car circuit has seen millions of children pass by since the 1950s

© France Télévisions

According to her, nearly four hundred thousand euros were invested in the new playground and the rehabilitation of the kiosks. “We changed the pumps and all the fountains in the park, these are very important investments. Concerning the zoo, old sea serpent, the announcement will be made in June.”

While waiting for the return of the public, as in the best times of the park’s attendance, it is already possible to enjoy this corner of nature, right in front of the European institutions, to take boat trips, if the weather permits, and to rush onto the track where vintage clunkers and pink and blue racing cars circulate.

When everything is open again, “It’s going to be even better later.” promises the chosen one.

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