Mama held him at arm’s length. “You must be strong like the cedars, and the pine trees in in Le Jardin des Plantes. You must not bend like a sapling in the wind. Promise me, Ruben that you will stand tall and fight for what is right no matter what. You must never give up.”
In the version of my manuscript, Beyond Belief, written before I went to Paris, this is what Mama says to Ruben when she drops him off at the Grand Mosque of Paris to keep him safe.
So I was astonished to discover when I got here that Le Jardin des Plantes was so close to the mosque, just across the street in fact … on the other side of Rue Linné.
I had stumbled upon Le Jardin des Plantes when I Googled ‘Tall trees that grow in Paris’. I wanted the tree to be a symbol of hope and strength for Ruben. Something of the outside world that might be visible or that he would remember whilst at the mosque.
Now here I was, standing in the courtyard looking up at a tall tree from Le Jardin des Plantes as it peered over the walls of the Le Grande Mosquée de Paris.
Le Jardin des Plantes was founded in 1626 and is Paris’ major botanical garden.It is one of seven departments of the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle and covers 28 hectares.
Le Jardin des Plantes was another oasis in the heart of Paris … a city of so much beauty but the scene of so much sorrow.
It’s a stunning gardens … a reminder of renewal and regrowth … of stability amidst turmoil.
Seeing Ruben’s tree peering over the wall of the mosque was a symbolic moment for me. Have you ever had moments like this when you’re researching?
Feel free to share them here.
Happy writing 🙂