The first two days of summer have been gorgeous!
On Sunday, after blogging, I headed over to my old favorite, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. I got a picnic lunch at the boulangerie on the corner. Naturally I ordered in French but I was bemused to see that the sign describing their sandwiches was in English. I asked the clerk about it and she said that they get a lot of tourists. At one of least-central parks in Paris? Hélas!
I got a little sun myself but I’m afraid that I mostly soaked up ambiance.
When I was sated with the field I had a drink at Rosa Bonheur,. It was a lively scene, as usual, but I didn’t know anyone, and unfortunately I left before Sylvain arrived. Sunday evening I took a walk down to the Seine and came across a mellow trio on the Pont Saint-Louis, which was just what the doctor ordered.
This morning I set off once again for Senlis, and once again was discouraged at the railroad station by the continued disruption of schedules due to various transport strikes. I finally decided to instead do the next walk from ParisInconnu.com. This started at Batignolles, where I had left off the last walk, so I took the métro to Brochante. This gave me another opportunity to explore that neighborhood. While I still think it will get a big boost from better métro service I also noticed a lot of run-down real estate, and run-down folks. So I’m not in a particular hurry to live there after all.
Today’s walk followed the northern arc of the Petite Ceinture (little belt), a circular railway line around central Paris that was built in 1852 but was abandoned in 1932. Two sections of it have been turned into linear parks, but most of it is just an abandoned strip of extremely valuable land.
It will be very interesting to see what Paris decides to do with the Petite Ceinture in the next few decades. I predict that much of it will be developed but that the neighborhoods will have a significant influence on what happens to their segment of the old line.
In the meantime, the Petite Ceinture is a wonderful place for street art. Here’s a photo of one abandoned station, and I’ve posted a video clip of the same spot.
Another abandoned station also appealed to me. It would make someone a great pied-à-terre, though it’s something of a fixer-upper.
The walk also took me along rue Ordener, where I had been for dinner with Darko last year. In daylight I got a better appreciation of the marvelous street art on the wall alongside the adjacent railroad yard.
I made a video clip of rue Ordener street art by walking along the wall, although I should caution you that it’s still pretty busy even after YouTube did its best to stabilize it. Both videos are HD so make sure to select that option.
I’ve been pretty happy overall with the ParisInconnu.com walks, but this particular one (Parcours 9 – Evangile) became very inaccurate towards the end. Obviously the person who wrote it up made sketchy notes, then didn’t cross-check with an accurate map before publishing it. I’ve been messaging them on Facebook with my corrections but I haven’t yet gotten a reply. I do wonder, however, whether nobody else has tried to follow the walks, or whether others have encountered the same issues but not reported them, or whether others have reported the same issues and the organizers are incompetent. All options are a bit sad in one way or another.
Less than a week to go in my petit séjour. It’s normal, towards the end of a long trip, that one’s thoughts begin to bend towards home. But there’s also always sadness in the endings of good things.
Mot du jour: Vous parlez très bien le français. A comforting thing one says to a foreigner who is struggling to find the right word or phrase; the equivalent of saying “there there” to a crying baby.