My walks in the last two days have taken me east, to the 12ème, 20ème and 19ème arrondisements. These areas have some of the densest concentrations of blue on the map I mentioned last year which distinguishes photos tagged by Parisians from those tagged by tourists, i.e. places that Parisians thought interesting enough to photograph that tourists don’t visit that often.
Parc de Bercy in the 12ème is a big highly-developed park with a lot of distinct areas. The vineyard isn’t representative of the rest of the park but I thought it was photogenic (and slightly reminiscent of Marie Antoinette’s make-believe farm at Versailles):
The area developed into the park was formerly used for wine warehouses, and railroad tracks have been preserved in several areas to remind one of its history. At the southeast end of the park one set of warehouses has been converted into a posh shopping center called Bercy Village.
This morning I set out to explore rue de Ménilmontant, which starts at the western edge of the 20ème and runs up a considerable hill. Towards the top I encountered this inspiring mural, captioned “1871-2011 Vive La Commune de Paris“:
I expected this to be a run-down area but it was mostly high-rises, some of which were quite modern (or even downright futuristic).
I did find a depressing area a bit further north in the 19ème. The Place des Fêtes was anything but festive, reminding me of Boston’s barren City Hall Plaza.
And the métro station was even more gratifyingly grungy.
Nevertheless, the worst places I can find in Paris so far remind me of Boston and Cambridge, where I will return on Thursday.
On a more cheerful note, the view from the temple de la Sibylle in the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is delightful, ranging from sunbathers by the lake to that other temple, Sacré Coeur.
It’s 99 degrees outside – a record – so I’m taking a siesta this afternoon. The humidity is low, and I’ve experienced much worse at Burning Man, so I didn’t notice the heat much when I was walking around earlier. I did notice, however, that most of the other folks on the métro weren’t speaking French. The locals had the good sense to take the day off!