Tuesday, October 09, 2007

When Friends, family, and acquaintances alike ask, Why do you keep going back to France for vacation?, I always quip; to sit at the sidewalk, drink wine or coffee and watch the people. And, truth be known, that's a big part of it. Of course the first few trips we did the regular touristy thing and saw all the "must see" monuments, churches, museums, and parks.
In subsequent trips we began to wander off to some of the more obscure neighborhoods and less advertised places. We wanted to experience the parts of Paris and of France less traveled by sightseers.
On the 18th of sept. we took the metro only a couple of stops to Place de Bastille with a loose plan to check out opera bastille and the surrounds. My guide book had mad passing reference to an above ground park in the area, and I thought we might check that out if we happened upon it.

Well we did happen upon it and almost passed it bay. Just a few blocks, or maybe less, from the opera I espied a stairwell and suggested to D. that we climb up and scout it out just in case this was the elevated garden I'd read about that morning. Reluctantly she agreed and, lucky for me, we entered a new world...above the hustle and bustle of the Paris street life below. We spent the entire morning walking and exploring the Promenade Plantee!

The Promenade Plantée is a 4.5 km-long elevated park in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, France.

It was constructed on an abandoned 19th-century railway viaduct, which connected the Bastille area to the eastern suburbs of Paris, and ceased operation on December 14, 1969. The parkway runs from the Opéra Bastille to the eastern city limits, ending up only a short distance from the Bois de Vincennes.

The Promenade was designed by Jacques Vergely (landscape architect) and Philippe Mathieux (architect). Pedestrians have a garden environment for their high-level walk and cyclists have a route at ground level. Then, 4.5 km from the start, the routes come together at ground level and proceed to the Bois de Vincennes. The high-level route has some enclosed sections, as when it passes between modern buildings, and some open sections with expansive views.

The arcades beneath the viaduct have been transformed into arts and crafts workshops (such as the Atelier Camille Le Tallec). This section is called the "Viaduc des Arts".

without further blather, I'll just take you along on our stroll along the Promenade....................

As we were coming to the end of the promenade we were beginning to get hungry so we cut through one of the near by buildings in search of a bistro.

Et voila! un bistro .

We slaked our thirst and sated our appetites.

Next stop: Place de la Nation (the Place de la Nation, the former Place du Trône, where guillotines were set up during the French Revolution.)

After Lunch we took a stroll over by Le Gare de Lyon to see where we'd be catching the train to take us to the south of France on the weekend. And there in the middle was a huge rugby ball. Interestingly enough the area was cordoned off and guarded by police and solders. They wouldn't let any one access the station via the center court. Actually we got to the station because of a map reading error on my part so that instead of going toward the Place de la Nation I had led us in the opposite direction. One the reverse course we did find a Bureau de Poste. We took advantage of the serendipity to go in and practice my French and purchase some post card stamps.
Tomorrow you'll meet "Paris Parfait" and her wonderful husband! On our way to meet them we will take a trip to Le Jardin du Luxembourg for a picnic. We'll stop at a florist and find a bouquet of flowers for D.

A la prochaine


Blogger PEA said...

Hello dear Rel:-) Finally catching up with everyone after a busy long weekend! Look at all the wonderful harvest you got on your return from France...a wonderful bounty! Your cellar looks like mine with all the canning...I don't have that many bottles of wine though! lol I so enjoyed the walk on the promenade with you and D...how very beautiful. France certainly is an enchanting place and after reading your words and seeing your pictures, I can understand why you love going back there! xox

10:28 PM  
Anonymous tongue in cheek said...

When I lived in Paris that place was left untouched. I am glad to see it reinvented. Love the photo tour too. Especially the building cut if half :)

2:09 AM  
Blogger jellyhead said...

On y va pour les escargots, oui?! (excuse the dodgy French)

Looking forward to hearing how your blogger get-together with Paris Parfait went!

8:57 AM  
Blogger Churlita said...

What a lucky find. As usual, amazing photos too.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Kat said...

That is the coolest park ever. A great use of what could have been some pretty ugly nothing.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

I think it is great that you are finding these "hidden" spots. How lucky you are to meet Paris Parfait!

8:03 PM  
Anonymous KG said...

You now have a TRAVEL blog! The photos and tales have brought a huge smile to my face. La Promenade Plantee looks gorgeous!

10:55 PM  
Blogger Rowan said...

It's always fun to get off the beaten track a bit and find non touristy spots. Your mention of the Gare de Lyon brought back memories of my only visit to France, on my school exchange trip we spent a night in Paris and then travelled by train to Lyons from the Gare de Lyon. That's a great photo of the lion's head.

2:40 AM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Such lovely photos you've taken! It's nice to see Paris through your eyes.

1:08 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home