promenade plantee-view from. paris, france
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19 july sunday paris
today: 8 plus miles walk
one of the buildings seen from the promenade plantee.
today we started out exploring elements of urban renewal in paris. paris is more than a city with a history that tourists like to explore….it is a living city that continues to develop and grow, combining the old and the new in a way that brings vitality to the individual neighborhoods and that has nothing to do with the tourist circuit.
first we took the metro to the 12th arrondisssement’s Bercy section and to the Bercy Village. to get there we took, in part, the new “meteor” line of the metro. it is a fully automated metro line (similar to the train we took to get from downtown NYC to JFK airport. parisians are said to like this new line because it runs even during the many strikes staged by metro workers. Bercy Village itself is part of an upscale urban renewal project that rescued a decaying area in the eastern part of the outskirts of city. it has expensive high-rise apartments, a wonderful modern park area with gardens, sculptures, play areas for children and the village itself. the village is a restored area that once was wine warehouses. it’s now a cobblestone, open-air combination of upscale stores and restaurants. there is even a starbucks, and a multiplex movie theater. we were not impressed with this faux french village even though it was full of french people out for sunday brunch. our favorite store was the pet store. the average “for sale” cat or dog was priced at about $1000 – for your basic cat or dog. unbelievable!!!!!!.
we then went to find the Promenade Plantee (planted path). you may have read about NYC “High Line Sky” path on the west side of downtown – is the inspiration for it. it is very cool! there was an old, elevated industrial rail line that fell out of service and into decay in the late 1960s. it is now a three-mile long promenade planted with cherry trees, wisteria and raised bushes. several stories above the street, its green benches seem to draw parisians who come to read, eat, talk, sleep or kiss -- while other parisians jog by or walk by pushing their babies in strollers. it has the added advantage of allowing you to see the city streets from above and look into apartment windows as you walk by.
it all makes for an enjoyable stroll. part of the promenade contains an old viaduct that now houses artisan shops. since this is sunday they were closed, so we plan to return.
those who think that parisians are unfriendly are wrong. the promenade is hard to find. the first to help us was an elderly couple that walked out of their way to show us the way. then a jogger stopped to make sure that we were not lost and took time to tell us about his recent visit to New York City.
since we ended up close to the marais section we joined the crowds of parisians walking the streets. first stop was the place des vosges where we looked in several of the art galleries. in one of them the work on exhibit bore some resemblance to my style of art. the owner of the gallery and i discussed my work and i left my card with the owner who promised to visit my web site and asked me to write to her at the gallery website.
then who could resist another falafel? we joined the line at a different falafel stand (our third stand) and during our wait talked to the couple in front of us – Ricky Martin. They were a very modern european couple – not just a couple from any particular country in europe. ricky, the woman was born in denmark, met martin in Argentina and married him. martin works for BBC in paris (and is soon off to libya on assignment) and the couple have apartments in both paris and london. they take the chunnel train between paris and london – a two-hour trip. they both have visited the US but want to go back. where they want to go surprised us – to portland, OR. they read that it is the off the tourist best “hot spot” in the US.
then it was time to walk home stopping for bread and eggs. omelets for dinner (still full from last night’s amazing dinner).
art outside the edge