Saturday 20 June 2015

Quelle belle journée!

Looking for something a bit different to do today, after strolling through the pleasant and peaceful Montparnasse Cemetery,  we took the Metro to the Promenade Plantee, which is a former rail line now the preserve of pedestrians and cyclists. It's down below road level and so is remarkably peaceful, the traffic reduced to a distant hum and the birdsong and pinging of bikers' bells the main things to hear. The cycling looked so appealing that we went back up to the city and sought out a public bike stand, to hire ourselves some machines.

Well, the theory is good, but the practice for us anyway was not very practised, and it took so long for the three of us to work through the process of punching buttons to enter numbers that by the time the last bike was released from the stand, the half-hour hire period for the first was well begun. So, we spun away along the path, through tunnels, past water features, skimming along satisfyingly fast and free - and then reached the end of the cycleway, scarcely 10 minutes later. That was disappointing, but there was no option but to relinquish the bikes at the nearest stand and continue on foot.

The Viaduc des Arts was lovely, though: this time an elevated rail line, pleasantly landscaped with water features, trees, wild flowers, benches, fountains and trellised archways, and giving satisfying views over the traffic below, into the first floors of apartments and of architectural details on buildings we would never have noticed from street level. What a good idea!

Paris on a fine June Saturday was, of course, fairly heaving with people, not all of them tourists like me - plenty of locals out enjoying their city too, picnicking in the parks or on the banks of the Seine. And why wouldn't they, with views like this?

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