Along the canal

The top picture - and these two - may be representative of a canal where fewer barges now seem to berth along the quays.

I took a rather long walk the other day, maybe some 20 km (12 miles), starting at the end of the Canal Saint Martin (see previous posts e.g. here and here)…

… with the Bassin de la Villette (see previous posts e.g. here, here and here) and then walking along the Canal de l’Ourcq…

… first as it is running along the Parc de la Villette...

... and then I left Paris and continued to Pantin…

… and all the way to Bondy.

I’m not going to tell a long story about the Canal de l’Ourcq here (you can find it here if you wish), but just remind you that the canal was initiated during the Napoleonic years to – then – offer potable water to the Parisians. Today it provides about half of Paris' requirements of non-potable water – for sewer systems, gutters, parks… , but although non-potable, the water is considered as clean enough for swimming (see again here).

The canal is of course also to some extent used for cargo traffic, today mainly for building material (I have not been able to find any statistics) with a wish to increase this kind of more ecological transport. There is also some limited leisure boating, maybe not so attractive for longer trips - the canal ends (or rather starts) in a cul-de-sac.

Today quite a lot of housing projects take place along the canal, offering a nice, peaceful environment.  But, there are of course a lot of traces of what “has been”.  

What perhaps is really striking along the canal is the ever present street art. Well, I don’t know if street art is the correct term here, but I don’t think there is anything named canal art.

There has even been some sponsored art, covering complete walls.

Some of the artists were actually in full activity during my walk.



A bit too busy to make a real blog-post. Here are just a few Paris pictures from this year for which I have not found any use.


Half-an-hour's green walk in the 16th arrondissement

Yes, in the middle of the 16th arrondissement, you can have a nice green walk, completely away from traffic. We are again on the abandoned rail tracks of “La Petite Ceinture” (the Little Belt) on which I have talked a number of times, e.g. here, here, here and here. This part is between the former stations “Passy-La Muette” and “Auteuil”.

These station buildings – from 1854 – are now both restaurants. The rail traffic stopped in 1985 and the tracks disappeared in 1993.

We can see “Passy-La Muette” as it once looked when even visiting royalties arrived here…

… and also the “Auteuil” station as it once looked. In 1962 this became an end station, the continuation of the line southwards was demolished.  

Yes, this is really calm, you hardly meet anybody, even a nice weather day.

You walk on ground which is a mixture of fallen leaves and needles, surrounded by traces of the original gravel.

The “nature” is half-wild – well under control, in an ecological way. There are some benches, waste is taken care of…

You can see how nature takes over even on the tree stumps.

As all over Paris there are homes for birds and insects … and under the insect-hotel, even a home for hedgehogs.

There a few discrete flowers…

… but, maybe, the best views are when looking up.


Behind closed doors

I really enjoy having a look behind closed doors… sometimes you are lucky and can discretely visit a nice backyard like this one. Not much to add I believe? 

I’m not giving the address as it’s not officially open to public. It’s somewhere in the 14th arrondissement, not far away from this wall decoration and a rather untypical metro entrance.


Roman Baths

I mentioned in a previous post that the water consumption per capita during the Roman times (1st to 4th centuries) in Paris, then referred to as Lutetia, was higher than today, maybe then some 250 litres against hardly 200 litres today. One reason to the high water consumption was of course to a great part due to the baths. There were several of them. The one, which to a large part still can be seen, is referred to as the “northern one”, today as the “Cluny Baths” (“Thermes de Cluny”). The medieval Cluny building took over part of the space occupied by the Baths and the remains of the Baths are now integrated into the Cluny Medieval Museum, on which I wrote in a previous post.

Here is a comparison between Lutetia during the Roman times and of Paris today. We can see how important in size the Baths were with their palaestra, (several) caldariums, frigidarium… Interesting to know is that the Baths were open to "everybody" - however what about women? 

The best preserved room is the frigidarium - see also top picture. Consider that this room is some 1800 years old. I found (stole) on the net a picture of what it may have looked like during the Roman times, all in bright colours. There are still some decorative “details” left and also some other elements like the Roman pillars which once stood somewhere in front of the much later built Notre Dame.

Walking from one room to the other you can see how the space later has been occupied and has been  influenced by the medieval times.

The Museum uses parts of the rooms for exposing their treasures, like these tombstones, the upper smaller one coming from the Saint-Pierre de Montmartre Abbey (see previous post).

Because of what just happened to Notre Dame, the Museum has exceptionally and for a few weeks opened one of the rooms, normally under restoration, where a number of heads of Kings of Judah, and some Apostles, are exhibited. They all once decorated the front side of the Notre Dame, which suffered a lot during the French Revolution years. There is also a statue of “Adam” from 1260, also once decorating Notre Dame. On some of these you can find some (very small) paint fragments.

Part of the Baths are of course in ruins, but can be seen from the street. The tight fences make it difficult to take photos…

… but I climbed a bit.