Rue Didot and around

Rue Didot is a quite « normal » street in the 14th arrondissment. What is also normal in this arrondissement is that, looking to the right or the left, you will find a number of small streets and  alleys… Rue Didot crosses also “La Petite Ceinture” (the “Little Belt” – see previous posts here) which also here soon will be made into a nice walking space.

All the little side streets and alleys are covered with cobblestones, even being renewed.

It’s obvious that many of the buildings have been workshops, some have been, or are, artist studios…

… like this – modern – one. Looking through the front windows I could see Winston Churchill in a plaster cast version. It became obvious that this must be the studio of Jean Cardot. You can find the statue of Winston close to the Petit Palais (see here and here). Cardot is also the one who e.g. made the statue of Charles de Gaulle, in front of the Grand Palais (see here) and of Thomas Jefferson in front of the Palace of the Legion of Honour (see here).

Wikipedia states that a building in another little alley should have been the place where another sculptor, Auguste Bartholdi, made the first version of the Statue of Liberty. This seems more than doubtful… the years, nothing corresponds. Well, I have talked about this statue a number of times (see e.g. here and here)

Well, there are some flowers around also.

Someone found and uses an Italian mail box.

Here are a few more, general, views from the different small streets and alleys - Villa Collet, Villa Deshayes, Villa Duthy, Villa Jamot, Villa Mallebay, Rue Ledion…

One of the nice little houses was once the home of a leading WWII resistant, Raymond Losserand, who was caught and shot by the occupants in 1942. His wife, Louise, was also captured and was deported to Auschwitz, later to Ravensbrück and Mauthausen. She survived. There is now a Rue Raymond-Losserand in Paris and also a little Place Louise-Losserand.

In the southern part of Rue Didot there used to be some industrial and hospital buildings, now partly transformed to more social and even some artistic activities - the Red Cross is also present.   


Montparnasse Cemetery... again

Eleven years since I made a post about the Montparnasse Cemetery (see here), so maybe time for a little more…? 

I somehow feel that the more or less abandoned graves often are the nicest ones to look at. The red roses on the top picture were on such a tomb. Here are some more examples:

There is a special event around a tomb which was abandoned for many years, but not anymore. It seems that the Romanian sculptor, painter and photographer, Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) made some 40 versions of a sculpture named “The Kiss” and one of the earliest ones – the only one where you can see the kissing couple in full – was in 1911 placed on the tomb of a young Russian lady, Tatiana Rachewskaïa, who committed suicide for (lost?) love at the age of 23, in 1910. The only known portrait of her is to be found on her tomb. Her Russian family obviously more or less forgot her until they realised that similar sculptures by Brancusi today are sold for tens of millions of dollars or euros. For a couple of years there has been a lawsuit between the City of Paris and the family regarding the ownership of the sculpture, which now is hidden in a wooden box … and the tomb is surveyed by a number of cameras.

I'm not going to make a more or less full report on the about 35.000 tombs at this cemetery and I already talked about some of them in my previous post (eleven years old post), but just remind you about how this cemetery is to be found in the shadow of the Montparnasse Tower (see previous post).

Here are just some random tombs and some small extra decorations to be found on top of some of them...

... and some additional photos of a snail on a flower and one of the spectacular adornment, "The Bird" by Niki de Saint Phalle, on which I already wrote in my previous Montparnasse post.

There are hundreds of celebrities buried here and in my previous post I already talked about some of them. I could not avoid showing some of them again and also some "new" - the most recent personality is obviously Agnès Varda.


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.

Addendum :
The Saint-Denis Tourism office obviously found this post and made some positive comments. They asked me to make some links to a special event, some kind of street art festival, and also to a more general article about the Ourcq Canal, which I do with pleasure, just click!  



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.