Monthly Archives: January 2018

A French family reunion in the Perigord

A French family reunion in the Perigord

My French family has been the main reason for my annual trips home over the last two decades. France has been the other one. Most trips take me back to Paris, because my parents, my brother and his family all live there. I may surprise some “Parisophiles” when I say I relish the {too rare} opportunities to stray away from the French capital and explore la province. 2017 was a good year: I was able to attend our extended family’s annual reunion in the beautiful Dordogne region, otherwise known as le Périgord. Even if many in our tribe became adopted Parisians a long time ago, our roots are Mediterranean, and for the French part at least, securely grounded in the southwest.

French family
“Je viens du sud, et par tous les chemins, j’y reviens.” (I come from the south and all roads lead me back to it.) – Michel Sardou

This is not to say it was easy to get to le Périgord to be reunited with my French family. I stayed in Bordeaux for a few days, then traveled east to Sarlat, and finally arrived in Montignac, where my cousins live and where they organized the reunion. I was not driving, and had to be creative. When you leave Paris and travel around la province, especially in the countryside, taxis or Uber drivers can become as elusive as bérets on Parisians’ heads. Trains get slow and connections complicated. From Bordeaux to Sarlat, I used the wonderful BlaBla car carpooling service. I lucked out. My drivers were a fun, well-traveled, retired French couple. My fellow travel companion a young waiter, Maxime, on his way to his summer work assignment. For over two hours, we shared plenty of “blah-blah,” discussing life in France and in the United States, French and American wine, our families, and more. We took a mid-morning break on the side of the road and our hosts served coffee and a light breakfast, des viennoiseries, of course. Didn’t I say I lucked out? My cost for the trip? 15.50 Euros (about $19.) Experience? Priceless. Bienvenue en France, French Girl in Seattle! 

French family
My travel companions, Jean, his wife B. and Maxime. Merci BlaBla car!

Montignac is a charming town in le Périgord, about 12 miles north of Sarlat. It is located by the Vézère river, and surrounded by lush scenery. A walk around town, along peaceful streets lined with the occasional 14th century timbered house, delivers the same message heard in so many villages and towns all over southern France: “We are old, older than the château ruins you see in the distance. We are quaint. History happened here many centuries ago, and our buildings and small museum tell the tale. Take a walk across the bridge. Rest inside the church for a while. Real people enjoy simple lives in this town, shared with their families and neighbors, living off the produce of the land found at the market. They play rugby on the weekends. A couple of our native sons may have found fame in the big city. They are remembered in a street name or on a plaque on the side of a building. Some of us may never leave. Ici, c’est chez nous (this is home.)”

French family

French family

French family
Le lavoir (old wash house)

What does a French family reunion involve?,” you might ask.

First, a welcoming place where several generations (including young children) can meet and socialize casually over a holiday weekend. The problem with such a large group: The gîte-like accommodations (semi-detached villas) where we stayed on the outskirts of Montignac did not provide such a gathering space. This was not a problem for my cousins, who know their way around town: They rented a large room from the local rugby club. The tables could be set up indoors or outdoors. It was perfect!

French family

As you may expect from a French family, a significant amount of time was spent eating (mostly pot-luck style) and drinking. 100% of the meals started with the traditional apéro (aperitif.) Some of us enjoyed impromptu apéros while walking around town too. There is something about a French café terrace on a quaint small town square (la place du village,) that is impossible to resist. That is my theory, and I am going to stick with it!

French family
Fénélon: The local aperitif (walnut wine, crème de cassis, Cahors wine)
French family
Munchies…
French family
A more sophisticated apéro
French family
Potluck is great, but catering works too. Paella!

One group, “les sportifs,” got together at my cousins’ home and organized a table tennis tournament. My favorite aunt, in her early 90s, played – and won – one round.

French family
Allez, Tata!

Meanwhile, “les touristes” wandered off, camera (or iPhone) in hand, to stroll around Montignac. Look at these: Can you blame us?

We piled up in a car and kept going; venturing off on small country roads, stepping out for short walks and more photos.

French family
Les coquelicots
French family
La campagne 
French family
Two cousins, catching up

Of course, in the name of culture, a visit was paid to the new Lascaux International Center for Cave Art (a.k.a. “Lascaux 4.”) If you have already visited the world-famous Lascaux II cave, discovered in 1940 and Montignac‘s claim to fame, prepare to be amazed by the complex, the new replica of the original cave, and the numerous hands-on exhibits. Prehistory has never felt so close, or so familiar.

French family
Lascaux 4: the complex
French family
Lascaux 4: Exhibits

Then again, culture (or art) need not be displayed in grandiose surroundings…

French family

French family
with my sister-in-law, the Selfie-Mistress

A French family reunion is mostly about people spending time together, catching up after many months apart, until they meet again (in this case,) in a small town in northern Spain for a few days in the summer. For this expatriate, who has missed so many gatherings, birthdays and celebrations over the years, this was a special time indeed. My dad turned 80 that month, and it was heartwarming to see the great care every member in our tribe put into making him (and my mom) feel special. From photo albums with sweet handwritten notes telling stories about my parents’ lives, to the beautiful watercolor by my talented cousin (based on a photo of my late grandfather’s store in L’Isle-Jourdain, south of Toulouse, where our French family reunions used to happen years ago,) everything was done simply, yet thoughtfully. It was beautiful!

French family
Some of us, in downtown Montignac

French family
Antoine the rugby player, manning the barbecue
French family
Not all art work sits in museums…

 

French family
Ma famille (“les Parisiens“)

 

Merci Montignac, et à bientôt.

French family
La Vézère à Montignac, so mad it turned red!

 

 

Dear readers: 

The French Girl in Seattle blog has just turned 7 and will be getting a new look in 2018! If you enjoy looking at France and all things French through the eyes of this French native, consider signing up for la Mailing List (on this page,) to receive new stories first via email, or join me daily on Instagram (@Frenchgirlinseattle)
If you enjoyed reading this story, let me know in the comment section below, (I love discovering your messages,) or share with a friend! Merci. 

All photos by French Girl in Seattle, C. Redor or J. Radegonde. Please do not use text or images without permission.

46 Responses to A French family reunion in the Perigord

  1. Merci!! C’etait merveilleux! J’aime beaucoup les photos. Ma famille me manque, et j’ai besoin d’alle les rejoinder en Provence. Je vous remercie. Celia m’a render heureuse at Trieste!! ????

    • Je comprends Michelle. Il est très difficile parfois, d’être éloigné de sa famille, surtout pendant des périodes prolongées. J’ai eu la chance de pouvoir rentrer en France chaque année depuis mon installation aux Etats-Unis il y a plus de 20 ans. Mes parents sont aussi venus me rendre visite pendant longtemps. A vous souhaitant de retourner bientôt en Provence, mes amitiés.

  2. Your photos are gorgeous. They really capture not only this region but also the essence of France’s quaint everyday beauty.

  3. Just lovely. How wonderful that your extended family not only keeps in touch but also gets together.
    Based on your earlier post about Sarlat, which was the final coup de pouce on top of everything else I had read, we were going to stop in Sarlat on our way home from the holidays. But Carmen interfered. We could barely see the road, and wandering around a village was out of the question in the déluge. I can’t wait to get back, and I definitely want to see Lascaux, too!

  4. LOVED the pictures. One side of our family lives in France In Charente-Maritime and we treasure our times together there.

    And you live in beautiful Seattle – best of both worlds I would say. I lived near Tacoma for several years – ahhhh when that Mountain shows her face – breathtaking.

    Again loved the pictures.

    Suz

  5. This post brought tears to my eyes – what a lovely family and what a lovely reunion! The tears came because I ache for at least a part-time life in the French countryside. Good food, great friends, beautiful architecture – the freedom to walk and talk through quiet streets and to explore the countryside and learn more about my beloved France – ah! Someday for me, I hope.

  6. Merci, merci, c’est un beau cadeau-partage, cet article, French Girl , pour moi qui aime tant Sarlat, la Vezere, et le Perigord en general. Chanceuse de pouvoir renouer le contact une fois par an. Merci, et bravo ♥

    • Avec plaisir, Lise. Je me rends en France tous les ans, mais je ne peux pas assister à ces réunions de famille la plupart du temps. C’est pour ça que celle-ci était très spéciale, et il était hors de question de la manquer, puisque nous avons célébré les 80 ans de mon papa.

  7. While we all know how wonderful Paris is, I have a very special place in my heart for the Southwest of France. I spent several sommers in Bordeaux and have memories that will last a lifetime. I have visited the caves and they are amazing . Oh and the quote by Michel Sardou who ismy favorite french singer . I really enjoyed your family reunion and look forward to more of your adventures ..

  8. Loved this. I’ve traveled a bit in France (Provence, Bordeaux) on several trips — and have been to Paris a few times (renting an apartment there twice). Don’t know when I’ll be back but at my age (80), think it would be wise to plan something this year.

  9. Beautiful photos, beautiful family! You are blessed. Thank you for sharing this wonderful occasion. I enjoyed every minute! Andi

  10. You keep writing. I keep reading! I may have to stay more than the two months in France to see it all. I want to see everything and go everywhere. I am so looking forward to April when my husband and I travel to France (mostly). The people, the places and the adventures we will enjoy for sure.

  11. Bonjour Veronique! Geeze I had no idea you had gone to this part of France! Finally getting back to your roots girl! 😉 It was super nice to see this. It touched my heart. I felt that family reunion. It’s been too long for me. You represented a typical french gathering perfectly. Love that and I miss those times. After my french grandmother died – it broke up the family. The inheritance etc…So I play diplomat and go to cousins to cousins to say hi. But that gets expensive. Especially now with the government shut down! How will I travel? =( xox Sandy

    • Bonsoir Sandy. Great to see you here again! I know you have enjoyed some of these French gatherings too over the years. I am a big proponent of staying connected with one’s roots, in spite of time, distance, family feuds… or government shut downs. Keep visiting la Belle France!

  12. comme c’est sympathique and heart warming to watch the beautiful pictures of your family reunion!!! you made me want to go back to my roots in Metz, but its just not the same since my parents passed away. I will see my baby brother this summer and he will come visit us in Arizona in the fall with his wife. We do what we can. I moved in the US 38 years ago and i feel french and american at the same time, a leg in each country and my heart in the middle….not always easy,, but doing my best, on day at a time, and one voyage at a time too! Your blog is full of such helpful infos like babacar, that I did not know. Thank you for sharing the knowledge et les petits trucs.
    Amicalement, Nicole

    • Thank you so much for your message Nicole. It means a lot. I appreciate all of my readers’ comments, but those coming from expats who live away from France, like myself, are even more special. One day at a time… Bonne année !

  13. je viens de e lire en essayant de traduire et suis ravie de voir combien de personnes aiment tes articles qui dé peignent si bien la France c’est un régal!!tu ferais une super journaliste!!!! bravo ,ma fille bises mom

  14. I think it’s magnificent that you have started your blog and we can also follow you through social media. Showing us such beautiful places and talking about all things French, really rewards us who cannot otherwise know this insider information on beautiful France and Paris. And of course seeing about a real French family. Merci for this opportunity! I hope one day to be able to go visit all those great places.

Leave a reply

Le Canal Saint Martin and beyond

Le Canal Saint Martin and beyond

In the heart of Paris’s trendy 10th arrondissement lies the peaceful and atmospheric Canal Saint Martin. Unlike some of the eateries, cafés and boutiques in the neighborhood, the canal has been there for a very long time. In the early 19th century, Napoleon I, who was as much a skilled administrator as he was a military…

27 Responses to Le Canal Saint Martin and beyond

  1. Once again an excellent stroll thru a less-visited part of Paris. In fact it was my second home, after I reluctantly moved from Ile St Louis. You say:
    “Over the next 20 years, the neighborhood would morph into one of the trendiest, most popular strolling grounds in Paris, favored by locals and out-of-town visitors alike.”

    It became trendy for exactly the same reason I moved there: it was the cheapest property in Paris and as a poor scientist it was where I could afford to buy something with proper rooms, ie. other than a very small studio (though it was also right next to my place of work at Hopital St Louis). For the same reasons young people could more easily buy or rent there. Not BoBo territory (though it may be morphing into that today?) but more youthful and studenty and ethnic.

    I suppose it was less desirable because the 10th contains Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est plus, like you say, was historically filled with light industry around the canal and train lines. Though most had gone by the early 90s when I moved there and most of the ZACs (rehabilitation zones) had been completed in the 70s and 80s. Almost all of Quai de Jemmapes, from Republique to Stalingrad, consists of modern apartment blocks, except for those patches of ancient ones such as Hotel du Nord (which in reality is pretty decrepit–probably its filmic heritage saved it from demolition). The transformation of the Place de la Republique from a car-infested traffic island into a pedestrian-friendly plaza has helped.

    • Merci de votre visite. I imagine a former resident must be even more interested in the many transformations this neighborhood has gone through over the last few decades. You are correct about l’Hôtel du Nord. It was run down, set to get torn down (and likely replaced by a new building like the modern apartment block you mentioned,) when Parisians (many cinephiles,) decided to organize and fight to save the old hotel in the 1980s. From street demonstrations, (in typical French fashion,) to fund raising efforts, to media campaigns, they were active and eventually won: Even after the hotel had been renovated and turned into a restaurant, the iconic façade was preserved and became a “Historic Monument of France.” It has been protected since. Here is an interesting article I meant to share but did not include at the end of the story. http://www.hoteldunord.org/fr/historique/hist-canal

  2. That scene of Amelie on one of the iconic green passerelles over the canal (and close by to Hotel du Nord) is perhaps the best known today, but I believe it may have been Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s partial homage to another famous film scene, from the Marcel Carné epic movie Les enfants du paradis (1945); if I remember correctly the scene is night time (or dusk, same as in Amelie) with Arletty and Jean-Louis Barrault on the bridge. Of course Marcel Carné also made Hotel du Nord which also starred Arletty.

    A more recent movie that features extensively features the canal is One Day (2011) starring Anne Hathaway & Jim Sturgess; they cross over the canal on one of the passerelles too but a bit further downstream, in fact at Avenue Richerand (my street). Much of the Paris segment of the movie is set around here (where the Hathaway character lives) and there is also a brief glimpse of one of the cafes involved in the 2015 terrorist shooting–at rue Alibert.

    But continuing the filmic links I want to mention something I discovered just last week. If you follow the canal right to the edge of Paris, ie. take the left (NW) turn into Canal St Denis, just beyond where it passes under the trains tracks from Gare de l’Est at the limit of the 19th arrondissement, there are three newish Metro stations. They serve the Tram 3b extension (and one also serves RER-E). Apparently their names were conferred, and insisted upon, by then-mayor socialist Bertrand Delanöe, even though they broke the rule about using geographic names (he perhaps got around this by also renaming streets around them). Anyway they are female icons: Rosa Parks, Ella Fitzgerald and Delphine Seyrig. I notice that opposite Rosa Parks there is a Passage Susan Sontag!

    When I went to Wiki to refresh my memory of Seyrig, I found this:
    “Seyrig was a major feminist figure in France. Throughout her career, she used her celebrity status to promote women’s rights. The most important of the three films she directed was the 1977 Sois belle et tais-toi (Be Pretty and Shut Up), which included actresses Shirley MacLaine, Maria Schneider, and Jane Fonda, speaking frankly about the level of sexism they had to deal with in the film industry.”

    Exactly 40 years before #MeToo!

    • Thank you for another informative comment. If you and I ever met for a drink by le Canal St Martin, we would discuss movies and popular French culture, I imagine… I will make sure to check out the area you mention, and already traveled via the new Rosa Parks station on my way to my parents’ place in the suburbs, another illustration Paris keeps changing and reinventing herself a lot more than many give her credit for. I can’t resist sharing the most iconic movie scene ever filmed by le Canal St Martin (at least for French cinephiles,) a long time before Mademoiselle Amélie stopped by to practice her “ricochets” in the canal: The “Atmosphère, atmosphère… Est-ce que j’ai une gueule d’atmosphère?” line, delivered by actress Arletty in the iconic “Hôtel du Nord” movie. The scene provides a unique peek into what the old Canal St Martin neighborhood used to look like in its working class days. It’s also a great illustration, via Arletty’s unique voice and delivery, of the famous “Parisian gouaille.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DKI0EP-RMA

  3. Wow, the canal has changed so much in the last 10 years since I have been there! I loved it then and am looking forward to exploring it when I go back. Thanks for a great post!

    • Merci beaucoup. I am glad you enjoyed your stroll with me today. I live for the details and am much more comfortable spotting (and capturing) them than I am with landscape photography. I leave that part to professional photographers!

  4. Love it!
    I used to live in Paris (for 20 years!) but I don’t know it very well.
    Now next time I am in the city I’ll go there for sure!
    You made me want to.
    What is the orange wall pic just before the Hôtel du Nord?

    • Bonjour Catherine. The orange wall has changed over time. It is located by le Canal St Martin, on quai de Valmy. The wall is popular with street artists who regularly paint different scenes and messages on it. It made the news after the 2015 terror attacks when a giant “Fluctuat Nec Mergitur” fresco was painted there as a tribute to Paris’s resilience (“Tossed by the Waves but Never Sunk.) It is the city’s official motto. You can look it up on Google. I have a few photos of it, but chose to share this version, captured last June, instead. Life goes on…

  5. Excellent reportage sur ce magnifique coin de Paris que je connais et adore. Merci Véronique. Les photos sont très belles.

  6. You’ve got me feeling nostalgique. I lived in the 11th and until 2012 my office was in the 10th near the canal. Your photos captured much of what I saw walking to and from work. We would eat lunch by the canal in the summer and play boules after work nearby. And Antoine et Lili got plenty of my euros. Thank you for highlighting this lovely corner of Paris!

  7. Thanks for this great article on the Canal St Martin area. This is my neighbourhood where I own a small flat 20 steps from the Canal. All my visitors love staying here as it gives a different look to Paris. A more relaxed, local feel. The number of great restaurants has increased in the last few years as well as a younger local crowd.

    Trish
    rentaparisflat.com

  8. Another great post! Thank you for sharing your way around Paris. I have noted the places in this post so to be sure to visit them when there in May. We will have a month to visit Paris (May 9th – June 9th), 2 weeks in Nice (April 5-20th), Bordeaux (5/1-5/4 & 2 weeks in Caen (late June) area. Almost forgot the Toulouse area (5/4-9th). I will scour your past blogs for more interesting places to see. I much prefer ‘off the beaten path’ type places.
    If you are at all planning on being in France somewhere during that time would love to meet up & share stories.
    Cheers!
    DiAnn

  9. What would be the easiest way to get there? It is on my list when I make my first trek to Paris in September. We are staying in the 5th. The friend I am travelling with has been to Paris once in 2012 but she did not visit that area. We want to keep 2 days for just exploring and this is an area I would like to see.

    Thanks much for any advice

    p.s. loved watching your Cafe chat with Corey!

    • Bonjour Tami. If you are staying on the Left Bank, you will have to cross over to the Right Bank. An easy way to visit le Canal St Martin is to pick “Republique” as your Metro stop. The Canal neighborhood is within walking distance of la Place de la République. Hope you enjoy it! If you are looking for a lunch place when you get there, I reviewed a new Italian restaurant by the Canal on the FGIS Facebook page this week. Bonne visite.

    • FGIS is correct. However it is one of the great walks of Paris and absolutely that is what you should do. Beginning in the Leftbank go to Notre Dame and walk across the (pedestrian) Pont St Louis at the rear of the cathedral, onto Ile St Louis. Walk the length of the island on its central (almost its only) street, rue St Louis-en-Ile, right to its end at Pont Sully.

      Walk north on Pont Sully across to the Rightbank and take the riverside walk here, heading upstream about 500m until you come to the Bassin de l’Arsenal. This is the pleasure port with a few hundred peniches (barges) and assorted river boats are moored. Go up the westside (Bvd Bourdon) of the port about halfway then cross high over the water on the passerelle (ped bridge, continuation of rue Mornay) to the eastside where you can descend to Jardin de l’Arsenal (with its ornamental gardens; note this area is locked early evening).

      Walk northwards in the gardens until you exit back to the street level almost at Place de la Bastille. Navigate anti-clockwise across the Bastille–passing in front of the Opera Bastille–and turn into the Boulevard Richard Lenoir. It is a long linear park that on weekends (maybe only Sundays?) hosts the now very popular Marché Biologique (ie. organic farmers market). You are now walking on top of the Canal St Martin which was buried in the 19th century under the road (and Bastille)–you can see the air & light “chimneys” along the park.

      So you just follow the park all the way until it finishes at Place de la Republique (well, 2 blocks east at rue du Faubourg du Temple; if you have time you could deviate to the Place which is the historic and modern centre of popular protest with its statue of Marianne). Cross over the F. du Temple and voila, Canal St Martin emerges from its subterranean passage courtesy of a few locks (visible at Sqe F. Lemaitre). Wait here long enough and you’ll see the Bateaux Mouche (tour boats) use the locks to go under and all the way to Bastille and the Seine.

      Now you can walk along the paths on either side of the canal. This is now the 10th arrondissement and will take you all the way to the Bassin de la Villette which is a good place for a canal-side lunch or dinner. This is the 19th arrondissement. Depending on how much energy you have you can continue waterside along the Canal de l’Ourq. In fact it is only about another one km to the edge of Paris. At this end (ie. junction Bassin Villette/Ourq) is the famous original elevating Pont Crimée (there is a passerelle next to it that is good for photos; these days I suppose a selfie with Pont Crimée in background; this bridge will elevate for the Bateaux Mouche).

      About 500m takes you to the junction of the two canals, l’Ourq and St Denis and on the other side you will now be in the Parc de la Villette with its Science & Industrie museum (you’ll see the Geode). Right at the far end just before the canal passes under the peripherique motorway, is the famous Zenith concert hall; about 200m south in the same parkland is the new (2014) Philharmonie de Paris concert hall. At this end you can catch Metro 5 at station Porte de Pantin (next to Cité de la Musique which is directly south of the Philharmonie).

      You will have done 100% of the canal route (well excepting St Denis which heads north-west and is less interesting). I’d bet you would have bragging rights over any of your friends who claim to have “done Canal St Martin”. It’s a longish walk but easily done in a day and of course no end of places to stop for lunch, a coffee or dinner etc. Incidentally plenty take the Bateau Mouche tour–and that is the only way to see the subterranean sections–but that’s the lazy way. Walking is far superior.

      But a warning: your biggest risk will be getting diverted! I mean you could easily get stuck on Ile St Louis for the rest of the day. You must discipline yourself to keep pushing onward 🙂

      • Of course it being Paris there are no end of side excursions you could do, though be wary of losing too much of the day.

        This route up Bvd Richard Lenoir will cross Boulevard Voltaire (cutting at an angle SE/NW) and you’ll see the Bataclan music venue (on the west side) where the terrible terrorist event happened in 2015. They have installed a memorial to the 90+ victims. In fact you could divert up Bvd Voltaire to Place de la Republique, then rejoin the canal at rue du Faubourg du Temple as per above.

        There aren’t so many of the hyper-famous monuments on this route (which doesn’t diminish it at all) except perhaps those you will pass anyway: Bastille & its opera; Republique and Marianne. Another very old bit of little seen Paris is just off Canal St Martin: walk about 120m up Avenue Richerand and at its end is an entrance to the oldest part of Hopital St Louis. It is this junction that is featured in the movie One Day (see my earlier post) and there is a photo of it in the Wiki entry. In fact I just learned that

        “The south-west entrance to the hospital, located at the intersection of rue Bichat and avenue Richerand, is popularly known as the entrance to the police station in the hit French detective television series, Navarro.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%B4pital_Saint-Louis#/media/File:P1040720_Paris_X_h%C3%B4pital_Saint-Louis_rwk.jpg

        Anyway make sure to walk further into the hospital (open to public during daytime) another 25m or so until you pass into the oldest part, the cloisters surrounding the beautiful and calm garden courtyard, built 1611. This was my daily walk to work (within the northern side of the hospital).

        If you do take this diversion be sure to retrace your route (ie. av Richerand) back to the canal, ie. don’t be tempted by any north-western shortcut, because this (Richerand to Recolletes) is perhaps the most famous part of the canal, much featured in movies (including Amelie, Infants des Paradis, Hotel du Nord, more recently One Day) and of course has the actual (heritage-protected facade anyway) Hotel du Nord (east bank). Note that there are five of the green passerelles (ped. bridges) here and the two road bridges are “pont tournant”, ie. they swivel on carousels to allow passage of boats.

        Note at the junction of Canal St Martin and the Bassin de la Villette is the elaborate Rotonde de la Villette, which hides the original waterworks to supply water to Paris from the canals (the reason Napoleon commissioned these canals though, like so much he ordered, he didn’t live to see it completed). I believe today it still serves as the supply point for all that water you see washing the gutters of Paris (and watering the parks & gardens), an eminently sensible arrangement rather than use precious potable water.

  10. Well, my dear “Aussie-on-Ile-St-Louis,” I guess you are the next best thing to my trusted “Plan de Paris par arrondissement.” These are very handy (and detailed) directions you provided. Any person able to take a good, long, urban walk should definitely follow them. Maybe you should be a travel writer? (I am somehow expecting you to reply: “Well, as a matter of fact, I have already published a book about the best Paris walks…”) – Merci beaucoup, as always, for enriching one of my blogposts with your comments. Bien à vous, FGIS.

  11. Excuse me. I can’t help myself. I did go OTT this time. You can tell I am OCD about two things (at least!), 1. Paris and 2. Walking in Paris. It is without doubt the best walking city in the world and I don’t believe anyone can really appreciate the city without hours and hours traipsing around it. No accident that it gave the world both the activity and the word that describes it: flanerie & flaneur.

    It’s why your blog is so good (yes, your are encouraging my OCD:-). Who needs to read about another view of the Eiffel Tower or the other Top Ten (or top 100) in the Paris everyone already knows about?

    As it happens Canal St Martin is my old “home” area, and in this case I was able to begin the flanerie/tour on my other home zone, Ile St Louis. Double heaven. As it happens I have also just finished reading David Jefferson’s “Paris by Boat. A Boatowners’ Guide to the Seine and Paris Canals”. (It is long out of print but I bought a secondhand copy via your current hometown’s little company, you know the one that has a z in its name …). It has been overfeeding my OCD and generating wild ideas of how to afford living in Paris again …

Leave a reply