Friday, 30 May 2014

Rue des Thermopyles Jardin en FĂȘte

Over the last few months the local community here on rue des Thermopyles (where I have lived for the last five months in an artist's commune I have semi-affectionately dubbed "The Rabbit Warren") have been renovating a forgotten park that was in need of some love and affection; yesterday they had the opening and the whole street was invited. 
Gardin party!

Photos of the project.

The sense of community was fantastic and I have never felt like I was in such a "French" atmosphere, they sang local songs, danced and we ate homemade food. It was a great experience, even if talking to my neighbours was problematic due to my lack of useful French.

Thankfully they left behind some markers of the previous site, such as remnants of the graffiti, which adds to the eco-urban feel of the square and sense of individual personality. Rue des Thermopyles is such a unique street, to make its parc a uniform green space would have been a true shame.

I have been staring in through the bars for weeks watching the progress and it was great to finally get behind them, especially to reach the little blue and red man who I have been dying to get a photo of (you know how it is, when you are literally barred from something, you will want it/in no matter what).

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Abandoned Places II: La Petite Ceinture (Porte de Vanves)

The tracks seen from a bridge.

Last summer I came to Paris for a week to attend the Nabokov conference, run by The Enchanted Researchers, and stayed in a hostel down by Porte de Vanves called Arty Paris. Everyday I walked over this bridge and stared down and the tracks, realising that I never saw any trains pass through, and found it odd that it was just there… It wasn't until about six months ago I found out about La Petite Ceinture and realised that this must have been what I had been walking past. So I became hell bent on finding a way in. 

                 The entrance to the tracks.

I found a way in at the back of the Parc George-Brassens, clearly you aren't meant to get in, but as the fence already had a huge hole I figured I may as well go down.
Some kind of small warehouse that was down there.
I only explored the first bit on this occasion, I had promised to bring a friend down so I only went to the start of the first tunnel the first time (that and the tunnels aren't much fun alone, they are very long in places). The pictures below however, are from slightly further down, beyond the first tunnel. I think we ended up climbing out closer to Porte d'Orleans, there was a loose fence panel on the side of the track where a path had been worn into the banks.
Someone's home on the railway.

Tasty >.< 
Remnants of the old station.

The exit onto the platform.

Graffiti on the sides of the tracks.

There were about six different countries painted on the side
of the tracks, I liked this one best because I was born here.
A particularly colourful spot.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Abandoned Places I: The Quest to Discover La Petite Ceinture

Taken from my Instagram
La Petite Ceinture, near Bercy.
Now I have been on La Petite Ceinture a fair bit whilst staying here in Paris, I love how different the atmosphere is down there in comparison to other parts of Paris, and it allows me to satisfy a long nurtured childhood urge to walk ON the train tracks. Having watched the Railway Children way too many times as a child and gone on many a walk with my Nan back in England to our local railway, I just can't help feeling a little nostalgic when I am down there. In fact I spent a great portion of my time growing up around railway tracks, as teenagers we hung out down there with the usual teenage anti-social behaviour, we even slept down there once. But we never went ON the tracks. Now I can't get enough…

Today I submitted my end of term papers for the last semester of my masters (woohoo!), and to celebrate weeks of being inside staring at the computer, I decided I would go find a new section of La Petite Ceinture to explore. Now as I have a fellow abandoned places friend, and he is still upset that last time I went down without him with my real camera, this time I promised I would leave the camera at home and only look for a way in whilst he, rather sadly, was still hard at work. This of course, is easier said than done, I spent about two hours wandering around where it SHOULD have been and did eventually find it, after walking brazenly though an active construction site and shouting at strangers in my substandard French to tell me how to get it. I will go back very soon, avec my friend and camera to take more pictures. In the meantime here are a few from the other part of the track that I have previously explored.

La Petite Ceinture, near Parc George Brassens

I will post another piece about how to get down here with some more pictures soon.

The New Blog of Ophelia

Street art garden next to Culture Rapide, rue de Belleville.

I moved to Paris back in January, and since then have been busy exploring the city, both the tourist highlights and the slightly more hidden Paris. So I have decided to start a blog, documenting the things I have already done and the things I am going to do whilst I study here. Though I am primarily a student, studying literature at a small university in Montparnasse, I also make and sell literary themed notebooks on Etsy (take a peak here: My Etsy shop) and bake when I have a moment. I have recently signed up to a few MeetUp groups so we shall see what the next few months bring, in the mean time I will post some retrospective blogs of all the things I have done so far with my frolickings.