Today we walked a mile-long nature trail in the heart of Paris. La Petite Ceinture (“the little belt”) was a Victorian train line that once circled the city, used mainly for delivering freight. A stretch of it in the 16th arrondissement is now a gently maintained pathway through volunteer trees, grass and different wildlife habitats.
It is not fancy or well-known, like the highly designed Promenade Plantée, a linear park on an elevated former railway line in the east of the city. Nor could I really argue that it deserved its recent write-up in Britain’s Daily Telegraph. But there was something very pleasant about strolling through its soft greenery, hearing the roar of the périphérique (Paris ring road), sometimes just yards away, yet able to see nothing but the trees and the meandering path ahead. And the walk finished with a delicious, if leisurely, lunch on the sunny terrace of Restaurant La Gare, the converted railway station at the northern end of the trail.