Posts Tagged ‘petite ceinture’

If you’re interested in exploring hidden treasures, curiosities, and esoterica, you may want to join in the second international “Obscura Day.” On April 9th, a host of tours and events are being organised around the world to encourage us to poke around in fascinating by-ways and neglected corners.

Here in the French capital, I am delighted to be joining a tour organised by Adam from the award-winning blog Invisible Paris. He will be introducing us to the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale, an abandoned Victorian plant nursery in the Bois de Vincennes. Other planned events include a candlelit tour of a shell grotto in Margate, a visit to the catacombs in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood cemetery, a tour of an underground temple in Turin, and a visit to a mad topiary garden in South Carolina.

If you can’t make any of the events, the Atlas Obscura compendium is worth checking out for curious places to visit at any time of the year. It recommends several in Paris that I do not know, as well as some old favourites, including the abandoned railway La Petite Ceinture and the cemetery at Père Lachaise.

La Petite Ceinture

La Petite Ceinture

Père Lachaise

Père Lachaise cemetery

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La Petite Ceinture

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.

Promenade Plantée

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.

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