Posts Tagged 'rail'

Keeping Count

Not that we’re keeping track or anything, but tomorrow will be the fourth day of strikes/protest against French pension reform in a month’s time. On a personal note, it’s the second time in a month that my travel plans have been foiled because of it. (Ok, maybe I am keeping count).

I do realize that the world doesn’t revolve around me, but really? What is up with my choosing departure days that ultimately mean I cannot depart?

No, no, really. I don’t mind. Aix-en-Provence? Who needs it?

Gare du Nord (I refuse to be stranded again!)

So my train has been cancelled for tomorrow. On the upside, at least I already know about it. And I have options! I was on an iDTGV, which is supposed to be like the younger, cooler version of the TGV. (You know, like there are DJ’s or something – even speed dating on some routes! I’m kind of not kidding, either).

Anyway, I’ll give them props for letting me know ahead of time – and for making sure I don’t need to lift a finger to get reimbursed. It’s automatic. Ok, this I will applaud.

There are other trains running that day and I’m allowed to try to get on any of them for free either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Honestly, folks, I don’t really feel much like trying to make my way to the train station on a strike day and “hoping” I can board another one. Or waiting around said train station if one is full and hope for the next. Or waking up at 5 AM to catch the early train that no one else wants to catch.

I think I will just wait until Wednesday – or just go some other time. It’s an easy trip (um, when there’s not a strike, that is).

Plus, I should not admit this, but here goes: I have an electrician coming tomorrow now and I’m waiting for some important documents in the mail, so it kind of works out. Yes, I’m choosing domestic drudgery and a postal delivery over Aix-en-Provence. This is what it has come to.

I do feel much better that I am returning to the original spirit of this blog, though. This is my glam life in Paris, folks. Jealous yet?

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TIP: La Petite Ceinture

If I say that the Petite Ceinture is one of my favorite Paris discoveries, don’t think I’m talking fashion.

While La Petite Ceinture literally translates as “The Little Belt,” it actually refers to the abandoned rail line that circles the city.

This past weekend, as part of “Sustainable Development Week” in Paris, the Association Espaces led small group tours along the Petite Ceinture. Rumor has it that this little “beltway” will finally be turned into a nature trail soon.

The cold, rain (and sometimes hail!) kept me from going on the walk (plus the fact that I hadn’t signed up in advance). But that’s ok. I already have a key to the Petite Ceinture!

Yes, it’s true. You see, Jerome’s atelier is part of a converted train station in the 20th. The Petite Ceinture runs just above. We’d explored portions of this hidden wonder before he found his atelier, but it’s certainly nice having such easy access now.

Jerome has scaled walls before to explore the Petite Ceinture. I’m not quite that committed. My first experience was a simple (big) step up near Porte Doree in the 12th. You won’t see “keep out” signs posted, but the Petite Ceinture is not exactly, ahem, *open* to the public. (Meaning, we’re not technically supposed to go snooping around here – call me a rebel).

Keep your eyes peeled for these tantalizing tracks from a bygone era. You can spot them near Buttes Chaumont Park or as you sip cocktails at Philippe Starck’s design hotel Mama Shelter. Really, just look up, down, and around when touring the outer arrondissements and you might start to see them everywhere.

This weekend’s walk covered the portion around the 15th, a part of the rail line I haven’t had the pleasure yet to explore. From a few photos I’ve seen of that area, I can see why local activists are angling for a nature trail. Apparently there are 200 species of flora and fauna to be found.

I’m familiar with the more urban parts: ancient tracks overrun by weeds, tags and graffiti on whatever walls can be found. I love the proximity to the street in some areas – close enough that you can see the details of life as it happens. Far enough that you feel almost invisible, like you’re surveying the city in secret.

The Petite Ceinture offers a new perspective; Paris autrement.

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Have you explored the Petite Ceinture? Know any access points? Happy to hear about plans to make it public – or a bit sad that the secret will soon be out?

paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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