2015 was mostly a mild winter for Parisians, making it easier for them to exercise their love of outdoor time. Sundays when the road on the banks of the Seine is closed to vehicles, families roller bade, bike and wander around the river’s edge, hoping for and occasionally catching whatever ray of sunshine may break through the felted gray winter sky. But when Spring arrives with the blush of cherry blossoms in the parks, and the showy spectacle of daffodils and tulips rising bright out of the russet earth, Parisians are out giving praise to the sun gods from early morning until long after the sun has moved along its way. Stowing the down coats, donning light jackets, walking in the sunshine doing what we all love to do and what the Italians express so perfectly as “la dolce far niente”… the sweetness of doing nothing.
The Promenade Plantée is a perfect place for a walk high above the street level which follows the route of an old railway line for miles. The disused railway line became a derelict ruin until it was rebuilt as part of the big projects, including the Opera, taking place around the Bastille in1988. It starts near the Place de la Bastille on l’avenue Daumesnil and continues to the Parc de Vincennes by the beltway around Paris. It is a long garden of calm above the bustling streets below. Other cities have followed this example to create green space where it seemed impossible.
The fellow above was interesting . . . I watched him from a little distance for awhile. He really seemed to be deep in conversation with the statue he is sitting with. So I went closer and we chatted. He said this was the most beautiful statue in all of France but she would not answer him no matter how he tried to engage her . . . . he was still at it as I left, and his beer was empty.