Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday 9 December - Rue du Faubourg St-Antoine

We decided to go into a part of Paris we haven't visited before. We took the line 2 metro to Place de la Nation, walked to Porte de Vincennes and back, walked along the rue du Faubourg St. Antoine to the Bastille then along the rue du Rivoli with a side trip to the Place des Vosges. Line 2 is above ground on a brick arched viaduct between Barbes Rochuart and Jaures - the rest of the line has been put underground.
One of the columns at Place de la nation with a Wallace fountain in the foreground.  It proved difficult to get a picture of the two columns together as trees were in the way.
Place de la Nation is very impressive. The road to the Porte de Vincennes is very wide and flanked by two tall columns with a statue on each. It lines up directly with the Eiffel Tower. There were only a few clouds in the sky and the walking was pleasant. The trams on both routes (3a and 3b) were very much in evidence at Porte de Vincennes - both were well used. 
Tram 3b at Porte de Vincennes
 It was 1200 as we walked back towards Place de la Nation and the kids were coming out for their lunch - many of them were smoking.
Our route changed from grand boulevard to urban working street as soon as we entered the rue du Faubourg St. Antoine. The street is narrower and the shops much smaller. There is a proliferation of restaurants, many of them north African or middle Eastern. Some were very small holes in the wall but mostly well frequented. A couple were crowded with men sipping coffee, presumably Turkish, out of very small cups.
Two blocks of fruit and vegetable stalls.  Each vendor was trying to out shout his neighbour
We made a detour along an open street market leading to the Beauvau covered market. It was some two blocks long and contained only fruit and vegetables. It is surprising that so many traders can make a living yet the number of people living around is very large. Business was brisk.
The narrow streets and parked cars made it difficult for some vehicles. We watched a tractor and trailer make a ninety degree turn. It was driven by a lady truck driver with long black streaky hair and a cigarette in her mouth as her hands were occupied turning the steering wheel. To give herself room to maneuver she just advanced on the opposing traffic and forced them to back up out of her way.
The Bastille was looking good in the bright sunlight as was the Place des Vosges where an urban farm was being set up. A very large turkey was not looking very happy at the attention given it by a chicken which was trying to pull out its tail feathers.
We had lunch at a restaurant just off the rue du Rivoli in St. Paul. The duck was good but the Tarte Tatin dessert was extraordinary.  It was made with just one half of an apple. It was good but would not have passed the exacting standards set down at Lamotte Beuvron, the home of the Tarte Tatin.
Some four vans loads of Paris police were parked at a bus stop outside the restaurant -it seems normal to deploy them around the city like this so they can quickly get to developing trouble spots. There is a frequent bus service along this narrow street, three routes. Around 1430 a convoy of police vans with sirens sounding came roaring up and stopped. There was hand shaking all round and the original contingent eventually departed. As this change of shift was going on the cars and buses meekly waited to get by - no car horns here.
A very different Tarte Tatin
The final part of the walk took us past the Hotel de Ville, St. Eustache where a very fine cover over Les Halles is being built and rue Montorgueil which is always interesting. 
Elaborate street lights at Hotel de Ville

We found a store that specialized in rodent extermination. It had a window display of dead rats supposedly caught in Les Halles around 1925. They are hanging with their heads in traps. Unfortunately the glare from the window made it difficult to photograph.
These 90 year old corpses seem in remarkably good condition for their age. However, it makes an eye catching display.

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