Friday, December 30, 2011

A Quiet Village Walk

Today I stepped out of Paris and into a quaint little village.

Well, that is how it felt when I entered Butte-aux-Callies, in the 13th arrondissement of Paris.

To get there I could have taken the metro but I preferred the 3km walk.  Observing how the areas change from one arrondissement to the next, each with their own look, feel and personality.

Starting from the 3rd,  cutting through the centre of I'le Saint- Louis,

one of the two islands in the centre of Paris, through the 5th on the left bank and finally reaching the big, busy roundabout, that is Place d'Italie.

In 1543 Butte-aux-Cailles was a vineyard and later a fenced, working class village, overlooking the Bievre River.

The river now runs underground and fills the local swimming pool and provides water from a well.  I watched as locals,  lined up with a dozen or so plastic bottles each,  filling up from the updated well.

There is definitely a charming village atmosphere about this area and is no doubt why it is becoming the new trendy area of Paris.

Getting out of the main busy streets, I discovered quiet cobbled lane ways, with gorgeous, unusual buildings some surrounded by unattractive 1970's concrete apartment blocks.

Not a tourist or chain store insight.   Just locals going about their business, charming independent stores, like a cute little honey shop crammed with wax, various types of honey, candles and all things dedicated to the bee.

On rue Daviel, is a row of chalet style cottages, known as Little Alsace and yet a stones throw away,  is an entire passage of small garden fronted terraces, which almost made me feel like I was in London!

I can imagine why folk would want to live here, with the quiet village feel, the charming, diverse and unusual housing and yet only a few kilometres away from the vibrant bustling streets of inner Paris.  The best of both worlds.

Rue des Peupliers, is simply beautiful, I had to remind myself I was still in a Parisian suburb.

An entire block of stone houses, each and everyone different,  lush gardens with trees, creepers hanging gracefully over stone walls and smoke wafting out of chimneys.

This was an area I had been looking forward to visiting and it didn't disappoint.

The light was fading and the cold air was taking it's toll on my body,  it was time to leave the quiet cobbled streets of Butte-aux-Cailles and head home.

Chatelet Metro was pumping with people and once again I was back in the centre of the vibrant streets of The Marais,  just another little piece of Paris.


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