(dark green path on lower right, dark green labeled Boise on center left)
|Remember the Bastille from the previous set? We're going to start there|
|The space under an abandoned elevated rail line has been turned into small shops of artisans|
|This bookshelf in a woodworkers studio apealed to both Dick and Karen (company name is Tree Branch)|
|This shop repairs and creates custom stair rails for mansions|
|Nearby was a working artist|
|Above the artisans' shops was the original railroad right-of-way. It has been turned into a 4 kilometer long narrow, elevated, park. It is so well vegetated and maintained that it is hard to remember you are a storey in the air. You can walk all the way to the Boise de Vincenes -- about 3 miles.|
|But we only walked part way and took the bus on a different day. We headed East and got off at the Porte Doree, another of the sites of historic gates to the old walled city. In this case the gate is gone, only the name remains.|
|But Porte Doree does have a palm-surrounded fountain and a gold statue of Athena|
Across the way is the building housing the Porte Doree Aquarium (there is another much more expensive aquarium near the Trocadero Fountain which we didn't visit).
The building is leftover from an exhibiton and has this most amazing bas relief of animals and sailing ships and all sorts of colonial references.
|The upstairs of the building houses the offices of the Cité nationale de l'histoire de l'immigration, and has large meeting rooms that can be used for exhibitions. Downstairs is the aquarium. It was full of energetic elementary-age school children.|
|Many saltwater tanks with live sea anemones and coral (very difficult to do well and they did it well).|
|Even a live giant clam which I have never seen before.|
|Many interesting fish including this weedy scorpion fish|
|white-blotched river stingray|
Matamata (he was just putting his snout up to breathe as the photo was taken so the face blurred)
|The star of the show as far as the school kids were concerned|
|remained in hiding under the waterfall|
And they had to be content with the anatomical model.
I could go on and on but you get the idea: well maintained and diverse even though it doesn't have the modern surround-you-with fish big tanks.
|Returning to the surface, we head off to Boise De Vincennes, a large park with several areas. Although it started as a hunting reserve for the kings in the 1300's, the current form of the park was built by Napoleon III. It includes the Château de Vincennes, a former residence of the Kings of France; an English landscape garden with four lakes; a zoo; an arboretum; a botanical garden; a hippodrome (horse-racing track); a velodrome for bicycle races; the campus of the French national institute of sports and physical education ... and a Buddhist temple.
It was the site of most of the events of the 1900 Olympics (hence the velodrome).
|Pleasant paths (with occasional joggers)|
No, he's not fishing...
|He's controlling a sailboat|
|Lots of birds: swans, Canada geese, peacocks|
|even nesting coots with chicks|
|These folks were collecting tadpoles to take home and hatch into frogs|
|A dead tree was turned into sculpture|
|Further along the path it gets more "civilized"|
|and we come to Parc Floral|
|With sculptures (the white frames)|
|tagged native plants|
|The obligatory Gunnera|
|The path is marked with an evolution timeline to help folks get how long some plants have been around|
|peacocks are a road hazard|
|and will moon you if given a chance|
|The hot houses have a fine cactus display|
|some of which were in bloom|
|And there is a nice bonsai collection|
|Next we head for the castle|
|We find the wall and moat|
|and continue around. The central tower is the "donjon", and served as a prison many times.|
|We came to a locked door|
|and further around to another tower which has the actual entrance (and drawbridge).|
|Here's a model of what it looked like in earlier times...|
|and then in its glory days.|
|The church was damaged in a storm a few years ago and is undergoing repair.|
|But they still let you in|
|The stained glass theme is the book of Revelations with colorful flames|
|and horn blowing|
|Crossing back over the expanse of the courtyard, the donjon's main tower...|
|...doesn't appear very tall|
|until you see people around the base|
|it is entered by a bridge|
|We were surprised at the wide stairway given our previous experience of castles in the UK. This was apparently unusual in France too. The king specially requested it. The stairway on the way out was the usual steep and narrow.|
|From the tower you can see the walls and church|
|The entry building and the other buildings (still used by the military), with the town beyond.|
|...and prisons. "Guests" included Henry IV and the Marquis de Sade. Here it has been "restored" to the point that you can see the gaffiti by some of the prisoners.|
|The walls of the chapel were once painted.|
|Thick doors served both when it was a prison and a fort.|
|With a defensible gate with a small door to exit through|
|The staff pointed out a mother duck and babies under the drawbridge.|
|Now we boarded a bus for a trip west across town to the other major "forest", Boise de Boulogne|
|Just outside Boise de Boulogne we stopped at the Musee Marmottan Monet. They didn't allow photos. Some rooms filled with Napoleon I period furnishings and the paintings Monet's widow had when he died. These were the ones that didn't sell.|
|We ate our most expensive and in Karen's opinon tastiest, meal two blocks away.|
|Then we walked the forest, another ex Royal hunting preserve.|
|Adjacent to the forest is the Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil,|
|"Serres" is "greenhouses".. They have a fine old central glass house in the Crystal Palace style...|
|With the lush tropicals in the central spine...|
|And many smaller themed greenhouses|
The grounds around the greenhouses had an additional surreal touch... they are located next to the site of the French Open Tennis Tournament, and they were continuously testing the public address system with various announcements about parking, ticket sales, pickpockets, etc. ... all with no patrons at the courts.
After leaving the formal garden area we used a pedestrian bridge to cross the busy A13 and Boulevard Peripherique to return to the forest...
where we find many teams playing at boules
|A bit beyond that the Boise gets wilder...|
|with paths along lakes|
coming to a place to rent boats.
We only explored a tiny fraction of Boise de Boulogne... we missed the Roseraie, another Orangerie, the Jardin Shakespeare, a couple of Museums, many restaurants... the day was too short.
|Instead, we'll now leave the apparent "wildness" of the Boise for a far more formal environment.
We now invite you to take the RER (train) with us to Versailles
|The Neighborhood||Along the Seine
||North Loop||South to NE||Boise Vincennes & B. Boulogne||Versailles|
|Inside the Larger Museums:||Louvre||Arts Décoratifs||Orsay||Guimet (Asian art)||Quai Branly|
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all text and images copyright Karen and Dick Seymour 2012,
and may not be reproduced without written permission
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