Travels with Dick and Karen


Part 5
Boise Vincennes
& Boise Boulogne

(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 Paris
The space under an abandoned elevated rail line has been turned into small shops of artisans Paris
This bookshelf in a woodworkers studio apealed to both Dick and Karen (company name is Tree Branch) Paris
This shop repairs and creates custom stair rails for mansions Paris
Nearby was a working artist Paris
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. Paris
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. Paris
But Porte Doree does have a palm-surrounded fountain and a gold statue of Athena Paris

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.

paris Paris
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. Paris
Many saltwater tanks with live sea anemones and coral (very difficult to do well and they did it well). Paris
Even a live giant clam which I have never seen before. Paris
Many interesting fish including this weedy scorpion fish Paris
Piranhas Paris
Unicorn Fish Paris
Eel Paris
white-blotched river stingray Paris
Giant snakehead Paris
Arapaima Paris

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 Paris
remained in hiding under the waterfall Paris

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) Paris

Ornamented lakes.

No, he's not fishing...

He's controlling a sailboat Paris
Lots of birds: swans, Canada geese, peacocks Paris
even nesting coots with chicks Paris
These folks were collecting tadpoles to take home and hatch into frogs Paris
A dead tree was turned into sculpture Paris
and housing Paris
Further along the path it gets more "civilized" Paris
and we come to Parc Floral Paris
With sculptures (the white frames) Paris
and fountains Paris
tagged native plants Paris
The obligatory Gunnera Paris
The path is marked with an evolution timeline to help folks get how long some plants have been around Paris
peacocks are a road hazard
and will moon you if given a chance
The hot houses have a fine cactus display Paris
some of which were in bloom Paris
And there is a nice bonsai collection Paris
Next we head for the castle Paris
We find the wall and moat Paris
and continue around. The central tower is the "donjon", and served as a prison many times. Paris
We came to a locked door Paris
and further around to another tower which has the actual entrance (and drawbridge). Paris
Here's a model of what it looked like in earlier times... Paris
and then in its glory days. Paris
The church was damaged in a storm a few years ago and is undergoing repair. Paris
But they still let you in Paris
The stained glass theme is the book of Revelations with colorful flames Paris
and horn blowing Paris
Crossing back over the expanse of the courtyard, the donjon's main tower... Paris
...doesn't appear very tall Paris
until you see people around the base Paris
it is entered by a bridge Paris
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. Paris
From the tower you can see the walls and church Paris
The entry building and the other buildings (still used by the military), with the town beyond. Paris
Grand rooms...  Paris
...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. Paris
The walls of the chapel were once painted. Paris
Thick doors served both when it was a prison and a fort. Paris
With a defensible gate with a small door to exit through Paris
The staff pointed out a mother duck and babies under the drawbridge. Paris
Now we boarded a bus for a trip west across town to the other major "forest", Boise de Boulogne Paris
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. Paris
We ate our most expensive and in Karen's opinon tastiest, meal two blocks away. Paris
Then we walked the forest, another ex Royal hunting preserve. Paris
Adjacent to the forest is the Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil,  Paris
"Serres" is "greenhouses".. They have a fine old central glass house in the Crystal Palace style... Paris
With the lush tropicals in the central spine...  Paris
with birds Paris
And many smaller themed greenhouses Paris
Paris Paris
Paris Paris

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
(It isn't a woman's sport as far as we could tell).

A bit beyond that the Boise gets wilder... Paris
with paths along lakes Paris

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

Next Stop: 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

Back to Main Travel Page

all text and images copyright Karen and Dick Seymour 2012,
and may not be reproduced without written permission

Back to the Seymour Stained Glass website:

Home Show
DIY Book &
FAQs, Links
Info., etc.
Contact &
About us
Ordering Gallery