Monday, June 23, 2014

Paris A-Z: P is for Promenade Plantee

Paris A to Z: P is for Promenade Plantee

The Sassy Guide to the City of Light

As an American living in Paris for nearly 9 years, I have plenty of words of wisdom to share about this glorious, yet sometimes frustrating, city. Each weekday this month I will share my thoughts on some of the best stuff to do in Paris. Today's letter, P, is for Promenade Plantée.

The treasure of the Promenade Plantée is tucked away in the less-visited 12th arrondissement (where I live) but it's definitely worth making the time for. I discuss its beauty (and its flaws) in my book, Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer. Here's an excerpt:

Spring rolled around and we ventured out to explore our neighborhood. Our apartment was close to the Promenade Plantée, a three-mile elevated walking path with a wide variety of trees, shrubbery, and flowers. The French are ingenious like that – they take an unused railway structure and convert it into something that is both functional and beautiful.

Of course, getting on that thing with a stroller is a bitch.

Parts of it are several stories high, so you are faced with numerous flights of stairs or a broken elevator. Seriously, I've never seen any of the elevators working.

But the flowery viaduct is so darned pretty that Mika and I would heft the stroller up what felt like two hundred steps in order to have our relaxing walk.

Wooden benches, with the green paint peeling at the edges, line the path. They're often populated with homeless people enjoying a warm can of beer or teenagers smoking cigarettes away from their parents' eyes. You'll occasionally hear a rustling in the bushes, but it's rarely a wild animal, unless you count amorous adolescents and urinating homeless men as wild.

Signs dot the trail, identifying the different species of wildlife that live in the area. I may not know how to say "tickle" in French but I know two different words for "bat" – pipistrelle, which is the cutest word ever, and chauvre souris, literally "bald mouse." Pub quiz, here I come!

About halfway down the Promenade, the path reaches ground level (or, more accurately, the ground rises to meet the path level) so you can get off the trail without having to wrestle with more stairs. We usually exited at that point and took a roundabout way back home, passing a street of lovely Georgian-style homes that felt more like London than Paris.

Intrigued? Be sure to visit the Promenade Plantée on your next trip to Paris!

Check out the full series:
Paris A to Z: A is for Pont Alexandre III
Paris A to Z: B is for Boulangerie
Paris A to Z: C is for Chateau de Vincennes
Paris A to Z: D is for Drinks
Paris A to Z: E is for Eiffel Tower
Paris A to Z: F is for Fondue
Paris A to Z: G is for La Grande Epicerie
Paris A to Z: H is for Haussmann Architecture
Paris A to Z: I is for Ile St. Louis
Paris A to Z: J is for Jim Morrison's Grave
Paris A to Z: K is for Kir Royale
Paris A to Z: L is for The Long Hop
Paris A to Z: M is for Métro
Paris A to Z: N is for Notre Dame
Paris A to Z: O is for Musée d'Orsay
Paris A to Z: P is for Promenade Plantée
Paris A to Z: Q is for Quaint Shops
Paris A to Z: R is for Romance
Paris A to Z: S is for Sacre Coeur
Paris A to Z: T is for Trousseau
Paris A to Z: U is for Un Reve
Paris A to Z: V is for Vin
Paris A to Z: W is for Walking
Paris A to Z: X is for Expats
Paris A to Z: Y is for Court Yards
Paris A to Z: Z is for Zen in the City

Escape to Paris

Vicki Lesage, Author