Friday, June 13, 2014

Canal saint martin au parc de la Villette

Thursday's walk took us from the Place de la Republic, at the intersection of the 2nd, 3rd, 10th, and 11th arrondissements, all the way out to the end of the 19th, at the Parc de la Villette, much of it along the Canal St. Martin and its assorted quays, basins, tributaries, off-shoots, and extensions. Although its first few kilometers are largely underground, the Canal emerges near the Place de la Republic and then continues on several more out in the open, becoming Paris's other waterfront. Although it was a seriously commercial enterprise when it first opened, in the 19th century, it is now largely scenic and recreational in nature. Along the way were also the 17th century Hospital Saint-Louis, the Hotel du Nord, La Rotonde, and much more. The huge Parc de la Villette was fairly stunning, visually and intellectually--Jacques ("Jackie") Derrida was consulted for its design, and it is an exemplar of Deconstructivist architecture--and I am pretty sure we'll be returning to it.
The canal shortly after it emerges from under
ground; low tide

For the next several kilometers, it's surrounded by parks,
gardens, recreational areas, beautiful Art Nouveau bridges
and grill work, etc.; high tide

Entrance to Paris' second hospital, Saint-Louis

One of its older bits; of course there are much newer bits
too, but that's not what you come to see

Hotel du Nord, setting of an extremely famous
movie I have not seen and probably will never
see... (look it up)


La Rotonde de la Villette--a late 18th century entry to the
city where taxes on goods were to be paid; now, of course,
a restaurant; sic transit, Gloria 

From here, roughly, Place de la Stalingrad Metro station,
the canal opens out to become the Bassin de la Villette,
with assorted water sports, rides, etc.

And swans; and at length you get to the Parc de la Villette

If you visit the Parc Villette, be prepared to dispense with
any notions you may have about what a park should be; also
to reflect on what a "park" should be in a 21st century hyper-
urban setting

On the left, the humongous Center for Science and Industry,
Europe's largest such museum; and the Geode, the world's
largest screen and IMAX theater

Yes, there are some conventional kiddie rides

And acres of less conventional kiddie rides

Along one of main boulevards

The park encompasses a great variety of cultural institutions,
not least France's Conservatory of Music and Dance

The Grand Hall; la Villette was Paris' stockyards and abbatoir
in earlier times; the main hall has bee re-done, but is still a vast
industrial sort of thing; the Parc de la Villette warrants a closer
look and a separate post later on; was it Derrida who said the
only real place in the US was Disneyworld? Well, no, I think
it was Baudrillard, but that's close enough...


Stacey said...

Wow! Looks REALLY cool! I'd definitely go visit that area again!

Stacey said...


Tawana said...

I am so glad that you found the Canal Saint Martin! It was one of our favorite places that we discovered last fall when we were there.