Paris – Rail trip – Part I

Travelling by train meant we were able to stop over in Paris for about 5 hours, between the train from London and the train to Milan. As it was good weather, we made our way to Gare de Lyon (as our daytime train was leaving from there, we used the Artesia line) and had a little wonder around those parts, which we never had visited before.

We had a lovely lunch and then by pure chance we stumbled across the Promenade Plantée, a beautiful use of a disused elevated rail line turned into a park. It was a relevation to us as I personally knew of a project similar to this only in New York, The High Line park. But then again an elevated disused rail line does lend itself perfectly to a park: a promenade in the sky 🙂 and indeed what a promenade it was! Wish we did something similar in Manchester, there’s a short section of disused rail line from Victoria Station that goes off into the Irk Valley that would be perfect for a similar project, anyhow I digress.

We spent a lovely 5 hours eating, drinking and walking while taking in the seriously cycle chic atmosphere (aided by great infrastructure for a chaotic city as Paris is! Manchester please learn!).

Brompton cycle chic!

PROPER kerbs to separate cars from bikes

simple markings do the job

parked Velib bikes (they were everywhere!)

cycle chic viewed from Promenade Plantée

Promenade Plantée

Promenade Plantée from street level


11 responses to “Paris – Rail trip – Part I

  1. Gorgeous!!
    I love the idea of Promenade Plantée.
    And what can I say? I love Paris and lately I also love Velibs around the city.
    Thank you for sharing it!

    • Hello Nuresma! You’re very welcome 😉 I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across this as it provides a precedent for the NY project that I knew of : ) Nice to find your blog too!

  2. They have the same bikes in Brussels under the “Villo,” brand. I didn’t end up trying one though, I was happy with my guided cycle-tour (and my first experience of drum brakes).

    Promenade Plantée is a great idea, we could do the same here in Manchester with the disused exit from Mancunian Way (which would have taken you into the city centre via the now one-way Princess Street). Alternatively we could just close Deansgate and turn it into a promenade, there is not reason why it should remain open to motorised traffic after all.

    • Hear, hear MrC!

      I heard of plans on Oxford Road (I am sure you must have too) and saw some proposed drawings somewhere… I’ll go and find out and share here… just because 😉 but yes, Deansgate would lend itself perfectly. To be honest I think Manchester city centre would work perfectly if it were to be pedestrianised, but even if the council did this, say, one Sunday a month (that’s what they used to do in Rome when I was little – I think they still do btw – and the city just turned into something else, something wonderful!)

  3. LC, there’s a certain irony in that your rail trip took in a disused line, but of course I’m jus’ kidding – the Promenade Plantée looks fantastic, both from within its confines & looking up at the old line from below.

    The Plantee looks almost like an antithesis to the opening lines of Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi 🙂

    Looking forward to the next installment.

    P.S:- What’s this about Oxford Road?

    • Hey Ian : ) ahah true, lots of train related things, hadn’t notice that!

      Oxford Road will be transformed (so they say) by 2020, part of a project called Corridor Manchester. More info here

      It’s to boost the commercial, research and employment of the area around our three main universities (especially Uni of Man and MMU), but the plus is that they should create better infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists. But it’s a long way to go and who knows how they’ll actually deliver it ; )

      • Soz for going off at a tangent. I’ve just looked through their ‘plans’. It seems they are lacking in substance a bit regarding actual ‘plans’. It would be nice if they actually succeed in implementing some decent cycle infrastructure there – it’s not as if they are short on space.

  4. love love love, i’m going to paris to study in the spring and i’m sssoo happy to see how bike friendly it is. i need to get a bike for my stay there. any suggestions where i can find one?

    • hello! I think you will be able to use the Velib scheme (I believe you need a debit or credit card). It depends how long you’ll be there for. If it’s for a fair bit of time (i.e. few months) then you may be able to find a cheery and cheap bike through local ads in the local papers, that may be the best bet. Or through word of mouth, i.e. through friends : ) Enjoy Paris! It is a city that never stops to fascinate me. I always wanted to experience working there but under the current president the atmosphere has changed, doesn’t feel so tolerant and relaxed as it used to… maybe one day, when things change ; )

      PS – Dottie and Trisha of LGRAB may know more about bikes in Paris, as they’ve just been and have used the Velib 🙂

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