Getting to know the streets Part 1
Not sure why you need to know this but I thought that it would be great to let you know some of the funny sides and stories that have happened in the past few weeks, if not, well, stop reading, stop right about now...still reading, ok, well that's fine, ill continue then.
One of the most odd feelings I got when I was walking around the Bastille was the Nazi. Now for those of you who may be German I do not mean any offence, but because England never got invaded when one sees the size of Paris you have to just sit back in awe at what the Nazi party did when the took over this vast country. Am not really sure why I was thinking about the Nazi, but I think it was more the war and the fact that though there are many reminders for us Brits of the war (Liverpool Leace Street Bombed out Church etc) I have never been connected to it, and here in the Bastille I was, I could hear and see the the war.
This was a real sad moment to be fair. Though we have all seen the news photos and read the stories not till you sit there in a small roadside cafe (not as original as you would think due to this blasted smoke free zone that has ruined the Parisian Cafe society - more on that later) that you really see what history means and how these people, our brethern experienced the are.
Getting in to Paris you first have to go through a part of the city that looks like a throw-away set from Blade Runner. The subburb of Bagnolet is pretty enough and the more you walk around the place the more secrets it opens up for you but its very heavy built, and not very pretty to look at. But busy like the most of the area so you have to rush out.
Leaving Bagnolet you can take the metro from Galliene to Republique and then from Republique to Bastille but doing that you lose sight of some great views and areas of Paris so walking is a must if your going to do it. So coming out of the station you head in th very concrete jungle overgrowth and head left towards Ave Ibsen, where you will see two very distinct tower blocks, they look dated ala 1980s but they are pretty ace all the same. Walking in this direction brings you to Rue le Vau and a small little park. You find loads of these little parks all over Paris, everywhere in fact. They are very well kept and nice and relaxing even if there is always a major road next to one of them - these get locked so sleeping in there was defo a no no.
Once you get through one of the first major road sections, you don't have to cross, you head down Rue Belgrand heading towards Gambetta. Already you get to see the cafe coming to life, only a few are 24/7 but most will open about 06H and you might find a few people having a pint or two. Now the Parisian Cafe isn't anything special except that it IS something special. Each one, and there are thousands of them, has something that makes it unique, in this area though still very touristy offers you a glimps of the 'real' Parisians as they go about their business. Indifferent to who you are and what you are doing in their city.
- Much like in England Paris is dotted with Universities, Schools and Collages. On the way to Av. Gambetta you will often see kids drawing and painting in the streets, not the roads as that would be certain death - more on that later!
To be continued...