Take a short walk with us in an arrondissement overlooked by many tourists.
“Start at the Bastille Metro stop, lines 1, 8, and 10. With Place de la Bastille (which you will revisit) at your back, walk down Blvd. de la Bastille (new Bastille Opera will be on your left but don’t walk down Rue de Lyon by mistake). Then head right down a cobblestone ramp. In the 19C, Bassin de Arsenal was connected to Canal St. Martin, a waterway that moved the manufacturing commerce of Faubourg-St. Antoine to the Seine. Before that, portions of the basin were the moat for the prison at Bastille. Today, a controlled lock and nearly 200 moorings make it ideal for leisure craft and exercise walkers. You may wish to take a look from the footbridge. You may also walk farther down the marina to where it joins the Seine at Port de Plaisance, but then double back as directed below. Just past the footbridge, go left on Rue Jules Cesar. Cross Rue de Lyon and Ave. Daumesnil and head toward brick archways. Go up stairs and walk right on the elevated walkway. Note: You will pass the walk’s exit and double back on the promenade.; read the next directions to determine the exit point, if you wish to shorten the walk.
“The remains of a freight railway borders Rue Daumesnil, elevated on a viaduct comprised of a series of brick arches. It was used to haul goods to the periphery of Paris for a century, until the line was abandoned in 1959. Rather than tear the antiquated line down in 2000, they’ve turned it into the city’s longest and skinniest park—Promenade Plantee. For more than a mile, a profusion of rose bushes, lavender, bamboo, and flowerbeds border the paved-and-decked pathway, sometimes under the shade of cherry and maples trees, sometimes revealing cityscapes. Of particular note are the 12 reproductions of Michelangelo’s The Dying Slave that top the arrondissement’s police station. At one section is a long narrow pond, bracketed by trellises.
The promenade becomes a stainless-steel-and-wooden span at Jardin de Reuilly. Apartment dwellers sprawl on the park’s lawn, rising perhaps to sip la petillante (“the bubbley”), which is free sparkling water dispensed from a fountain provided by Eau de Paris in an effort to wean Parisians from plastic water bottles. Reuilly, a park since 1994, is on the site of a former chateau of the Merovingian Kings of the first century. The path continues to Bois Vincennes.
Directly below the promenade is the Viaduc des Arts, some 50 glass-façaded shops occupying many of the 70-plus brick archways of the former railway track. Many of the most accomplished artisans in Paris put their skills and artwork on display. Taken as a whole, the shops perpetuate the cultural and professional heritage of this quartier, the Faubourg-Saint-Antoine, known historically as a birthplace of artistic styles. Stairways lead down to the shops.”
There’s more to explore in this fascinating historic neighborhood in your No Worries Paris guidebook. Hope you’ve enjoyed your petit promenade.