Have you ever got lost in Paris?
One day, with two other friends, I did – and we had the most fun in a long time.
We were attempting to walk up the Bassin de l’Arsenal (canal) to the Bastille and were having some difficulty finding our way. Eventually we found what we thought was the correct direction. As we walked along we didn’t see any beautiful gardens or canal locks, in fact there was lot of concrete and weeds, graffiti broken bottles and rubbish. Nonplussed, we kept going. We heard some intensely loud dance party music from across the river and laughed amongst ourselves at the French who love to party. It was 9am in the morning, so it must have been a long night, we thought. Those fun-loving French!
Further along, we noticed some very colourful characters moving strange objects from a large industrial building into vans – hmmmm, we said, wonder what is going on there?
Then we noticed a very smart looking boat that appeared to be a floating hotel. At one point, I think I said “I can’t believe that Ross didn’t say anything about any of this”. Caroline agreed with me. But we valiantly kept going.
Finally, I looked up the and it dawned on me that all I could see was bridges, one after the other – no canal locks in sight, and no sign of the golden statue of the Bastille. You guessed it, loyal readers. It was the River Seine we had turned onto and walked up for one and half kilometres to the Bercy area – It just goes to show that all water looks the same. We very sheepishly found a metro close by and journeyed back to where we started (changing at Gare d’Austerlitz) laughing all the way. Needless to say, we did manage to find the right stairs down to the Bassin de l’Arsenal, and found the beautiful and peaceful gardens and marina, before heading on to the Bastille.
What we did learn was:
- the old industrial area with the strange objects d’art was Les Docks – cite de la monde et du design – an old industrial space containing the French Institute of Fashion, plus exhibitions, shops & restaurants.
- The dance party music was coming from a Club called Club Musique Improviste.
- The floating hotel was OFF Paris Seine was in fact that – an ultrahip floating hotel with very chic rooms.