If you look on your map of Paris, you will see that the 16th arrondissement is huge. Many map books divide up the 20 Paris arrondissements into quartiers (neighborhoods). Very sensible for the 16th. On the East is the Seine, on the north is Avenue Marceau going up to Etoile and Ave de la Grande Armee going all the way to Porte Maillot. And along the entire length of the west of the 16th is the Bois de Boulogne. To the south is Porte Saint Cloud and Boulogne Billancourt.
I’m just a smidge further than half way down and two blocks from the Bois. Sunday morning, I put on my sneakers and went exploring to see what I could see. Within five minutes, I had crossed over the Porte de Passy and was in the Bois. Another five minutes and I was at the Hippodrome d’Auteuil which is large. On one end is a golf course. On the other is a swimming pool. I’ve been thinking that I should start swimming again, that my hip would thank me. It was a Sunday and I saw no one to ask so I left that investigation for another day.
I came to Lac Superieur. I started to walk around it. Runners were everywhere, many doing the Lake circuit a number of times. And as often happens, everyone seemed to be going the same direction. This time it was clockwise. I was walking counter-clockwise. Arriving at my starting point, I began walking down L’Hippodrome. Signs kept telling me that Les Grands Cascades were in that direction. I don’t see them on my map.
Walking, I was mostly alone on this wide tree-lined street. The trees had grown into an arbor over the road. It felt like Fall. A lot of leaves had fallen so there was green, yellow and that tannish brown that leaves get when they aren’t in Vermont but haven’t drowned in rain. In spite of the runners, it was very quiet. Surrounded by trees and beauty produced a calm. There was hardly any wind so the stillness seemed complete. One could walk and think, solve a few problems, pay attention to what is around me and feel at total peace for a few minutes.
I passed dirt paths telling me that if I walked north I’d arrive at Porte Maillot where I lived all May and most of June. Porte de la Muette was northeast. I now shop there. Porte de Passy is the next one after La Muette. Two of my buses stop there and are often easier than taking the metro. You have to picture Paris before cars. Those who could rode horses. If you left Paris, you came back in through one of the gates. These are the Portes that circle the city today. They are often entrances onto the Peripherique which is the major through-way circling the city. You have to get on it to go anywhere unless, like in days of old, your road takes you up to the Porte and you keep going because you are already in the right direction.
I walked for over an hour and was barely inside the Bois. Just before I entered, I saw a long stand of city bikes, known as Velib’. Next week, I will rent one and see how much of the Bois I can cover.
I am not ready for summer to end. It all goes too quickly. So though it looked and smelt a lot like Fall during this walk, I’m crossing my fingers that we still have hot days ahead of us.