I am enamoured by railway parks after hearing of the high profile High Line in New York. I have walked the Parkland Walk in North London and the Promenade Planteé. I am pleased to see a tweet by Dave Meslin about the Railpath in my hometown of Toronto. I grew up just 2.5 km from the start of the Railpath at Dupont near Dundas. Looking forward to checking it out the next time I’m home for a visit.
Parkland Walk in London, December 2010 and Promenade Plantée in Paris, January 2011:
There is also a disused tramline in Vancouver called the Arbutus Corridor – not yet a park, but it would be great to see this regenerated into a public space that can be enjoyed by the local community.
I went to Paris and Versailles last weekend with Colm. We spotted this building in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, which I thought was eye-catching. On the side of a building on Rue des Saint-Pères, just north of Rue de Verneuil, it appears to be a screen, to protect the corridor in the building from birds flying through it. I like how something with a practical purpose, was designed and made to be aesthetically interesting and pleasing to the eye. It captures attention in a positive way. It is simple, yet makes a great impact compared to what a boring screen and plain wall might have done (or not done).
Paris is one of my favourite cities and I have been trying to visit for a weekend at least once a year. I have been many times before – sometimes to see the sights, sometimes for work or to visit friends, and always for the food and drink. On this visit, we went to Versailles for the first time. The palace and the gardens are immense, which does not sufficiently describe it. At a later date, time permitting, I’ll post some more thoughts and images of the Château de Versailles. However, a top tip for dining in Versailles, which we figured out a bit too late, is to head towards the market (Place du Marché Notre Dame). The perimeter of the market is lined with a wide variety of wonderful looking bistros, restaurants, cafés, and bars. We also figured out it probably made more sense to visit a patisserie or boulangerie and pick up a baguette or some delicious pastries to take back to the hotel (or in months with warm, sunny weather, to have outside in a park), rather than search high and low for some place to sit down for breakfast. It was far more cost-effective (no seating in the patisseries and boulangeries mean low overhead costs and more affordable products).
As for dining in Paris, I got an excellent recommendation from a friend to try Bistro Volnay on Rue du Volney, near Place Vendôme in the 2nd arrondissement. Definitely for game lovers and carnivores, with an excellent and affordable wine list. On Sunday we went to Notre Dame du Sacre Coeur and Montmartre. We ended the weekend rather pleasantly in London, watching Amélie the film (Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain) so that we could retrace our steps at Sacre Coeur as Amélie led Nino on a bit of a goose chase.
One of my favourite new buildings in London is 4 New Street Square, the management suite at Land Securities’ New Street Square development, EC4. Constructed between 2006 and 2008 on the east side of New Fetter Lane, the estate comprises four large office buildings and this smaller, plant-clad box housing the estate management offices and meeting space. It is beautifully covered with small cubicles and holes from which plants escape.
It brings to mind the “Living Wall” at the Musée du Quai Branley in Paris. And having recently returned from a weekend in Paris, I couldn’t help but notice the immense number of buildings in the French capital that were covered with climbing vines and ivy. At this time of the year, the leaves are changing to autumnal colours and the effect is beautiful. Vertical gardening is, in my opinion, aesthetically pleasing and a great way of creating a greener, more nature-filled space. Colm, my boyfriend, was quick to point out that some ivy and wall-climbing plants can damage brick walls, seeping into cracks, expanding in holes in the mortar until then weaken the structure. But walls incorporated with plant cubicles might be a good alternative.