Urban Greenery on the Promenade Plantee
So Judy and I are at a B&B in Nazelles-Negron, a small town in the Loire Valley. Tomorrow we take the train to Paris, then switch to another train that takes us under the English Channel and on to London. I feel like I have already seen so much that I will never have to post about my own garden again. For now, I’m going to squeeze out some time to write about the promenade plantee.
Before the High Line in New York City, there was the promenade plantee in Paris. Opened in 1990, the promenade is built along almost three miles of abandoned railroad track in the heart of the right bank, starting near the Place de la Bastille. There is no Bastille at the Place de la Bastille, by the way, because it was torn down during the Revolution of 1789. There is, however, a nice monument to the Revolution of 1830.
Walking to the entrance of the promenade, Judy and I passed what seemed to be a small tent encampment of homeless people. The homeless are much in evidence in Paris (no more so than in Chicago, though). I am not sure if this reflects a libertarian attitude towards the mentally ill, a failure of French housing policy, or some of each. In Chicago, police try to minimize the presence of the homeless in the showcase areas, and a scene like the one above would not be tolerated.
Around the corner here, under the old train viaduct, are the stairs to the promenade.
So, a few observations on the promenade plantee, though I should note that Judy and I only walked about half its length, then back again. Like the High Line, the promenade plantee is part of the urban scene rather than a refuge from it. It is a fine platform for up close observation of the streets and buildings of the Right Bank.
Also, this does seem to be a successful urban green space that attracts people of all ages for exercise, relaxation, reading, eating lunch, or canoodling.
There are lovely scented roses planted at fairly regular intervals.
Arches planted with hardy kiwi (Actinidia quinquefolia) and other vines are also a regular feature.
Also some nice stands of bamboo.
On the less positive side of the ledger, I would say that the promenade plantee uses a less diverse plant palette than the High Line in New York. The High Line has far more perennial flowers and grasses, whereas the Promenade is dominated by shrubs and small trees.
Also, the plantings on the promenade are not as well maintained as those of other parks we’ve seen in Paris. A fair amount of weeding and pruning of vines was left undone. Not sure why that would be.
When we finished our walk on the promenade, Judy and I had dinner at a restaurant serving regional cuisine from southwestern France. (The best thing we had: home made prune ice cream with Armagnac.) Afterwards, we strolled back across the Seine to our hotel on the Left Bank.
I’ll try to do another post while I’m on vacation, but I won’t be able to respond to comments or comment on other blogs until I return. In the meantime, keep well.