Sunday, 20 July 2014

Abandoned Places V: La Petite Ceinture Gare de l’OrlĂ©ans-Ceinture (Bercy)

I have been rather busy of late, working on my MA and kick starting this photography thing and finding various freelance jobs that I could do to support myself longer living in Paris. As such I have opened a DA account here. In doing so I have started to learn the basics of photo editing to give my pictures a bit of extra oomph, so even though the pics there are the same as here, they are in fact better version. Subtle but necessary. But for now I give you another piece of the railway puzzle.

The hunt for this bit all started with a photo on instagram of a bridge I was dying to see, the only problem was it gave no indication as to which part of the railway it was actually on and so the search was on to find it. Crawling along Paris on google earth and maps, comparing what I saw with what I could see in the background of the photo, I narrowed it down to two places, here and somewhere else. It wasn't here, but it was not a wasted trip, I always enjoy uncovering a new part of the railway.

It turned out that a lot of the tracks were being ripped up to make way for new buildings, something that I find rather sad, though as my friend keeps reminding me- these places are transient and I need to make the most of it whilst it still exists. We do our best! 

I have a feeling that people don't come down here as much as the other parts, true it is much shorter than the other parts and there are no extra draws like entrances to the catacombs... But there was a lot of uprooted tracks, signal posts and other gear.

The truncated railway is shown above, alone with the signal point which I climbed up for no real reason other than I could. We also saw a little pink panther on our travels.

The best bit however was probably the rail station itself. Though getting in was not an option (it bordered an active construction site), I still enjoyed walking around it and taking a few pics. I also had a very difficult conversation with a local, my substandard French was met with his awkward English and in the end we just laughed and gave up.

I would imagine that this station is on the brink of destruction, though this is not as sad as finding out that the one by where I live is being flattened. Having spent many hours down there I know I will mourn its death.

The next part on the hit list is Pont de Flandre and the elusive cage-esque bridge.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Rivoli 59: Aftersquat

Little did I know when I first stumbled upon this place that Rivoli 59 was once one of the most visited tourist places (in fact I read somewhere that it was the fourth most visited- but considering what is in Paris I find that fact quite surprising and remain dubious). Having spent the last six months living in a kind of commune/verging on this kind of living, it was interesting seeing one that took its concept to the full. Rivoli 59 is situated in a typical Haussmannian Parisian building, but unlike any other I have ever seen. I was met with a rather colorful front door (that I secretly coveted and wanted for my own front door) and a rather eclectic interior. Needless to say I was intrigued and had to go have a look. 

Aforementioned front door and a communal piano,which on the way back someone was actually playing. 

This squat is one of many in Paris and houses dozens of artists who create and live in this unique space. Once it became too popular as an attraction, it was threatened with health and safety issues and closing, though thankfully it was saved by the mayor who then bought it to protect the livelihoods of the artists in question. 

 Nearly every surface imaginable has been marked with their presence, stairs, walls, doors, even the ceiling...

I spent some time talking to one artist in particularity, he was painting a portrait of a girl whilst I was there and I was intrigued by his method of using the floor as a palette for mixing his colors (below). Some of his art is also shown above left. (Above right): Another artist I was taken by was Charlotte Massip, however taking a photo of her work was difficult as all the large pieces were behind glass, but they were stunning. A mix between engravings, drawings and watercolors, with a hint of the Victorian and macabre and a huge dose of internal organs. Check her out here.

Sadly I did not take photos of all the rooms in the squat, some artists had rules against it, plus it gives you a reason to go check it out yourself...

There were about six floors in all, it felt like doing the reverse of falling down a rabbit hole, and was no less intriguing! Art squats are very popular in Paris and I have several more on my hit list to check out, along with everything else I want to do...