People come and go to get to their destination. In America, we mostly use our own automobiles like our car, trucks, vans, or even motorcycles. There is public transportation like the bus, uber, or taxi. Though those are methods of travel also used in France, the primary transit that is used is the metro. Overall in Paris, France, there are 16 metro lines. They can take you anywhere you want in the city, and all you have to do is purchase a ticket or metro card to enter any of them. While going around the metro in Paris, one line struck me to explore, which was metro line 2. Within this line, I explored 10 stops. Each had its own unique name and unique environment.
My first stop on Metro line 2 was Barbes-Rochechouart. This stop name originated when in “1903, it was the turn of the 9th, 10th and 18th arrondissements to experience real upheaval” (FigaroPlume). The result of that was it being originally named “ ‘Boulevard Barbès’ and four years later, with the arrival of line 4, our current ‘Barbès-Rochechouart’ “(FigaroPlume). When entering outside the stop I notice that there is a huge bridge that the metro goes on top of. But what was more fascinating was what was underneath the bridge. While walking towards that direction I heard a bunch of noise and a huge crowd. Out of curiosity, I walked towards it and saw that I had just entered a huge marketplace. There was a line of vendors close to the end of the bridge. They were selling various items like produce, clothes, accessories, and electronics. Most of these items were rather low or at an inexpensive price. This resulted in a large crowd coming to this area for shopping.
Walking away from the festival, I saw a line of photography on the street. It shows the usual street life in their city. While viewing this, I know it conveyed a message through this area that poverty is real. This almost like how in certain cities there would be separation of classes with no support or assistance to help better the living or finical situation.
Still walking through the city, I happened to come across a district with people from the middle east. I saw many shops with Indian clothing and restaurants with Indian food. The prices in the district were rather low, and they cater to vegetarians. I also saw families there filling the restaurants. It brought a warm feeling to my heart to see families enjoy their meals together.
Onward through the stop, I went back in the past and stumbled upon a hospital. This hospital is significant in the area because of the architect. The man’s name was Theodore Labrouste, and he helped build many hospitals in France. The most significant part about this hospital is when he left it he made the widal test which helps “detects the presence of serum agglutinins (H and O) in patients serum with typhoid and paratyphoid fever” (Aryal).
Not too far away, I came by this large beautiful building. Within the building, many people were coming outside it. It turns out this building is called the chemins de fer du Nord, which translates to Northern Railway Company. Though I have been through many public transportation stops, I believe this one, in particular, stands out because of its design.
Once I stepped on at Joures, I was immediately brought to attention by this beautiful lake. Its beauty was captivating base on how clear the water was and how it sparkled because of the sunlight. Not only does this long lake grab hold of my attention, but also everyone in that area.
While walking, I saw many boats across this river. There seemed to be a small boat filled with people by a damn. Everyone on the bridge and the boat wanted to save the memory of a beautiful stream this lake’s dam created. I had to see this lake closer, so I found a way to get down and admire it better.
Before getting to the lake, there was a small park right before it. The park was a flat land that had a small restaurant and a water fountain. Many kids would play around while their families watched. Besides the water fountain, the best water source was just straight across. The lake was right near my feet. In the lake, there were two sides on it. I decided to walk towards the left and see what that side had towards it.
While walking there, I came upon a small restaurant. They seem to be having a small event on the promenade. What was so special about this promenade is that they named it after a famous actor.Her name was Jeanne Moreau and when she “two films by Louis Malle: Ascenseur pour l’échafaud in 1957 and Les Amants in 1958, revealed her to the general public” (“Jeanne Moreau: Biographie, Actualité Et Podcasts à Écouter.”).Still walking straight, I heard laughter and families sitting by the lake enjoying themselves while captivated by this beautiful view. Even if some people were not sitting looking at the lake, they would go inside one of the movie theaters on either side of the lake or be in the lake doing water activities like canoeing.
After admiring the lake, I went past and saw a church. The church was large and beautiful on the outside. Sadly I was not able to admire the inside since it seemed to be close. One thing that did catch my eye was a sign on the church that said Place de Bitche. I was baffled by this name, so I did my research on why this place with a view was called that. I found out the origin of it is from the “the U.S. embassy in Paris was in a square called Place de Bitche, named after the war effort of the people of Bitche” (Ledsom). I ended this stop by sitting at a small park just across from the church and looking at the view of the bridge.
On the third stop, I went down and got off at Colonel Fabien. I kept walking in the middle of the street to see if anything would interest me. Though this might not be so astonishing to most people, I came by a library. While here in Paris, I never got to see their selection or the variety of writings they had to offer. The library was small but had a huge selection of books and media. Each floor was different and had much to offer. The one floor that peak my interest was the -1 floor. It carried a lot of writing that I favor, like manga and comic books. Though there was a book that I found intriguing. It was a huge book that talked about the history of nude art. Though it saddens me that I could not inform myself with the information in the book since it was written in French, I was happy I got to stumble upon this find.
I left the library and kept on looking around. While walking, I noticed that there seemed to be many shops and restaurants that have Asian food. Not realizing it soon enough, I stumbled upon an Asian district in France. Many of the stores that I first came upon were selling fruit and vegetables. Some of them came from different parts of Asia, and I have never seen them sold at marts in America or regular grocery stores in France. I stepped into one grocery store that had levels of foreign Asian food. I was intrigued to see cuisine that I never knew existed.
I got off the metro finally and into a stop named Couronnes. Walking right out of the exit, this city was not like most cities I have been to in France. This was due to the high littering and trash around the street compared to other towns in Paris. The trash in the way did not take away the scenery of the city. The scenery was the graffiti and street art around. Most of these artworks are not just random words but art that had meaning to it.
Walking down, I saw a huge church in the back. As I walked closer to it, I noticed how huge it was. Just to enter, you had to walk a long flight of stairs. This tends to be normal with older churches in Paris, but it is worth it to see how each different church is made and built. I went around an alleyway that lead to apartments. This neighborhood was quiet and had a plain shade of white to the apartment buildings. I saw a small garden in between the apartments. Only a small variety of flowers were there, but it fits this subtle environment.
I went to Phillipe August which was named after ” the first of the great Capetian kings of medieval France (reigned 1180–1223), who gradually reconquered the French territories held by the kings of England” (“Philip II.”) .This stop was quiet and there was not much except the basic grocery stores and restaurants. I came across a small church that was modern and simple. The neighborhood seem to only have people who were middle aged and older living in this area. This city felt very suburban and did not have to much commotion happening.
I went to yet another stop called Alexandre Dumas. While looking at the name of the stop I realized that this name sounds familiar. This is because this same man made my childhood. Alexandre Dumas is “one of the most prolific and most popular French authors of the 19th century” (“Alexandre Dumas, Père.”). Not only was he popular in France but also in the United States. HIs most notable books that are known worldwide are The Three Musketeers and The Man In The Iron Mask. While walking I came across another famous name though this person was unknown to me. The entrance sign of this area had Jard Damia which translates to Garden Damia. It had the name of a woman named Louise-Marie Damie who “was a French singer and actress better known by the stage name Damia” (“Marie-Louise Damien.”). Then I came upon another sign on the street with the name Allee Pierre Bérégovoy. He was a former “French politician, prime minister from April 1992 to March 1993” (“Pierre Bérégovoy.”). Other than his political roles he also “joined the French Resistance” (“Pierre Bérégovoy.”).
Walking down the street I saw a university in a building. It advertised the many degrees and programs it had. but this university was from a regular building. I think this was rather convenient to be here in the city and based on their reviews advertise it must be a good learning institution.
I then went to Avron on the metro. This city was quiet and did not seem to have many people around. There were many older looking apartments around the city. While looking around the apartment buildings I found an alleyway that said Impasse Saint-Pierre. This alley way just had the patios at the back of the apartment buildings.
After walking around I found a park called Passage de la Loi, which translates in English to the Passage Of The Law. I did not feel any connection with law while entering but while I was there I did enter a passageway that lead to a small area in the back. I found a small treasure which was a bookshelf of many children’s books. This was a sweet detail that books were given or even put there free for the taking. After leaving the park I headed down toward the city.
I happened to see a cool looking building and went by it. It stood out base of the bright color it was painted and the artwork that was on the side of it. When I got closer I realized why the building was made like this. It happened to be an animation center, specifically the Centre d’animation Ken Saro-Wiwa.
I went to another stop named Nation and was amazed with the atmosphere. I immediately saw a huge statue in the middle of the street. Though there was no sign or even description of the statue’s name, I can tell this was Roman artwork and the woman on top must symbolize some sort of power or strength in France.
Not too far from the statue I saw an older looking building. I thought it might be a government building but it was a school. It was named Ecole Arago and it is an elementary school that has “supervised studies and leisure centers included” (“Ecole Élémentaire Arago”).
In the same area there was a small market where many people were selling thrifted clothes or old antiques. After walking through the aisles of silver spoons, paintings, and miniature sculptures I found a park named Square Sarah-Bernhardt. There seemed to be an event on that day and many families were out there playing games, doing arts and crafts, or playing within the small water park.
I walked to the next stop which was the Anvers. While in that area I had to walk many flights of stairs to reach my destination ,which was Sacré-Cœur “a Roman Catholic church and a famous landmark in Paris with a deep and complex history as it is not only a religious monument but also a political one” (Gee, 2022). While this building was created for religious and political purposes, when I entered the building I was captivated by its beauty, especially the artwork that was on the ceiling. The mural shows the father, the son, and holy spirit with people from around the world surrounding him.
Just outside the church there was a well known gem; The bridge and fence are decorated with locks that symbolizes a couple’s love will be locked together forever. However, recently they stop people from putting locks on there because it causes too much weight on the bridge. Sadly other than not being able to do this custom many stories of people breaking up shortly have happened when people put their lock on the bridge thinking their love will last forever. Lastly, one destination I favored while in this area was a small garden named Square Jehan-Rictus in which there was a popular wall. This wall is called the Wall of I Love You and is well known since it has’ ‘ I love you” written in languages across the world.
Now the Final Destination I went to on Metro line 2 was Père-Lachaise. This stop is known for being “both the largest park and the largest cemetery in Paris” (“Père-Lachaise Cemetery.”).The cemetery “ extends 44 hectares and contains 70,000 burial plots” (Bureau).What I found really interesting about this place is how unique some of the cemeteries are and their stories behind them. Many well known people were even buried like Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Simone Signoret and Jim Morrison who I got to talk about near his grave. Not only does this place have a cemetery but they have an area for people who were cremated. I found the cemetery very heartfelt and how amazing it is that people from around the world will still honor the life of those who are no longer here physically but in our hearts.
I enjoy exploring different parts of Paris. I felt this project showed other parts that people tend to miss when visiting France. People tend to go to tourist-filled places like the Eiffel tower or the Palace of Versailles but forget to look for hidden gems in a new area. Not knowing about these places at first pushed me to be more independent and more adventurous. I hope that wherever a person is they take a risk to whatever foreign city they go to and explore the unknown like I did.
Aryal, Sagar, et al. “Widal Test- Introduction, Principle, Procedure, Interpretation and Limitation.” Microbiology Info.com, 1 Nov. 2018, microbiologyinfo.com/widal-test-introduction-principle-procedure-interpretation-and-limitation/#:~:text=Widal%20Test%20is%20an%20agglutination,typhoid%20fevers%20in%20endemic%20areas.
“Alexandre Dumas, Père.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., www.britannica.com/biography/Alexandre-Dumas-pere.
Bureau, Paris Convention and Visitors. “Cimetière Du Père Lachaise – Paris Tourist Office.” En.parisinfo.com, en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71470/Cimetiere-du-Pere-Lachaise.
Ecole Élémentaire Arago, http://www.paris.fr/lieux/ecole-elementaire-arago-535.
FigaroPlume. “D’où Vient ‘Barbès-Rochechouart’ ?” LEFIGARO, 14 Dec. 2017, www.lefigaro.fr/langue-francaise/quiz-francais/2017/10/08/37004-20171008ARTFIG00001-d-o-vient-barbes-rochechouart.php.
Gee, Laura. “10 Fun Facts on the Sacre-Coeur in Paris.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 28 Apr. 2022, traveltips.usatoday.com/10-fun-sacrecoeur-paris-106883.html.
“Jeanne Moreau: Biographie, Actualité Et Podcasts à Écouter.” Radio France, www.radiofrance.fr/personnes/jeanne-moreau.
Ledsom, Alex. “French Town of Bitche Falls Foul of Facebook’s Algorithm.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 13 Apr. 2021, www.forbes.com/sites/alexledsom/2021/04/13/french-town-of-bitche-falls-foul-of-facebooks-algorithm/?sh=7e766f9d25af.
“Marie-Louise Damien.” Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, en-academic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/46198.
“Père-Lachaise Cemetery.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., http://www.britannica.com/place/Pere-Lachaise-Cemetery.
“Philip II.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., http://www.britannica.com/biography/Philip-II-king-of-France.
“Pierre Bérégovoy.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., http://www.britannica.com/biography/Pierre-Beregovoy.