Quest For A Haven


In June this year we went to visit friends in Le Havre, which means “Haven” in French. The weather in Paris was cold and grotty and when we reached Normandy the sun was shining and it was very hot (that in itself was pretty unusual). My wife dropped me at the other end of town and I ran for above 10 miles all the way across parks and forests and hills and town to the seaside. At the end of that path is the gateway to the channel and eventually, the Atlantic Ocean. Running – or mountain biking – is the way I embark on quests out in the open. If only I hadn’t hurt myself a little later in June this year, I’d still be doing it. Posted as a follow-up to Cheri Lucas Rowlands’ Friday challenge piece entitled “Quest.”

Tightening the Belt (one more notch)

Petite Ceinture

Here comes the nice bit of the Petite Ceinture. All in all 6O something km (40 miles) of railway tracks going all around Paris, mostly underground. The part of the track which spans across the 15th district (stretching roughly from “Convention” to “Balard”) was converted into a footpath over a stretch of 3.5km (2 miles) 3 years ago.

Petite Ceinture

The greenery is very pleasant.

Petite Ceinture

As close to the flat iron building as we can get. Looks like a 1910 brick and stone job. These guys must be happy the trains have stopped mustn’t they?

Petite Ceinture

Further in the 13th district a pathetic stretch of track has been preserved. It’s a shame they aren’t doing the junction between the 13th and the 15th districts (map per below).

Petite Ceinture

Breathe, breathe in the air
Don’t be afraid to care
Leave but don’t leave me
Look around and choose your own ground


Map of the current situation of the Petite Ceinture railway In blue, the stretch available for transport. In yellow, the stretch used by the RER C line. In red, the stretch demolished in 1960. In green, the stretch closed in 2008. Click to enlarge.

More can be found about the Petite Ceinture on the Website of the non profit organisation dedicated to it:

@ygourven More of this unique railway line :

Tightening the Belt

petite ceinture Paris
Petite Ceinture: click picture to enlarge and see the detail

This weekend there won’t be any photo challenge from our good friends at So here’s a panorama merge from the “Petite Ceinture” (literally “small belt”), the old and derelict orbital railway which goes all around Paris, mostly underground. The railway line was discontinued in the 1930s and most of it hasn’t changed since then. In some other areas, it has been turned into a footpath for families and joggers. Looking at this, one senses that a huge opportunity to have a superb inner green belt within the large City has been completely missed and it’s a bit sad (I’ll show you some of the nice bits later). Let’s be optimistic, our municipal people will certainly get their act together, one day. After all, it only happened 86 years ago, you know.

Life On The Edge: Mount Rainier

edge-mountain-mount-rainier-photo-challengeToday’s challenge by Ben Huberman is “Edge.” I chose this recent picture taken from Mount Rainier’s Skyline trail. Mountains are incredibly hard to photograph, they are huge but DSLR sensors are very small. This mountain was even harder to photograph. It kept hiding behind clouds and it took us two whole days before we could see anything. Then, as we were hiking on that trail, the veil lifted and we saw the huge mount. Right on the edge, a couple was taking pictures of themselves. They look so small by comparison to the huge mount. Then the photo started to make sense, and one could at last catch a glimpse of how vast the area is.

Sleepless in Seattle

Seattle, Wa USA

Our Summer trip to the Pacific NW was a profitable one. Many pictures were taken there. Amongst my preferred photos a series of 3 taken from the upper parts of Seattle, a neighbourhood named Queen Anne. I tried to find a trace of a Queen Anne who visited the place but I wasn’t able to in the little time it took me to prepare this post.

[Sep 9 update: one of my readers kindly provided the information in the comments section, so here it is for those who wouldn’t be able to reach it “The Queen Anne neighborhood was named for its style of houses in the 1880s, one of Seattle’s first residential neighborhoods.“]

Seattle, Wa USA

The area is very picturesque, the people gathering there at night for the views.

Seattle, Wa USA - The Space Needle and downtown Seattle and Mt Rainier in the Background

A little bit further down the road, a night view of Seattle. I rested my camera on the banister of the staircase of a mansion. People were raising curtains thinking we must have been yobs. I din’t have much time to take this shot but did a reasonable job for someone who had left his tripod behind.