Praying Mantis black and white

Urban Wildlife

A city, alive!photo 1

I live in Paris, and one could think that such a big Metropole is only made up of lifeless buildings. But the many parks and squares in the city as well as greened balconies and windowsills, let a lot of wildlife develop itself peacefully. If it weren’t for the rats, but that was a different post. Continue reading “Urban Wildlife”


Sorry Remy!

Sorry Remy, even though we all love you and think you are super cute, your publicity for rats has not worked.

During my first year at university, a rat liked to enter the kitchen through the air vent by the window. This was student housing and definitely quite a shock, but my flat being on the ground floor, it wasn’t too much of a surprise. The animal did seem more scared of us than we were of it. Most of all it made me jump to find a rat in my kitchen! Later on, in a different flat, we had some nocturnal visits from a very intelligent mouse, it stole the cheese from its trap but was never trapped itself.  Continue reading “Sorry Remy!”

Pollution in Paris

Cold, blue sky, sun, and fog smog! For a few days now the level of pollution inside of Paris has drastically risen. The beautiful winter weather is disrupted by a high amount of micro particles. In Paris this phenomenon has been happening a lot since 2014, I am not sure about the years prior to that.

When little one was a few weeks old I noticed for the first time that I could not see very far, my vision went blurry. I at first thought that this was due to my eyesight having changed during my pregnancy. But actually it was smog. Now I have an app on my phone that regularly gives me pollution alerts. Continue reading “Pollution in Paris”

My Colette Surprise 

If you have traveled to Paris, you might have come across the concept store Colette located in Rue Saint Honoré. If you are a fashionista, then it is rather probable that you know Colette even if you have never been to Paris. Since 1997, the store with the two blue dots had been a place for “it” products. Fashion, music, electronics, books, iPhone cases, gimmicks, really a bit of everything. And there are regular expositions of contemporary art.  Often it seems that products get introduced to the market via Colette. Remember my swimming penguin paper clips, they were from there. Continue reading “My Colette Surprise “

4 Seasons in Paris

Not the music, not the hotels, not the pizza topping, no…

Last week, while outside I came across a strange phenomenon, a tree that seemed a bit lost. A cherry tree celebrating all four seasons at once!

Some leaves were coloured by the advancing autumn, some were green as though in the middle of summer, then there were signs of winter with there being only bare branches. But the reason this cherry tree attracted my attention was that about half the tree was blossoming!

Cherry blossoms in November in the northern hemisphere??

It does happen! See for yourself.

Autumn Cherry Blossom, Parc Monceau, Paris
Autumn Cherry Blossoms, Paris 12th November 2015

© Solveig Werner 2015. All rights reserved.

Iles Flottantes – no I am not talking about dessert

Berges de Seine, Grand Palais, Pont Alexandre III

Voilà, voilà! It’s time for another “Discovering Paris” post. This time it’s again about a new park or garden in Paris. I want to tell you about the Promenade des Berges de la Seine, or more precisely about the Iles Flottantes (floating islands that are located there).

Berges de Seine In 2013 parts of the Parisian quays were converted into a nice Promenade. Something, that used to be a road producing tons of pollution, as cars were channeled through the city, was converted into a pedestrian paradise. In the book Trapped in Paris by Evelyne Holingue the protagonists experience some rather negative sides of the Seine’s quays, that today, have almost become unthinkable.

Even though this promenade has been around for two years now, I have only discovered it last year. And since then I have made sure to come back here and now to enjoy. I think that for many Parisians it has turned into a great place to escape from everyday life, without having to leave the city or ruining oneself financially.

Berges de Seine The promenade is 2.3km in length and is packed with activities. Often there are a lot of people, but due to the length of the quais, it is not a problem, you can always find your own space between walkers, skaters, cyclists and parents with strollers. In the warmer months of the year, giant flower pots line the river bank. Inside them you can find fig and apple trees and some quite monstrous looking plants. You can try yourself at playing Usain Bold with a 100m sprint. You, or maybe your kids can go rock-climbing, you have various equipment for exercises.

Berges de Seine On the weekend you can find a coach to give you a free coaching session, take a dance lesson. There are restaurants, you have free sparkling water, clean toilets and can reserve a container transformed into a living room. This can be good for a rainy day, a lunch break when it is cold, a small birthday party, or just relaxing away from home. Here and there you can borrow chess and checkers pieces and get to play. There can be art exhibits, or there are projects to educate the passer-by about the environment. Because this promenade is after all a green project.

Berges de Seine, Ile Flottante, Tour Eiffel, Eiffel Tower I always enjoy going down to the Berges de Seine, like I enjoyed going for walks on the quayside in Newcastle. But these quays have something special, they have the Iles Flottantes, when I heard of the project for the first time I actually had a vision of giant plastic desserts floating on the Seine. I had it all wrong. These floating islands are a brilliant way of gaining more land, giving nature some more space without having to deviate the river or doing anything completely questionable from an environmental stand point. A group of metal islands, attached to massive poles are now a nice new park. Richly populated by different types of plants and even animals.

Berges de Seine
close-up of a leaf taken by S

One can sit and relax on one of the islands, being cradled by the coming and going of the waves. There are wooden recliners on one  or giant hammocks on another to make you feel at ease. Of course, I suppose for someone who suffers from sea sickness this might not be the best place to be.

The giant hammocks or nets are there so one does not trod on the grass growing beneath them, while fully profiting from the island. On weekends it is likely that the space is rare, as many people will be there enjoying a book. On another island there are apple trees, with tiny little apples. They are not for human consumption but for the pleasure of the animals.

If you are in Paris, or will be going one day, I do recommend that you check out the Promenade des Berges de la Seine.

Berges de Seine
Berges de Seine

Berges de Seine, ile flottante

Berges de SeineBerges de Seine

Berges de Seine

Berges de Seine
what is it?
Berges de Seine
Close-up by S

Berges de Seine

All photos are hosted on flickr and either taken by S or myself
© Solveig Werner 2015. All rights reserved.

Parc Clichy-Batignolles – Martin Luther King

Parc Clichy-Batignolles – Martin Luther King

Discovering a NEW park in Paris

Parc Clichy-Batignolles - Martin Luther King

A few weeks ago, my mother discovered a new park in Paris, which she quickly shared with us. The first time I went, I went without technology, so I could not take any pictures. But then I returned, for a nice walk and for many pictures. Continue reading “Parc Clichy-Batignolles – Martin Luther King”