Category Archives: An Hour From Paris

Annabel’s Zoom presentation on 20 June 2024

I’ll be giving an illustrated Zoom presentation on both books for Bonjour Paris with particular reference to Half An Hour From Paris

next Thursday 20 June from 5.30-6.30 pm Paris time,
11.30 am-12.30 pm Eastern time, USA.

The event will end with a short Q and A session and is free to Bonjour Paris members. Non-members can buy a ticket for 10 US dollars by registering here. 

Looking forward to answering your questions!

Updating An Hour From Paris in spring

Updating An Hour From Paris in spring
Riverside path, Ile de la Dérivation on the walk to Poissy

I’ve now revisited nearly all of the 20 destinations in the 2019 edition to update it for the 4th edition. Not all the changes have been for the better but I’m pleased to say that so far there have been more good ones than bad.

Walking in the company of friends who see these familiar places with new eyes has also led to new perceptions of my old favourites, literally in the case of Montmorency where we climbed up to the former ramparts for the first time to be rewarded with a spectacular view of the Renaissance church. The buildings on the skyline are the modern quarter of La Défense in western Paris, ten miles and a world away.

Updating An Hour From Paris at Montmorency
View from the ramparts at Montmorency

I had also never seen the park at Rambouillet when the bluebells are out

Parc de Rambouillet in April
Parc de Rambouillet in April

and on going completely round the park at Chateaubriand’s house to satisfy a friend’s curiosity I was thrilled to see Solomon’s Seal growing there, my first ever sighting of this beautifully-named plant.

Solomon's Seal at Chateaubriand's house
Solomon’s Seal, Maison de Chateaubriand

There have also been some experiences too hairy to go into the book: exploring a fascinating abandoned 19th century quarry on the walk to Herblay in the aimiable company of some local teenagers, and having to clutch at brambles to stop ourselves from sliding down a deeply muddy steep path on an experimental detour from Montmorency.

The reason for not including the quarry is that it is on the optional riverside walk from Conflans Sainte Honorine to Herblay, most of which has become disappointingly suburban. New houses have sprung up by the river and the towpath is now tarmacked over and full of people.

But the deletion of this walk led to one of the best experiences of all, as I decided to explore a residential island which I had not revisited for years on the river in the other direction. At the time I had found it not really worth the detour as you can’t see the Seine from its only road. But at the very end of that road we found a deserted riverside footpath bordering residents’ back gardens. Its discovery was crowned for me by the sight of a swan almost hidden from view, only a few feet away from us, peacefully sitting on her eggs. She did not spare us a glance.

Updating An Hour From Paris on the walk to Poissy
Swan’s nest, Ile de la Dérivation on the walk to Poissy

Only five more walks to go…and I’m looking forward to yet more discoveries. I’ll actually be sorry when the updating is finished.








A Champagne Walk an Hour from Paris

First published on 25 March 2024 in Bonjour Paris

Champagne vineyard an hour from Paris at Charly
Champagne vineyard at Charly

The station of Nanteuil-Saâcy is on the north east edge of the Ile de France, close to the River Marne. It is only 50 minutes from the Gare de l’Est by train – but in a very different world. A 20-minute walk across the bridge and along the river will bring you to the old village of Crouttes-sur-Marne in the Aisne département containing nine small ‘maisons de champagne’. Here you can sample different champagnes to your heart’s content and buy an excellent bottle of the stuff direct from the producer for as little as 15€. It also has a 12th century church, locked but with a large grille thoughtfully placed across the open doorway so that you have a good view of the atmospheric interior.

But if you want to make your visit into an even more rewarding day out I suggest you combine the champagne tasting and buying with a leisurely 10 km river and country walk. You can do this by getting off at the next station on the line to Château-Thierry, Nogent l’Artaud-Charly, walking 3½ km along the river to a traditional restaurant for lunch, then going inland and uphill to the old village of Charly, past its 13th century church and maisons de champagne, and then doing a spectacular hilltop walk with views of champagne vineyards and rolling countryside, dropping down to the village of Crouttes-sur-Marne to visit its 12th century church. From there you go through the village and back down to the river to buy your champagne en route to the station at Nanteuil-Saâcy, reached by a short riverside walk.

From the station at Nogent l’Artaud turn left and cross the bridge over the Marne straight ahead.

Bridge at Nogent l'Artaud
Bridge at Nogent l’Artaud

On the other side take the GR towpath along the river on your left. You probably won’t meet a soul on this lovely riverside walk although you can see the steeples of a village church or two uphill on your right. After 3½ km you will come to the ‘Guinguette le Bac’ at Charly, a former guinguette (riverside restaurant where working people went to dance at weekends).  The bac (ferry) no longer exists but the restaurant is an authentic survival of the guinguette tradition of having a good time by the water.

Ginguette le Bac at Charly, an hour from Paris
Guinguette le Bac at Charly

The clientèle is local, with a family birthday celebration in full swing when we arrived. The food is modest and so are the prices. I had an excellent kir for 3€ and a galette (savoury pancake) of ham and cheese for 14.50€. Main dishes are around 18€ and a 50cl pichet of drinkable red wine is 7€ or you can order cider at 9.80€ a bottle. Our waiter (owner?) was charmed by our accents, as he had worked in London for a year. I was even more charmed to find a traditional place like this still functioning, especially on a Sunday in November.

Turn left from the restaurant and go uphill through the quiet old village of Charly, where there are several maisons de champagne. I lit a candle in the 13th century church which we passed en route.

Eglise St Martin, Charly, an hour from Paris
Eglise St Martin, Charly

After the church turn left into the Rue Emile Morlot which eventually becomes the Route de Monthuys and then turns into a footpath with spacious views of fields and vineyards. On my first visit in late October some of the small sweet black grapes were still hanging there and we gorged ourselves on them, but they had withered by the time of my next visit in November. If you go in autumn I recommend taking a penknife with you to cut the tough little stalks.

The footpath eventually crosses an unmarked path at the crest of a hill. Continue straight on at this point.

Footpath from Charly to Crouttes-sur-Marne, an hour from Paris
Footpath from Charly to Crouttes-sur-Marne

It had rained the night before so the soft soil of this path had preserved various animal footprints and one of us stopped to take photos of them. Later she looked them up online and identified them as the prints of lynx (wild cat), boar, deer and dog. I knew there were lynx in the Ile de France but to this day have never seen one, so I was particularly thrilled by this information.

Continue downhill past more spectacular views until you reach the D842 (Route de Villiers) and follow it to the left, turning left into Rue de la Couarde when the road forks. Take the first left steeply downhill (Rue de l’Eglise). The 12th century church of St Quiriace is hidden at the end of the street.

Eglise St Quiriace at Crouttes sur Marne
Eglise St Quiriace at Crouttes-sur-Marne

The entrance is locked but you can see the lovely interior through the grille.

Interior of St Quiriace at Crouttes-sur-Marne, an hour from Paris
Interior of St Quiriace

Go round the back of the church, past the cemetery and continue downhill along the Rue de l’Eglise until it joins a road, the Grande Rue which is the main street through Crouttes-sur- Marne. Turn right along this long street and continue, past more maisons de champagne, until you see the Rue du Calvaire on your right.

Take the next left, Rue de la Marne, and follow it downhill until you reach no. 13, Champagne Leclère Torrens, which is owned by Nathalie and her husband.

Advertisement for champagne from Le Monde
Advertisement for champagne from Le Monde

I knew she was called Nathalie because I had phoned ahead to check that her maison de champagne would be open when we passed by, as it is the only one in Crouttes-sur-Marne open on Sunday afternoon and also the one nearest to the station. She assured me that her daughter would be there to let us in and that arriving after the official closing time of 5 pm would not be a problem. It was a complete coincidence that one of our group was carrying a rather crumpled copy of Le Monde in which Nathalie features in a full page advertisement. Her voice did not at all match the rather formidable image in the photo, which is part of a national publicity campaign for champagne.

Her daughter showed us round the champagne cellars of the family home and then took us into the tasting room to try out some of the champagnes on offer. We all bought a bottle and I can attest that my 15€ bottle of brut was as good as my favourite, the much more expensive Deutz. The card machine wasn’t working but luckily we had enough cheques and cash between us to cover our purchases, hastily made as it was getting dark and we had to get to the station for the hourly train to Paris.

Our hostess assured us that we would easily make the train, which turned out to be the case as it was much closer than I thought, and saw us to the gate to point out the riverside path.

Entrance to Champagne Leclère Torrens, Crouttes-sur-Marne, an hour from Paris
Nathalie’s daughter at the entrance to Champagne Leclère Torrens
10 km walk fro Nogent l'Artaud to Nanteuil-Saâcy station
10 km walk from Nogent l’Artaud station to Nanteuil-Saâcy station

Updating An Hour From Paris in winter

Updating An Hour From Paris in winter, fourth edition
Provins in winter

The request from my publisher to consider updating An Hour From Paris came just before Christmas. Since then I’ve been recruiting intrepid friends to accompany me as I work my way through the 20 destinations in the book to see what has changed. I expect to have finished by summer so that the new edition can be published in 2025.

So far, updating in the depths of winter has meant clutching the book and a pencil in ungloved hands as a few snowflakes drift down (Provins), squeezing through a barrier to the temporarily closed walk by the Canal St Jean (Chantilly), being unexpectedly invited to view her huge house and grounds by a woman who saw us peeping through her 17th century gateway (La Ferté-Milon) and having a rewarding telephone conversation with the curator of the Maison Debussy (St Germain-en-Laye) who had never heard of the book but thought it a brilliant idea. Oh, and discovering that the traditionally unfriendly local café in Seugy (Royaumont) serves an excellent under-priced kir, actually acknowledged with a smile when I took the glasses back to the counter.

As you can see, there are unexpected pleasures to be had from what could feel like a chore. Provins in particular, which I have not enjoyed much since it became a UNESCO-listed site, has a lovely haunting quality in winter. The Middle Ages seem very close when you are experiencing the same conditions as the people who built those ramparts and the sheer pleasure of finally sitting down in the warmth and sipping ‘hypocras’, a spiced wine drink mentioned by Chaucer, in the one café that was open added the finishing touch.

Only 15 more trips to go – and I’m looking forward to more discoveries.

The Perfect Day Out in Paris

First published on 6 June 2023 in Bonjour Paris

the perfect day out in Paris
Entrance to the courtyard of the Café Griffon, with medieval tower on the right

I’ve now lived in Paris for 32 years and, like most expatriate residents, I have a recurring problem: what to do with family and friends when they come to visit?

Of course I can always turn them loose to visit the city’s famous sights, but what if they’ve already seen them? Current exhibitions are only part of the answer, as I baulk at sending them to join long queues or worse still, having to queue with them. Ideally I want to take them somewhere authentically Parisian that most tourists won’t know about and to share with them the sense of discovery that is one of the great rewards of travel. So I have found that the best solution is to show them surprising little-known places I’ve recently discovered.

My latest find is at no. 55 bis Rue des Francs Bourgeois in the Marais, a street I have walked down hundreds of times. Last year I noticed a small gateway which I hadn’t seen before and on impulse went inside.

the perfect day out in Paris
Entrance to the Café Griffon and medieval tower

The entrance led past a tower, the massive base of which turned out to be an astonishing remnant of the 12th century city wall built by Philippe Auguste. Next to the tower was a pillar, an elegant fragment from the 17th century Hotel de Nouvion which once stood here, set on an earlier base with the date 1577 carved into it. The tower is at the corner of a hidden courtyard, with a café inside it, which was closed. I made a mental note to go back and try the café, but of course I never did.

Last week, walking down the same street, I saw a sign for ‘Crédit Muncipal’ above another, larger gateway. I assumed it led to a boring bank but went through it, past the security guards into a courtyard. There I read the fascinating history of the ‘Mont-de-Piété’, founded in 1637 as a sort of People’s Pawnbroker, offering credit at reasonable rates for objects deposited. The ‘Crédit Municipal de Paris’, owned by the city, is its direct descendant and operates on similar lines to this day, at the same spot. Then I noticed an archway at the side which looked vaguely familiar. It led into the courtyard with the tower and hidden café which I had found a year earlier.

the perfect day out in Paris
Archway between the Café Griffon and the Crédit Municipal de Paris

This time I made a note of the address of the café which is opposite the forbidding-looking entrance to the ‘Archives Nationales’.  Reflecting that I had never set foot inside that building either, and with a family visit looming, I went inside, expecting to find that it wasn’t open to the public.

the perfect day out in Paris
Entrance to the Archives Nationales

But the immense circular courtyard led to a staggering building, the 17th century Hotel de Soubise, once the home of the powerful Guise family and now the repository of the nation’s most precious archives. It houses a museum with ‘Entrée gratuite’ encouragingly written over the entrance.

I climbed the grand staircase to the first floor to see the special exhibition about the royal family’s confinement in the Tuileries 1789-1792 and ended up losing all sense of time as I read the secret correspondence between Marie-Antoinette and her lover, the Swedish count Axel von Fersen, who arranged the doomed flight of the royal family to Varennes in 1791.

The letters were written in French in a code that has only recently been cracked, although some phrases which Fersen had carefully blacked out are still unreadable, even with the latest technology. The technical details of the code are clearly presented in French and English and cleverly brought to life in a video in which the faces of the Queen and Fersen are never shown. The camera peeps over their shoulders to show each stage of the coded letter-writing, lace-draped hands painstakingly writing out the draft with a quill, converting it to code and the whole process in reverse at the other end so that the letter could finally be read.

I was deeply impressed by the non-gimmicky but cutting-edge presentation, by the restored princely rooms on the first floor with painted ceilings rivalling Versailles, and pleasantly surprised by the uncrowded space.

archives nationales
Salon de la Princesse, Hotel de Soubise, Archives Nationales

There were far more visitors when I returned on a public holiday a few days later but nothing like the crowds at the big Paris exhibitions. Admission to the museum’s special exhibitions has recently been made free and the weekend opening hours extended. On my second visit I discovered an un-named secluded garden with a maze of hidden arbours, outside the Hotel de Rohan to the right of the museum entrance.

Hotel de Rohan, Archives Nationales
Garden of the Hotel de Rohan, Archives Nationales

I knew that my family would love these places, which are just around the corner from the Centre Pompidou. And from past experience with them, other visitors and from readers’ comments, I also knew that at least one day trip to a little-known place outside Paris would be a highlight of their stay.

So one Sunday I took two friends, one a long-term resident of Paris, the other a frequent visitor from London, to the ancient hilltop stronghold of Château-Landon, 82 km south east of Paris in the valley of the River Loing. We took the train from the Gare de Lyon to Souppes, where we had lunch at a modest family-run restaurant in the market place.

Souppes sur Loing
Marketplace, Souppes sur Loing

I had phoned ahead to say that one of us was vegetarian so the patronne had obligingly added a pasta dish to the day’s menu. I could see that my friends were surprised and impressed by the un-Parisian warmth of our welcome and the ‘rapport qualité-prix’ (value for money).

But they were a trifle taken aback when after lunch I confidently led them down a narrow overgrown path next to a disused railway line. ‘Is it all going to be like this?’ one of them asked as we pushed our way through knee-high damp meadowsweet and buttercups so that our jeans were soon soaked. I assured them truthfully that this was the only wild part of the walk. Our jeans soon dried and I was gratified to see their growing pleasure and delight as we walked along the Canal du Loing and then along a country path full of wild roses, with the bell-tower of the 11th century hilltop church at Château-Landon gradually coming into view, soon followed by its spectacular abbey.

Bell-tower of Notre Dame on the footpath to Château-Landon

On reaching the town we made an unplanned detour from the riverside path to the church to follow the intriguing sounds of singing and dancing coming from a nearby park, where a Portuguese festival was in full swing.

Portuguese dancers, Château-Landon

The little town itself, as usual, was deserted and the café I had planned to take them to next to the church was closed, but the trusty Turkish doner-kebab takeaway in the market place was open. We were the only customers. We sat outside in the sun listening to the cooing of doves, drinking tea and sampling the patronne’s excellent home-made baklava before catching the last bus to Melun, from where we had a magnificent view of the palace of Fontainebleau, to connect with a fast train to the Gare de Lyon.

Here we decided to treat ourselves to a kir at the mythical Train Bleu restaurant, where the decor of lofty painted ceilings, curtains and mirrors always reminds me of a cross between a cathedral and a Belle Epoque brothel.

Le Train Bleu
Le Train Bleu restaurant, Gare de Lyon © Wikimedia Commons

We were enjoying the contrast between our day in the country and our luxurious Parisian surroundings so much that we decided to stay and have supper there. It was packed with tourists, but they found us a table without raising an eyebrow at our unstylish walking gear.

As my London visitor later told me, it was the perfect end to a perfect day.



A fairy-tale walk to the Château d’Ecouen

Article on Château d’Ecouen first published in Bonjour Paris, 24 March 2023, based on the chapter in An Hour From Paris, 2019

château d'ecouen
Château d’Ecouen, front entrance

If you are looking for total dépaysement (change of scene) and are also interested in the French Renaissance, there is no need to travel as far as the Loire. One of the most elegant examples of this style in France, the 16th-century Château d’Ecouen, houses the rich furnishings and objets d’art that make up the collections of the National Museum of the Renaissance.

Perhaps because it is only 19 km and 21 minutes by train from Paris, the château, surrounded by its 17-hectare park which is full of flowers in spring and enchanting under snow in winter, is gratifyingly under-visited. Most of its visitors are French so you won’t have to join long queues.

The full impact of its hill-top site is only revealed when you approach it on foot via the signposted walk from the station through the Forest of Ecouen, a distance of just over a mile.

View of the forest walk from the Grille du Pré-Curé

I first went there on the 269 bus from the station, only three stops to the château but by a route which means you approach the building from the front. When I went there again through the forest some years later, I actually failed to recognise it as the same place, so different were the two impressions.

The rear view of the château gradually rises into view as you approach it from the woodland path and is magically revealed in all its stateliness as you emerge onto the vast flat lawn at the top.

château d'ecouen
Rear view of the Château d’Ecouen in winter, surrounded by snowdrops
Château d'Ecouen
Rear view of the château in spring, with a carpet of wood anemones

The château was built for Constable Anne, Duke of Montmorency (1492-1567), the owner of over 130 châteaux and one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in France. Completed in 1555, it is in the High Renaissance style, a development of the Early Renaissance style of the châteaux of the Loire built during the reign of François I. The architecture, the grounds and the decor all reflect the new taste for a château as a place for gracious living rather than a medieval fortress. Painted friezes decorate the windows and walls and dreamy Biblical  scenes are painted on the chimneypieces.

Château d'Ecouen
‘La chasse d’Esau’ by unknown artist in the bedroom of Anne de Montmorency, RMN, Stéphane Maréchalle

From the terrace of the restaurant/tearoom and the upper floor windows there are superb views of the park, the roofs of the houses descending the steep hill to Ecouen and the rolling countryside of the Plaine de France beyond, recalling the hazy, stylised landscapes in medieval paintings.

Château d'Ecouen
View from upper floor window of the château

The château was saved from destruction after the Revolution by Napoleon, who turned it into a school for the daughters of members of the Légion d’Honneur in 1806. The rooms now contain a fine selection of furniture, tapestries, glass and china made in France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands in the 16th and early 17th centuries, representative of the Renaissance taste for elegance and refinement. The most famous exhibit is a priceless Brussels tapestry, woven c.1515, which extends over three rooms on the first floor and tells the story of David and Bathsheba, dressed, of course, in 16th-century clothes.

Bethsabée à la fontaine, RMN

Some other highlights are the Charles V clock in the form of a golden ship, complete with moving clockwork crew, shown in action in an accompanying video, on the ground floor

Charles V clock with automated crew, attributed to Hans Schlottheim (1547-1625)

and the beautiful pink and blue Ottoman pottery from Iznik in Turkey, inspired by Chinese models, on the second floor.

Plate from Izmir, 16th century
Getting to the Château d’Ecouen by train and on foot

Trains to Luzarches or Persan-Beaumont stopping at the station of Ecouen-Ezanville leave the Gare du Nord every 15 minutes on weekdays and every half-hour at weekends, taking 19 minutes. There are two cafés at the station, one open on Sundays.

Cross the Place de la Gare diagonally to the right of the station exit, turn right at the boulangerie into the Allée du Bois and follow it into the forest. Turn right into the Chemin du Four à Chaux (paved) which rises gently uphill, then curves left and comes out at the junction of several paths. Turn right, following the sign to the château past the picnic area on your left. This unpaved road rises gently uphill to a gate set in the château wall, la grille du Pré Curé. Go through the gate, continue uphill past the signboard showing a map of the grounds and you will come out at the back of the château, with a superb plunging view of the Plaine de France on your left. Walk round the château to the right to find the main entrance on the other side.

Château d'Ecouen
1.8 km walk from Ecouen-Ezanville station to the Château d’Ecouen

(Map and all photos by Annabel Simms, unless otherwise stated)

The new enlarged edition of Annabel’s book ‘Half An Hour From Paris’ will be on sale shortly. Details will be posted on

Iris escapade at Parc de Bagatelle

Iris garden, Parc de Bagatelle
Parc de Bagatelle iris garden, 27 May 2022

I was first told about the iris garden in the Parc de Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne by the French librarian at the OECD, to whom I was giving English lessons at the time. It seems to be a local secret, visited mainly by residents of the exclusive 16th arrondissement in which the Bois is situated.  Like the librarian, who made the excursion every year, I try to visit it between late May and June, when the different irises are all in flower together for a window of about three weeks. I’ve missed some years, although one year I successfully used the irises as bait to persuade friends to visit from London. They agreed I hadn’t exaggerated the effect.

This year I missed one self-appointed date and a friend cancelled at the last minute for the other. It was getting late on Friday 27 May when I decided to stick to my third plan, despite having been slowed down by chores, and plunged into the métro. I knew I couldn’t possibly get to Bagatelle before 7 pm and the park closes at 8, but I thought even an hour would be worth it. It was only when the bus which I had taken from the métro started crossing the Seine into Puteaux that I realised I had missed my stop and was being carried at a spanking pace into an unknown region beyond Paris.

With great presence of mind I hopped off at the next stop, crossed to the other side of the road and jumped onto a bus going in the other direction, horribly conscious of time ticking away. But the bus didn’t retrace the route I had taken. It turned off to the right along the Seine. With a sinking heart I got off and followed the river back in what I hoped was the right direction, only to see the footpath coming to an end and what looked like an endless motorway roaring along beside me into the distance. I asked the only pedestrian in sight, who knew as little as I did, although we both pored over our respective phones. Finally I took a tempting footbridge leading across the Seine to an island, mainly to get away from the traffic, turned right along the riverside footpath and after asking two more people for directions finally found myself at the edge of the Bois in familiar territory.

With aching feet I galloped up to the entrance to Bagatelle at 7.30 pm and got to the gate leading to the iris garden which was just being closed by a park attendant. He warned me it would only be open for another 15 minutes, as they start closing the park at 7.50 pm. I breathlessly thanked him, reached the garden and sank down on a bench within the sound of a little fountain splashing into the tiny canal that runs the length of the garden.

Right on cue, the sun came out and transfigured the irises. The garden was almost empty, something I have never experienced before, and the lengthening shadows and the unearthly cries of peacocks in the park outside completed the sense of having been suddenly transported to a different world. There were only two people there, both intently photographing the irises in different parts of the garden. They studiously ignored me, so I did the same. I sniffed at several irises to inhale their fragrance, which I have discovered varies with the colour. Some smell delicious, others less so. The pale blue ones still had the most delicate scent.

When the attendant came to ask me to leave I beamed at him and said it had been well worth it, and I meant it. It was only when I reached the bus stop that I discovered why I had missed my stop on the way there. The bus was on a deviation and I would have to walk back to the métro at Pont de Neuilly, something I had never done before.  Feeling too devil-may-care by now to consult my phone I simply continued strolling along the quiet Rue de Longchamp, and made a useful new discovery. It is a more direct route to the métro than the one taken by the bus, less than 1½ km, and the street itself felt more and more soothingly provincial. Looking up just before no. 32, I was charmed to see an old sign forbidding people from letting their horses and oxen mount the pavement

Sign in rue de Longchamp
Sign in rue de Longchamp

followed by a plaque with the history of the house, which had belonged to the Victorian writer, Théophile Gautier.

Maison Théophile Gautier
Maison Théophile Gautier, 32 rue de Longchamp

The street ended in an unexpected little cluster of upmarket local food shops, restaurants and quiet cafés, outside which the well-heeled inhabitants of Neuilly sur Seine were sipping their aperitifs. It felt almost like a stage set for a French village. I turned right at the end of the street, using the phone to guide me this time, and there was the métro, in the busy main road which links the concrete square arch at La Défense to the Arc de Triomphe.

I felt as if I had been very far away from Paris in a very short time.  With hindsight, every minute of that journey had been worthwhile.

You can consult the updated chapter on the Parc de Bagatelle in the new edition of Half An Hour From Paris, currently being prepared for publication.

New edition of Half An Hour From Paris in 2022

New edition of Half An Hour From Paris
Heron fishing in the River Bièvre near Igny

Since October I’ve been busily working on a new edition of Half An Hour From Paris, to be published in full colour in spring 2022.  I’ve managed to update five of the ten walks and am pleased to report that so far not very much has changed, in spite of Covid.

I saw the heron while updating the walk along the River Bièvre from Igny to Jouy en Josas at the end of  November. The day was so grey, wet and cold that I hadn’t brought my camera, not wanting to fiddle with it as well as with gloves, umbrella, pencil and book, as the light wouldn’t be good enough anyway. So I sneaked up on the heron as close as I dared with my Iphone and to my surprise he didn’t move at all.

I bitterly regretted not bringing the camera, as the quality of this picture won’t be good enough to appear in the book. So I am publishing it here as a foretaste of spring and a reminder that even a winter walk in the Ile de France can be unexpectedly rewarding.

With warm wishes for Christmas and 2022!