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.








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