Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wednesday 4 December - Aux Iles Marquises

Walking along Batignoles this morning we saw a lady with a small dog that was paralyzed in its rear legs.  It was in a small two wheeled buggy which supported its rear legs but it could move along using its front feet.

Not a great deal of change at the Gare Saint-Lazare where a couple of the old electrics 170003 and 170100 were working suburban trains. Retrieving our tickets for the trip to Reims after Christmas was very simple.  I had already made the reservation and paid using the SNCF web site.  I found an SNCF ticket machine, fed in the file locator code then inserted the credit card used to make the transaction.  The longest part was printing the tickets.

The railway bookstore run by La Vie du Rail is worth a visit if only to admire the vast amount of material available, books, dvds, models etc.  I found an excellent rail atlas of France which was published this year. It is thin enough to carry round.
La Vie du Rail Bookstore
La Vie du Rail Bookstore - OO scale models
Just outside la gare Saint Lazare there is a very thin McDonalds
We were greeted very warmly at Aux Iles Marquises where we confirmed our reservation for New Years Eve with an additional place for Veronica.  Lunch was up to the usual high standard even though the restaurant was practically full.

Au Pullman, the railway model shop on rue de Copenhagen has changed its shop front and improved its internal layout.  I found a couple of locomotive wheel cleaners, one for me and one for Pat Brewer.

From the Rue Legendre overbridge looking north towards Cardinet station
The walk down to the Square des Batignoles was across the railway trench into the Gare Saint Lazare.  There are eleven main lines at this point. Passing a Wallace fountain we entered the now familiar park.  

Square des Batignoles
The kids were coming out of school, the small ones with a grown up, who patiently pointed out to them the ducks and geese, while the teenagers were being teenagers.  We broke into a conversation with a lady who had lived in the area all her life and came here at least twice a week.  She loved the Canada geese, for their handsome face feathers but we told her they were becoming a pest in Canada.  The range of ducks and geese in the park is astounding.  She told the story about earlier this year when the park staff had seeded a section of grass and put up a wire fence to keep the ducks and geese from eating the seed.  The staff had not realized that the ducklings and goslings could get through the wire.  The park closed and there was a lot of noise from the anxious avian parents who were separated from their young.  Local residents in the apartments opposite became concerned and called the police who called the park staff to reconcile the young with their parents.

There are several large carp, or koi, in the pond.  She pointed out the lovely old trees with their beautiful spreading branches and explained that the park was built before this area was even part of Paris. (Not technically correct. In 1860, Napoleon III annexed the district of Batignolles to Paris. In 1862, Jean-Charles Alphand designed and created the Square des Batignolles. Alphand was the engineer for most of the parks built at this time, including the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, Parc Montsouris, and others.)
A flotilla of geese goes past
At the Pont Cardinet end of the park several groups of older men were playing petanque while a few others were playing cards around a park bench.
This link gives details of the various trees to be found here.

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