If I were a traveler…

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If I were a traveler who’d been to Paris say two or three times before and it were a sunny day, any season, and I felt like taking a walk in a neighborhood where I’d never been, just an old-fashion neighborhood circumscribed by boulevards and avenues and train tracks, a neighborhood without much traffic or hubbub, where I could spend a few hours following my nose…

Batignolles Quarter, Paris, 17th arr. GLK
Batignolles Quarter, Paris, 17th arr. GLK

and allowing myself to be surprised by details without feeling that I had to learn or appreciate or buy anything in particular,…

Batignolles Quarter, Paris, 17th arr. GLK
Batignolles Quarter, Paris, 17th arr. GLK

a real neighborhood, with a locksmith-shoemaker…

Batignolles Quarter, Paris, 17th arr. GLK
Batignolles Quarter, Paris, 17th arr. GLK

and a restorer of old plumbing…

Batignolles Quarter, Paris, 17th arr. GLK
Batignolles Quarter, Paris, 17th arr. GLK

and shops that don’t scream “tourists, deposit your tourist money!,”…

Batignolles Quarter, Paris, 17th arr. GLK
Batignolles Quarter, Paris, 17th arr. GLK

the kind of neighborhood where I’d go without lunch plans and instead check menus and decor as I walked around before settling on, say, a good Indian restaurant (Maharaja), or a bistro/wine bar (Oh Bigre), or something contemporary (La Family),…

Restaurants, Batignolles Quarter, Paris, 17th arr. GLK
Restaurants, Batignolles Quarter, Paris, 17th arr. GLK

or perhaps be tempted by the food shops to create a picnic…

Batignolles Quarter, Paris, 17th arr. GLK
Batignolles Quarter, Paris, 17th arr. GLK

and head past the little church (Sainte Marie des Batignolles) that I’d feel no tourist obligation to visit…

Saint Marie des Batignolles. GLK
Sainte Marie des Batignolles. GLK

to the neighborhood park, where I might stroll the paths of the city’s most charming English-style garden…

Square des Batignolles. GLK
Square des Batignolles. GLK

then sit on a bench enjoying my picnic while observing various species of ducks and geese at play or at sleep and contemplating an ominous, pigeon-dropped statue of turkey vultures (or eagles?)…

Birds in the Square des Batignolles. GLK
Birds in the Square des Batignolles. GLK

before leaving the park to sit in a café, where I’d think, “Now this looks like a nice quarter to live in, how come I’ve never read about it?,”…

Paris café

then I’d probably take the metro to Rome or Place de Clichy…

Paris Metro Rome
Metro Rome

and visit the Batignolles quarter in the 17th arrondissement.

(c) 2010, Gary Lee Kraut

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