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Travel: Paris, National Library & back to Saint Martin Canal -Nov 5/2019

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

Place : Paris - National Library and back to Saint Martin Canal

Date: Tuesday- Nov 5 /2019

Monday is usually a day that many tourist attractions are closed, so utilizing the day for free flow wandering, and shopping , between Palais Royal, Saint Honre and around the Opera, was the best usage of my time that day. However, that experienced material is not made up of much worthy nor interesting elements to report on, thus I skipped the Nov 4th log.

Unless... you are chocoholics (like I am) and would get excited by the tempting Lindt Chocolate Boutique (11 bis Rue Scribe) right across from the Garneir Opera, at which you can also drink most divine "Chocolate Chaud" - Hot Chocolate


For other Chocolate in Paris


On Tuesday the weather finally, brightened up and promised more interesting and comfortable outdoor wondering, so we headed toward the "Bibliothèque François Mitterrand".

The imposing National Library complex is situated at the 13th district, which has become a major cultural center, and is dominated by four majestic glass towers of the library.

The plan after, was to cross the new wooden wavy

"Simon de Beauvious" foot-bridge which spans over the river and links this humongous Library complex with the Bercy area on the other Right side of the seine.

District 13th -treizième - Quartier Asiatique


Situated on the Seine's left bank in the southeast, the district is home to Paris main growing Asian community. During the late 1970s the first wave of Vietnamese refugees from the Vietnam War settled in the district, and later an influx of additional Asian immigrants - ethnic Chinese from Vietnam, Laotians and Cambodians, continued arriving, and establishing an ethnic commercial district and community institutions.

The formerly industrial riverside strip of railway, yards and warehouses, has transformed since the 1990, making the Rive Gauche- the second large-scale urbanism project inside the city of Paris. The area is dominated by many high-rise apartment buildings, It houses the now imposing complex Bibliothèque François Mitterrand - and also stylish business and cultural/art center.

Once we got off, a short bus ride, the back of a small quint neo-gothic "Igles Saint Jeanne d'Arc" which dates back to the 1911

came into our view frame.

Walking toward the Seine through rue de Pathy, the area's businesses and food scenery have changed, with many stores and restaurants offering exotic Asian merchandise, and for much more affordable prices then that of the more upscale areas.


In addition to the area being colorfully decorated with street's artistic graffiti,

it was swarmed also by a united nation internationally colorful young student crowd, either frequenting the various libraries or the "Inalco Bulac Institute National des Langues et Civilastion" - a University of Languages and Civilizations, dated back to 1795 where languages from Central Europe to Africa and from Asia to America via Oceania are being taught.


Bibliothèque National François Mitterrand - BnF cultural complex - Quai François Mauriac

The majestic Bibliothèque- library homes part of the collections of the historic Bibliothèque Nationale (national library, on rue Richelieu)

Consisting of two libraries, one is for the general public, and one for researchers, the complex also offers exhibitions and cultural programs, as well as movie theaters.


Designed by the French architect Dominique Perrault, The 4 glass towers at each corner of the humongous rectangular concrete-slabs open empty plaza, are aesthetically sleek and minimalist, referencing the shape of open books.


A natural wooded sunken green garden occupies the exterior space in the middle of the complex, adding the only variety of color, to the grey uniformed plaza.

The construction of the BnF was followed by the development of a new Parisian neighbourhood around it, on both sides.

Passerelle Simon de Beauvior Footbridge


This 37th beautiful 304m long bridge, constructed across the Seine and links the new Library of the 13th district, with Bercy complex at the 12th district, was a result of an architectural design competition.

It has five crossings pass over the river without supports in water and is solely for pedestrians and cyclists .

Made of steel and wood, the span was constructed in 2006 by the Eiffel company, and was hoisted in place in 2 hours around 3:00am in the morning.

Incidentally my friend Marcia sent me the link to this NYT piece on "Paris Bridges" on the same day we walked across the featured bridge.

The French uses all their great stamina, creative talents, and artistic finesse on fantastic urban planing, and constriction of amazing royal & public buildings, bridges and towers. Yet, strangely, are left with no power nor enough motivation, to defend themselves, when confronted on the battlefields....


The views of the Seine from both sides of the bridge are stunning,

revealing few of the other spanning bridges across the river, as well as the passing trains a top of them, and the navigating barges in the river below.

Joséphine Baker Swimming Pool, Quai François Mauriac,


This swimming pool which floats on the Seine, to be seen on the left side of the bridge, when facing toward Bercy, is high-tech and ecologically-friendly, with all modern comforts and facilities including main pool and a 50 m² paddling pool for children. There are also solariums, saunas, a hammam, a Jacuzzi, and a fitness and weights room.

Floating baths were already fashionable in the 18thc and there were once several of them on the Seine.

More on the Rive Gauche


It is heartwarming to learn that more monuments are being now much more named after, and dedicated to accomplished women.


Across the bridge, on the Right bank of the Seine, where the footbridge touches down on the quayside promenades, the "children of the world" by the sculptor Rachid Khimoune (I wrote about first time on Oct 27) had greeted us, again upon arrival.

On our way to the Saint Martin canal, we couldn't resist not taking a peek at the majestic "Train Blue" restaurant at Gare Lyon, so we stop there, before we continued the bus ride, to Place de la Republic.

The interior of the "Train Blue" restaurant is indeed stunning so are the prices

This time we returned to the Canal, not as boat riders, but as street's spectators. 5 minutes walk from Place de la Republic, leads to where the the Saint Martin Canal stretches between Quai de Valmy and Quai de Jemmapes, streets, and where the Canal's double locks and the passing boats, raised by flood water, can be seen .

Right from the pedestrian arched bridge above, by hotel de Nord.

Though being a spectator was a much shorter experience, in comparison to the 2.5 hours boat ride from Nov 2nd, it was as enjoyable observing others riding the boats, waving to us, and watching these old canal locks open and close, being flooded with the gushing water which elevated the boats, so they continue with their navigation upward toward the d'orque basi

To be continued...