I live a block away from the Buttes-Chaumont park in the 19th arrondissement.
I've been walking through the park about 3-4 times a week the past 4 months enroute to the pool. It's a constant source of delight and serenity.
When I read this paragraph in Sunday's New York Times story on Paris by soon departing editor, Steven Erlanger I took umbrage. Deep umbrage.
How come I've never encountered these gangs he refers to in my walks through the park?
Have I just been lucky?
Or has he been supremely unlucky..?
I have seen plenty of people strolling,
No one has come close to running me down on their bike. It's not allowed in the park.
Quite a few things are not allowed at Buttes-Chaumont Parc.
Like walking on the grass in some areas.
But in other areas kids are having a ball.
Sunbathers and picnickers all summer long were having a ball too.
Plenty of readers don't seem threatened by these 'gangs' Erlanger refers to.
This is my favorite place in the Buttes - a hidden grotto. The park is completely man-made (opened April 1, 1867) and the 6th biggest in Paris among some 600 parks.
A wonderful waterfall...
And babbling brook...
It's true I've only walked through about a 1/3 of the Buttes-Chaumont so perhaps I've missed these threatening, warring gangs Erlanger writes of. Or perhaps he's wrong on this point. Such a damning sentence and read by millions of readers makes me want to "get up and go to the window and shout,
If this one sentence can be so wrong what about all the other negative points Erlanger makes about Paris? Sure there is still dog poop on the streets but it's so much cleaner than it was years ago. In the 19th arr. the streets are sluiced down TWO TIMES A DAY - at 7 am and 9 pm at night. I never saw this in New York.
I do agree, after living here just 10 months, Paris is not the romantic haven I previously envisioned. For me it's a family-oriented town. There are so many kids in this town that it changes the tenor of a place, but in such a delightful way. Plus kids under 12 get into most events free here. Thusly creating the future museum-goers and art lovers Erlanger complains of. By the way Erlanger makes no mention of the 36 fabulous pools in Paris. My pool even has a skating rink. If you've been lucky enough to be a guest in Paris for five years, couldn't you leave more graciously without all this whinging?
OK, now I'll go back to painting pastries and get off my soapbox.