Public transit is an awesome thing here; well, it's an awesome thing anywhere. Here it's very easy to use. I have many choices for getting around. I always prefer walking, so I can really see the city at my own pace. Sometimes things happen and I have to use public transit, i.e. I'm running so late that walking will only delay me more, the three blisters on my foot hurt more than I can stand, or the rain is coming down so hard we might need an ark to survive.
Today, it was the rain. I bought a sandwich from my favorite boulangerie and pastry from my favorite patisserie and was going to a nearby park to eat. Then, the downpour came and drowned all plans of lunch in the park, and my umbrella was in a great place---in my apartment. I did see a bus stop and ducked under the glass to keep dry. When the bus came, I hopped on. I thought I would wait out the storm riding around on the bus until the rain stopped; it was much warmer than the bus stop.
Well, the storm ended, as the bus stopped at the Saint Martin Canal area. Perfect timing as my lunch was still in my hand. I had been there twice before with friends for drinks and remembered how nice it was. The canals are located just east of Gare de L'est in the 10th arrondissement. Cafes and shops line the quays on both sides of the canal. The area is very eclectic, as my friend called it. I would agree with him. There were nannies ushering kids out of school, long-haired "college students" lounging around the canal in deep discussions, older men sitting and smoking, and others sitting along the canal reading or having a picnic. I added myself to the mix, and had a quiet lunch along the banks. The canal has several iron footbridges along it. After lunch I strolled along the banks and over the footbridges exploring and taking some pictures.
At the southernmost point of the canal is the Square F. LeMaitre. Also a great picnic and people watching spot with benches flanking the edges of the square. Older men were gathered around a table playing cards, others were playing Petanque (the French version of Bocce Ball). There were children all around, and there was even a ping pong table, with a fierce ping pong competition taking place.
(Square F. LeMaitre at the end of the Saint Martin Canal)
Running between the canal and the Gare de L'est is yet another park, Square Villemin. I will have to add both of these to my list, as the entire area is the perfect place to go to enjoy Paris without being in the chaos of a big city. It's also a great place to go to waste away an afternoon.
I'm glad I forgot my umbrella because it got me on the bus. I was reminded to take the bus more--it's a quicker way to see the entire city, and it brings me to places I had forgotten about or that I had never seen (I saw another park, a fountain, and a street with a lot of outdoor cafes, which I had never seen before and I'll need to explore further.) And, if I didn't get on the bus today, you wouldn't get to see how lovely the Saint Martin Canal area is. Here, I've posted a few pictures that I took. If you would like to see more, you can go to here, to my Flickr photos, where I have many more photos of the Saint Martin Canal area and of Paris.