Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Another day, another foe vanquished from my big bad list o’ things to do. I’d been itching to trek around the Périphérique of Paris ever since I first got here. So armed with my trusty Google Maps app and accompanied by Emily, a fellow inmate from Soviet Canuckistan, I set off on a wonderfully sunny Saturday afternoon to conquer the mean streets of Paris.

Map of Mordor and our journey to Mount Doom!

Our route took us just inside the Boulevard Périphérique to make crossing bridges easier and avoid busy highways. We started off around Cité Universitaire heading eastward, keen on quickly making this hike our bitch. Of course, we had to stop approximately five minutes thereafter to check out the vintage market that popped up at Stade Charléty for the weekend; so much cool stuff! Half an hour later, we set off again.

It was curious to see firsthand each arrondissement’s unique character. We encountered all sorts of interesting sculptures and buildings and assorted green spaces. I’d like to say that they were all marvelous and posh, but as we trekked from the 20th into the 19th our surroundings clearly took a turn for the worse; unless you consider trash and garbage bags strewn about to be “art”.  At one point we started to descend below street-level to explore abandoned train tracks and tunnels, but were warned off by some pleasant Roma. So we continued on and soon spied a small shanty town through holes in a fence. Simultaneously fascinating and heartbreaking. Heading into the 18th brought a return to the relatively normal, and things definitely picked up again in the 17th. Scrooge McDuck would feel right at home.

It finally started to get dark as we hit the 16th and more familiar 15th. Hunger was beginning to strike, and priorities being what they are, I made a 15 minute stop in a pâtisserie to pick up some goodies. I suddenly had mad cravings for sushi, and I must admit I nearly quit the path in search of something decent near Porte d’Orléans; however, we’d come too far to quit now. So we pushed on and soon sweet, sweet victory was ours!

The whole circuit took 8 hours, including stopping off at the vintage market, the pâtisserie, and other various mini-excursions off the main track. I had estimated a hike of 6 or 7 hours optimally, so that wasn’t too bad.  I think we probably could have walked another few hours had we not stopped just then, but once we did we totally crashed. My brand new socks had completely worn away at the heels, a result of using winter boots instead of proper hiking boots or my beloved Vibrams, which I avoided due to the possibility of wet weather. As a matter of fact, we experienced clear blue skies, light hail, rain, sunshine, and more hail, before it settled down for the evening and night. The variety of weather really added to the experience.

Taking cover from the hailstorm
Smurfberry Trees

Oh, and I got my sushi reward in the end via a post-hike feast from Sushi Shop. Thankfully you can order and pay online without too much hassle (take note Pizza Hut).  I was actually quite impressed with the speed of delivery and the quality of the product, not having expected much from a chain. I’ll definitely be ordering from them again. Finally, we finished the night in style with Seven Psychopaths. 'Cause you just can't go wrong with The Walken.

Here are a few more snaps:

À la prochaine!

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