notes from an urban hibernation

Paris : Simon Cutts & Erica Van Horn

18.Porte d’Arcueil


I don’t think that the Porte d’Arcueil can be counted in an official listing, but I include it as we had done it already, before this stay, sometime in the mid-nineties.It may well be an unconscious forerunner of the Porte Walks, and certainly fulfilled all of their promise, even in its reverse trajectory.So I take Erica’s text for this entry as already set, from the small book Nearing Arcueil done by Sixtus Editions in Limoges in 2002: SC

It was a winter day in Paris.We decided to walk south through the city and into the suburbs. Where we were going wasn’t as important as just being out in the cold and stopping here and there for coffee. The route, as we walked became the journey. I was never sure if Simon had planned it all along, or if it just evolved out of the conversation of walking.So, probably when we set out that day from the Marais to walk through Paris, he knew that we were heading for Arcueil and he knew exactly what route he would take.He knew that Erik Satie had walked into Paris from Arcueil to play the piano at Le Chat Noir. He knew that Satie had walked to the club in Montmatre most nights to earn money. He knew too that he walked home most nights after work.
As we approached Arcueil, just beyond the Péripherique, we talked a lot about Erik Satie and his activities. I didn’t know as much about Satie as Simon did, so this informative kind of conversation made for pleasant walking.When we reached the first house in Arcueil, we admired its quirky position on an oblique corner. The two streets that straddled the house were on different levels so that one street was on the ground floor and one was on the first floor. It was not a beautiful house, but its awkwardness made it funny. And of course it was Satie’s house. Brancusi’s famous photograph of the stone stairs was taken there.


In our excitement, we took an entire roll of film and then walked back to Paris. It wasn’t until many months later that we learned we had found the wrong house. It was not Erik Satie’s house, but these were the photographs and this is the route on the map.



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This entry was posted on February 14, 2014 by .
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