notes from an urban hibernation

Paris : Simon Cutts & Erica Van Horn

Porte Zéro

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The last weekend came in wet and windy, making the prospect of a last Porte walk seem unlikely.It was perhaps time to call it a halt for this visit. We had done about half of them, 20 of the listed 39, and now those remaining were clustered in the west, and thereby longer.Several times we had passed Point Zéro laid in front of Notre Dame, the zero point of the routes of France from which all distance is measured, and even to our Portes. Its place in the ground reminded me of the Paris Meridian running through the Observatoire, a rival to that of Greenwich, and I remembered we had not followed the line charted between the North and South limits of the city, laid out in bronze plaques by the artist Jan Dibbets as a monument to the mathematician and astronomer Francois Arago. We had meant to walk along it, looking for his plaques, and we even printed out the list of the 135 medalions and their positions.But we had our own structures, and had used them over the period of our stay. They became almost a metaphor for these notes, a lattice for their occurrence. I had an unspoken notion at the back of my mind that 1 walk = 2 blogs, but it never quite worked out like that.
So to thank the mere incidentals of our stay. I wish that I had bought and written about the weighted plumb-line and its winding stick seen in a junk shop in the Rue Vaugirard, But now it is too late. To the rubber wheels, their slight scorch and its smell that is the Metro, taking us to the outer edges, our Portes. To the packets of madeleines in almost every vending machine. SC

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This entry was posted on February 22, 2014 by .
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