Paris : Simon Cutts & Erica Van Horn
8 February Sunday
We walked from rue de Bretagne. The air was cold and crisp and the sky was blue. Sometimes the sun was out but mostly it was a bit covered by cloud. Puddles along the edges of the walking places were covered in ice. There was enough cold that the ice did not melt all day long. There was not enough sun for the ice to melt. We walked up the Canal Saint Martin until it became the Bassin de la Villette. Later, the Bassin de la Villette opened into the Canal de l’Ourcq.
All along the way there were runners. There were lots of people running but most of the people running were not real runners. I think a lot of them were people who just run on a Sunday. There were people who carried themselves along with a good stride and long steps. There were other people who had a shorter stride but who moved with a confident and regular pace. There were many people who slapped their feet down hard on the ground. It was easy to feel how every step might hurt. There were people whose feet stuck out left and right while their bodies were attemptng to go forward. There were all of the people who ran while tightly grasping a bottle of water and there were those with headphones. There were old runners and young runners. There were probably too many runners. There was a lot of tight black clothing. There were quite a lot of bicycles and there were people who were just walking and there were dogs and children. It was never crowded but it was always a city walk.
Over the border into Pantin, there has been a lot of recent building and there has been a lot of repair of the old mills and factories along the canal. The headquarters of Chanel is located there. The Chanel building is located in a completely fenced in area with a landscape of lawn. The lawn is broken by curving stripes of white stones and low uninteresting plants of the sort that do not need much tending. The fence all around the compound is high. We could see through the fence. The trees which grow inside the compound and along the fence have been pruned in such a way that no single branch hangs over onto the canal path. There is a dog inside the compound. There are signs on the fence which announce that the dog and a man make regular circuits of the property. The dog has a small house behind the sort of gate lodge. The gate lodge and the main building are decorated with a sort of metal filigree material which I guess is an attempt to make the whole building look a bit like a Chanel suit. It is not a beautiful idea for a building.
None of the people who work in the complex live nearby. We are told that the people who work in the Chanel building are transported to and from the center of Paris each day in special pink busses. EVH