The blog has been pottering around narrow, stone paved streets recently, focussing on interesting, old doors and historic squares.  I think it’s time for a change of perspective.

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One of the best places for a panoramic view of Paris is the belvedere in Parc de Belleville, a ten minute, uphill bike ride from the street in the last post.  Looking out over the steeply terraced park, you can pick out all the main Paris landmarks – the Eiffel tower, Notre Dame, the Montparnasse tower, La Défense – but you’ll have to imagine those.  The distant view was hazy this morning, despite the glorious sunshine.  The nearer view of the park was beautiful, with layers of autumn colour stepping down the hillside.

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The belvedere itself offers much to delight the eye.  When the park was opened, in 1988, this was a stark, white structure.  Elegant maybe, but a little cold and not so good when grubby and tagged.  Now it’s quirky and colourful, brought to life by community mosaics and street art.

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The mosaic trees and ceramic orientation table were the product of community arts workshops, sponsored by the town hall of the 20th arrondissement.  I don’t know whether the artwork on the pillars was commissioned or just happened.   The council have certainly embraced the idea of the belvedere as a focal point for local artists; an art fair is now held there each year.

The people on the pillars are the work of Julien Malland, otherwise known as Seth,  a Paris born illustrator and graphic designer who has worked with urban artists in many different countries.   Here each character appears seated thoughtfully on one face of a pillar and climbing, floating or levitating on the next, with their head in the clouds.  Escape into daydreams, or a clearer view?

P.S.  When I visited this week the water cascades, that run from top to bottom of the park, had already been drained for the winter.  I’ve just discovered a lovely recording of the sound of the cascades on Soundlandscape’s Blog.  Click here for the sounds of summer!