It is a universal fact that the french love their dogs, however it is not a universal fact whether they enjoy or are good at, picking up their dog’s poop.
Despite a marketing campaign sponsored by the city of Paris, evidence shows it hasn’t quite caught on and picking up dog poop in Paris, maybe isn’t quite fashionable…yet.
I am jealous of the French for many reasons, one is their ability to have their best mates, accompany them as they go about their daily routine. Whether it be taking the train, shopping, visiting markets or dining with them in cafes.
Perhaps I am weird but I also have a penchant for cemeteries.
I have explored a few cemeteries in Paris; the largest and probably the most famous cemetery in Paris, Pere Lachaise. Wandered around on a bleak winters day until closing at Montparnasse Cemetery and visited one of the three cemeteries in Montmartre.
Last night I decided that I would visit the Paris Pet Cemetery today.
Call it remarkable or coincidence that a few hours after deciding on my plan, a friend contacted me to let me know that sadly, he would be spending his last night by the fire with his long standing friend Billy.
Billy the cat would dine on his favourite menu of turkey and lemon meringue pie, his last supper.
My dog was my friend, my best mate and loyal companion. She was there when I needed protection and she was there when I needed love, unconditionally, of course. My love for her was immense and my grief when she died, palpable.
It has been 5 years since she passed away and yet I still miss her terribly. Perhaps it was a combination of my friend’s sad news and the thought of my plan to visit the pet cemetery that brought on terrible dreams about my long departed dog last night.
Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques, is situated not far outside the periphery of Paris.
A small yet idyllic space on the banks of the Seine, with local living cats, some very over weight, generously feed by local volunteers who keep the grounds.
Apart from what you would expect, graves of dogs and cats, Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques, is also the resting place for a number of horses, birds, rabbits, a pet lamb, royals and dignitaries pets and Kiki the monkey!
Probably the most famous grave is that of Rin Tin Tin, the talented award winning actor, a French German Shepherd.
Rin Tin Tin was rescued as a new born puppy during World War I by an American solider, Lee Duncan.
He saved Rin Tin Tin’s mother and the entire litter, keeping a female, who he called Nanette and Rin Tin Tin the male.
Smuggling the two puppies back to the USA, Rin Tin Tin became a movie star.
Fourteen years later when Rin Tin Tin died, Lee Duncan buried him in the backyard of his home in LA in a bronze casket with a simple timber cross.
Some of the graves are simple, some date back to the early 1800’s and some are as elaborate as you will find in Père Lachaise for humans.
After spending a couple of hours at the Pet Cemetery for Animals, I had no idea what to do next but crossing over the Seine, heading back towards the metro, I could see the skyscrapers of La Défense and it gave me an idea.
I would head there next to take some photos. I was to meet Chicky Babe at the Trocadéro later but I still had some time to spare.
La Défense is the business district of Paris, located a stones throw outside of the periphery.
A very clever concept, placing the modern skyscrapers out of view from the old city. I am certain that Baron Haussmann, who was in charge of Paris’ grand plan of redesigning the city from a medieval muddle to offering impressive, iconic landmarks at the end of each grand boulevard, to ensure beauty and traffic flow, the Paris we know today, would have approved.
Whether he would have approved of the La Grande Arche de la Défense being only mere millimetres out of alignment to the Arc de Triomphe, who knows. The Grand Arche of La Défense was intended to align with and reflect a modern version of Napoleon’s historic Arc de Triomphe, and in line with Baron Haussmann’s grand axis of the city. However the underlying metro and motorways prevented it’s stability and apparently it is out of line by millimetres.
I can’t help but be awestruck by the awesomeness that is the Grande Arche when ascending from the metro.
In a city that has many ancient elaborately detailed architectural beauties, the ultra modern arch, finished by 1989, is quite a sight and was way ahead of it’s time. La Défense is it’s own city within a city, it has a life of it’s own and if you are into modern architecture and although it is not the Paris you know or romanticise about, it is worth a visit if you have time.
With only a few hours to spend with the sunlight moving and shifting, bouncing off the surrounding buildings I was in photo heaven.
The weather has been so mild for my time here this year but the beautiful bright sunny day didn’t mean it wasn’t cold.
The open spaces that make up La Défense, causes the wind to slice through which made my fingers start to go numb and the settings on the camera were becoming harder to navigate, after a quick hot chocolate break and a moment for the fingers to thaw, I was off to the Trocadéro.
Arriving at the Trocadéro, the huge square that offers magnificent views of the Eiffel Tower and about five minutes early for our rendezvous, without realising it, I had timed it perfectly.
The huge crowd who were taking selfies, asking others to photograph them and some performing strange and unusual poses to cement their visit on digital film in front of the iconic structure, cheered.
The Eiffel Tower lit up in all it’s glory with a golden glow against the waning sky.
My rendezvous with Chicky Babe at the Trocadéro was planned with thought, we wanted to visit Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, the Museum of Architecture located next to the Trocadéro and I particularly wanted to visit it on a Thursday night.
Thursday night, is late night openings which offers an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower and its surrounds from within.
Wandering around the huge open spaces exploring some of the history of Paris’ plans and some of her iconic buildings amongst others and wandering through a complete reconstructed apartment, designed by Le Corbusier, all the while taking in the view of the Eiffel Tower glittering on the hour as we toured the warm spaces, void of tourists in the architectural museum was easy to take.