Monday, 15 February 2010

Place de Clichy

Place de Clichy is a place of lasting fascination to map fanatics as one of the few locations in Paris where four arrondissements meet at a single point (8th, 9th, 17th, and 18th). As a result it contrives to be both everywhere and nowhere in particular. There’s no public amenity space or planting. An enormous volume of Parisian traffic circulates around the grandiose statuary at its centre – the bronze figure of Napoleonic Marshall de Moncey immortalised in the act of slaughtering the enemies of France towers over passing vehicles from a height of 14 metres.

The gargantuan grinning features of the cherubic but slightly sinister Bébé Cadum beam a message of hope to all Parisians with anxieties about personal hygiene. The avenue of trees draws us along boulevard des Batignolles and a 30 minute walk via Parc Monceau, with a slight left at Place des Ternes will bring us to Place de l’Étoile. Métro line 2 follows the same route, a few metres underground. To the left is rue d’Amsterdam that leads directly to the Quartier de l’Europe and Gare St-Lazare. This corner of the city has escaped the attention of developers and is physically little changed since the postcard was produced almost a century ago as the recent photographs confirm.

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