A True Hidden Gem of Paris: La Petite Ceinture

La Petite Ceinture is one of Paris’ best kept secrets and something I stumbled upon on Facebook by mere coincidence. I spent three of my weekends looking for it and didn’t notice that the first time it was right under my nose… La Petite Ceinture (or Small Belt in English) is an abandoned railway that used to surround what was Paris in the 1850’s, being the most important source of transportation at the time. Today, a few parts of La Ceinture are used as inter-city rails, but a large portion of it has been abandoned or is “under construction” and nature has begun to take over the structure. IMG_1283 There are several portions of La Ceinture around Paris, but not all of them are as incredible as the other, which is what I realized when I visited one of the only “Open to the Public” portions of it in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, when I found myself on what looked like a regular and unkept nature trail with no railways on it. I knew I had seen other amazing pictures of it online, so I kept searching. One rainy weekend in Paris I decided to go to the portion of the Ceinture that a friend of mine said he had found in the 14th arrondissement. When I got there, I realized that one of the entrances to the Ceinture was a slippery steep hill that I would most definitely not be able to get down through (especially not a rainy day with booties on), but my boyfriend pointed us towards what looked like an abandoned train station and he said that there must be a better entrance that way… When we got there, it was definitely a much better option, but it was obvious that this portion of the Ceinture was not necessarily “open to the public.” For anyone who decides to come here, I suggest you go with 3 or 4 other people, as you will feel a lot safer*. There are other explorers in the Ceinture, but since there are a lot of dark tunnels and the like, it’s better to be safe than sorry! IMG_1282 Walking into this place feels like you’re in another world. To me it felt like time stopped and I was in this unknown part of Paris – even though I was surrounded by a hustling, bustling city! It was so mesmerizing to think that this railway that you’re standing on was used over 100 years ago…and to see it being taken over by nature is incredible. It is also evident that some pretty talented graffiti artists visited the place, which makes the Ceinture all that more unique… IMG_1543

I think the pictures speak for themselves, so here you go. 🙂

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  À la prochaine mes amis!

*Disclaimer: there are other open portions of the Petite Ceinture that I am still exploring, but the one in the 14th arrondissement is not open to the public, so there may be fines associated with being there if for some reason the police is patrolling the area. This area is supposedly under construction by the RATP of Paris (although no construction is really taking place at the moment). Just FYI!

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L’Anti-Café

I’m currently sitting on a comfortable sofa with a cappuccino in my hand and my laptop on my lap, surrounded by people who are super concentrated, productive, hard-working, and entrepreneurial. I absolutely love it and I’m soaking it all in!

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It’s a Saturday afternoon and yet this café is full of people who want to get their work done, whether it’s school work, a personal project, a plan for their startup, or even holding casual business meetings. These types of people are people who I admire. It feels like home away from home, since this is how I usually feel at my university, Northeastern: a place full of ambition, positive energy, and success (I miss it so much!).

I can’t believe that a place like this actually exists! I had been looking for something like this for a few weeks, and it was always right in my neighborhood – crazy, right?

If you’re looking for a place to get your work done (or to blog, like me!), come to the Anti-Café. Here’s how it works:

  1. You walk in and find a nice, cozy spot. There’s high tables, sofas, and lower tables.
  2. You give your name to the person who’s in the front. They’ll let you know that it’s 4 euros for the first hour you’re there and 3 euros for every subsequent hour. It’s 12 euros for a whole day pass.
  3. You grab some coffee, tea, or orange juice and some snacks like chips, bread, nuts, and pretzels (all included in the price!) – just serve yourself!
  4. Sit down with your laptop and connect to the wi-fi that’s also included in the price. Connect your laptop to a plug, and get working!
  5. If you need to scan or print, go ahead and do it!
  6. …And if you have a business card, make sure you stick it to the cork boards.
  7. When you’re all set, just go to the front, give them your first name, and pay for the amount of hours you’ve been there.
  8. Walk out with a huge smile knowing you’ve been productive on a weekend – what an amazing feeling!

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À la prochaine, mes amis! (’til next time, my friends!)

P.S.: The address is 79 rue de Quincampoix, 75003 Paris. And don’t forget the alternative Starbucks if this is too expensive!