Local Divertissements


I’ve posted frequently (but not yet exhaustively) on the metaphorical
significance of walking on new paths and in new directions: the joy of connecting up hitherto separate routes and making random cross country trails to create new perspectives on the familiar.

I do it all the time in Leeds. But it’s been some while since I broke up my regular morning walking and jogging circuits in Paris.

This morning I was seized by a desire to divert from the usual paths. Many years ago, I used to travel a lot for work. The highlight of any working day in a new city was a run to explore the hinterland of the hotel. In this manner, I experienced the seedy suburbs and more attractive bits of towns as far apart as Basle and Tokyo, Chicago and Brussels. And so this morning, with these memories in mind, I opted to do my current 10k training programme on completely unfamiliar roads.

It was great. I am at the crossroads of a few very varied districts variously described as ‘quartiers authentiques‘ or ‘quartiers mixtes‘ or ‘quartiers ouvriers’ depending on your outlook, but in essence it comes down to an extraordinarily disparate urban landscape. My circuit roamed up through the HLM (public housing) quarters of the 10th arrondissement, over and across the parc des Buttes Chaumont and then down to and along the length of the Canal St Martin.

And I connected up two of my normal circuits: the canal run and the park run.

As I jogged, I reflected on the meaning of the French word for fun, divertissement and how the idea of diverting oneself really is entertainment, particularly if you literally follow new paths, new turnings, new options and in so doing refill the well of creativity and joie de vivre.

It’s all about fresh perspectives. And making every hour and every day count towards a fresh take on life.




One response to Local Divertissements

  1. We took buses across Miami when we travelled there, getting into the not so usual places is so much more a way to find out about the town. Have you walked the covered arcades in Paris? There’s a walk linking them and the fashion show shops and some of the northern boulevards. Really interesting parts of Paris, that included a small red light district, fascinating. I’ll see if I can find the route if you want.


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