In the past, this district was a village isolated in the middle of vineyards until 1860 when the city of Paris extended its boundaries by annexing several surrounding communities. Charonne district has truly kept the soul
of a country village even though of course new streets and avenues were created and many of its old houses have been replaced by new buildings.
In his reveries of a solitary walker, Jean-Jacques Rousseau has described it
when it was still a country village:
On Thursday, the twenty-fourth of October, 1776, I walked after dinner through the Boulevards, as far as the rue du Chemin-Vert; from whence I gained the heights of Ménilmontant, and, pasting through
the vineyards and meadows, crossed, as far as Charonne, the lovely manor that separates those two villages; after which, I took a circle, designing to cross the same meadows by another path. While walking through them, I felt that pleasure and interest which
agreeable prospects ever give me, frequently stopping to examine plants which I saw among the grass. I perceived two which are seldom found near Paris, though common enough in this place.
Will it be possible
to find the two plants seen by the philosopher in the Jardin Naturel (Natural Garden) to be visited at the beginning of our stroll ?
hawkweed oxtongue and sickle hare's ear ...
Hence this public garden is protecting near two hundreds of wild plant
species growing in the Paris region.
Then, we will walk up to rue Saint-Blaise, which was the main street of the old village centered around its church and cemetery. We will discover another quiet and bucolic public garden in the middle of old houses,
where a nice rest can be enjoyed under the green shading of a pergola.
We will visit the Hermitage (Pavillon de l'Ermitage), a former small pavilion built in 1727 belonging to a large estate of 200 acres, and today the only structure from the Château
We will end with a place quite emblematic of our walk today, called la Campagne à Paris (Countryside in Paris).
Usually, my walks in Paris are very much centered around the places photographed by Eugene Atget, but for Charonne,
unfortunately I have found very few. Indeed, as the theme is more the country side in Paris, we will start from an undergrowth …