Inside Out: Pantin

pretavoyager-insideoutpantin-8Today’s post may look a bit familiar. Recently I posted about French street artist JR’s community Inside Out Project (made possible thanks to the TED prize he won) in Times Square. The project is in the process of taking over the world, attempting to get every country involved (there are currently vans in DC and Oakland, and you can follow their progress on Instagram; or through JR’s account – he’s one of my favorite storytellers). But this edition of the project is a little closer to home for me – in Pantin, one of the suburbs of Paris. As Paris enjoys the beautiful weather, it’s harder to find secret spaces not over-run by crowds. When I saw that Inside Out was taking place in Pantin I had trouble recruiting any French friends, but thankfully expats tend to be more adventurous, and I convinced my friend André to join. For me it was such a refreshing change from the hustle of Paris, and the industrial feel as you entered the suburb reminded me of Baltimore, my home before Paris. I’m sure the beautiful weather helped me enjoy the jaunt more than a gloomy day, but as another runner friend pointed out, the portraits even make his long runs more interesting. Overall there are 300 portraits that line the upper portion of the canal and you can’t help but smile as you spot them and look closely. We chose to walk it, not realizing how much ground we covered until we stopped for a popsicle break. We took the canal boat back to Paris,  which is part of Festival de l’Ourcq, celebrating the canal area. The 2€ was definitely worth the ride back and experiencing it in another way (it only runs on weekend, and is 1€ on Saturdays).  Below are some of my favorite snapshots, not necessarily in the order they appear in reality. For that you’ll have to go visit yourself. The pasted faces will be up until late September. pretavoyager-insideoutpantin-5

pretavoyager-insideoutpantin-19If you continue north on the canal you’ll head to Bobigny. pretavoyager-insideoutpantin-13

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pretavoyager-insideoutpantin-3There is a bridge at the end of Parc de la Villette that divides Paris from Patin, a neighboring suburb. It is much quieter on the other side. The industrial feel reminded me of Baltimore. pretavoyager-insideoutpantin-10

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pretavoyager-insideoutpantin-9pretavoyager-insideoutpantin-21Canal boats run between Paris-Bobigny on weekends for 1€ on Saturdays, and 2€ on Sundays. We got on near the graffiti building – the boat was already quite full, but there was space. Back at the base of the canal (Stalingrad/Jaures) there was quite a line forming to get on. En route you pass through the contemporary Parc de la Villette [pictured here].pretavoyager-insideoutpantin-1Back in Paris, you can find more portraits. La Rotonde also has created a nice “garden” terrace to enjoy the nice weather near Salingrad/Jaures.

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