31 March 2012

Wednesday 4 April at Cormeilles and La Frette

Paul Louchet, the Seine at La Frette

This week Mary Lynne will lead us on a17.5km hike in the Val-d’Oise, along the Seine and in the woods and parks above Cormeilles-en- Parisis and La Frette sur Seine. (altitude difference 140 m., IGN map 2313 OT).
With the advent of the railroad in the 19th century, artists came out to La Frette and Herblay to set up their easels. The town of La Frette has posted reproductions of their paintings in various places in the town. Bourgeois families came here to build country homes; we will see a mix of architectural styles from Art Nouveau to modern. 
Our picturesque walk will begin on a path overlooking the river and will gradually descend to the quai which we will follow for a few km before climbing up to the 12th century church of St. Martin in Herblay which should be open and is well worth a visit. From there we will head back to Cormeilles where we will have our picnic before ascending the “Montagne”, a wooded hill where we will visit the Fort de Cormeilles-en-Parisis before going on to the Parc Schlumberger.  
Cormeilles is famous for its gigantic open pit gypsum quarry which is not on our itinerary. But you could visit the Musee du Plâtre which is open until 18.00.
Getting to Cormeilles: Gare Saint Lazare, SNCF train TOCA at 9.27, direction Pontoise. Arrival at Cormeilles-en-Parisis, zone 4, at 9.45. At Saint Lazare, meet at the end of the quai to board the last car going out. At Cormeilles we will exit on the side of the parking lot, rue de Nancy.  There will be the possibility of leaving the walk at Herblay at about noon and again at La Frette at about 13.00. We will pass both of these stations before our lunch break.
Be forewarned: There is no discreet place for a technical stop for the first two hours! Since we will stop for lunch rather late, not before 13.15, we will have a 5-minute snack break beside the Seine.
Our return will be from Cormeilles where there are frequent trains for Saint Lazare. 16.05, 21, 31, 39, 49.
Here are a few websites to give you a taste of what we will see on our visit.
Please bring a picnic lunch, plenty of water, sunglasses, sun and rain protection.
Hope to see you Wednesday with the sun!
Mary Lynne
01 47 41 98 20     06 70 88 18 59     mlfich@yahoo.com

26 March 2012

Wednesday 28 March in the Chevreuse

The parish church at Gometz le Châtel
Dear Hikers,

There is a second offering this week. This one will be a 10 - 15 km walk along an old, and historic, railroad right-of-way with two options to leave early. It will be led by Bob. Here is his info.

This walk takes us from the village of Bures sur Yvette (RER 'B') up and along the old railroad bed and across the 1913 Viaduct D'Angoulême that once linked Paris with Chartres, but was later used by the Germans to transport troops and supplies. We visit the charming village of Gometz le Châtel (this alone is worth the 'price' of the walk) then descend through the hamlet of Le Bigarreaux, through the forêt of Gif sur Yvette, to the River Yvette and the RER.

The walk has an uphill start to a lovely lake.  It is a short climb and the only fairly steep uphill.  The railroad bed itself is most gradual: you will not be aware that you are climbing.

For walkers who desire a shorter day, after lunch you can return to Paris from La Hacquiniere (RER 'B') - 10 km.  Another, later option is to return from Gif sur Yvette (12 km; RER 'B').  The complete walk will include a final stroll along the lovely River Yvette to Bures, where we began (14-15 km).

Meetup Times and Place

CHATELET - LES HALLES, RER 'B', DIRECTION 'ST. REMY', at 9:10 for the train at 9:26, at the FRONT OF THE PLATFORM - NOTE, THE FRONT OF THE PLATFORM. The train will arrive in Bures sur Yvette, zone 5, at 10:03 . If you purchase a round-trip for GIF SUR YVETTE (the furthest point from Paris) you should be fine regardless of where you elect to return from.

The weather is forecast as sunny and warm.  There are no problems with mud.   Bring a picnic lunch and an appreciation that American humor is not always, or easily, understood.  Even by other Americans.
Bob Levy
The day of the walk: 06-43-45-58-33


Hannelore Bahrdt has kindly sent these two pictures from the walk.

25 March 2012

Wednesday 28 March along the Seine

Hello Hikers,

Spring is here and I suggest a walk along the Seine next Wednesday 28 March.

We start from the RER C station "Javel" in the 15th at the pont de Mirabeau and close to the Metro station "Javel  André Citroën ". At 9.45 I will be in the station at the ticket booth waiting for you. At 10.00 we will leave, direction Parc André Citroën.

After a 3 to 4 hour walk, we will arrive in Boulogne-Billancourt at the Metro line 10 terminus "Boulogne - Pont de St. Cloud".

As always, have appropriate clothes, good walking shoes, water to drink and some food for the picnic.

I look forward to seeing happy old and new walking friends!
Best wishes,


17 March 2012

Wednesday 21 March at Dourdan

On Wednesday March 21, Bob Levy will lead a hike which both begins, and includes a lunch break, in the town of Dourdan. The hike will end in Sermaise for those who do the entire hike. A couple of shorter alternatives are explained below.

The walk, approximately 15 km, will be in three parts:

1. Beginning in Dourdan we will walk west through the Foret de Dourdan, looping back to the starting point at Dourdan.  A picturesque start along an ancient canal and its tow-path, rolling hills (not steep), a lovely rest spot with picnic tables (A SNACK BREAK, THIS IS NOT THE LUNCH STOP), the twin villages Mesme ('Saint' and 'Petit'), a fine walk atop the escarpment west of Dourdan, ending with that same canal tow-path, now in the reverse direction.  This will require approximately 3 hours at a good pace.

2. Lunch in the village of Dourdan.  For those who are interested, a tour of its famous Château (fee charged) —
— and a walk around its perimeter.  Walkers desiring a shorter day can elect to take the RER C returning to Paris from this village.  Trains run every 30 minutes at :08 and :38 after the hour.  Note that there is an even shorter option: the RER 'C' from Dourdan La Forêt (passed on the hike).

3. For those who want a longer walk, we continue east to the village of Sermaise.  This part of the walk gradually rises to views over the valley from higher ground, through the village Marchais, before descending to the RER at Sermaise; trains at :12 and :42 after the hour.  The distance of this piece is 5 - 6 kms.

The train from Paris Biblioteque Mitterand to Dourdan has a travel time of fifty-five minures.


Gare BIBLIOTEQUE F. MITTERAND, RER C, direction Dourdan La Forêt, REAR of platform.  Meet at 8.35 AM for the train at 8.50.  This early departure will insure us lunch by 1.00 PM in Dourdan. We will get off the train at the stop "Dourdan".

A zone 5 MOBILIS ticket is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  It is likely to be less expensive than a roundtrip and will allow you to return from any station you choose.

The pathways are dry.  Many are paved.  Still, good walking shoes/boots/rain gear are a must.  As is a picnic lunch.  And of course, a willingness, a readiness, to put up with Bob's sense of humor.

(One Final Option.  For those who wish to 'sleep in' / sleep late, there is always the option to meet the group at Dourdan (at the Château and its barricades) for lunch at 1.00 PM and then walk the second part to Sermaise).

See you on Wednesday!

11 March 2012

Wednesday 15 March the Choice is Yours

This week you will have the choice between two walks. One is shorter and closer to Paris. The longer one is out in the country.
Here is the first proposal, the shorter walk. 

Next Wednesday we will have a 9km walk, led by Dominique Raveau along the Canal de l'Ourcq. It's the continuation of our Canal Saint Martin and Bassin de la Villette stroll. With many industrial and commercial activities it's not the nicest part of the Canal trail, nevertheless it's a very agreeable one. (On a subsequent walk we will continue along the canal as it heads out into the country.)  

We will pass near Les Grands Moulins de Pantin, emblematic of the 19th century industrial heritage, then along the banks to the Parc de la Bergère in Bobigny where we will have a picnic. We could finish with a visit to the nice local church in Bondy.

Meeting point: 10.30 Fontaine aux Lions, metro line 5 exit Porte de Pantin, Paris

Return: 14.27 (or before) Gare de Bondy, RER E, a train every 15 min. Zones 3
RER E, direction Haussmann Saint Lazare, correspondence with RER B Gare du Nord
Looking forward to a sunny Wednesday!
01 47 02 90 48 ; 06 33 23 07 31

And now for the longer one, with bailout point, to be led by Stuart Ellis.
This week's walk will take us first around L'Isle Adam and then from Parmain to Valmondois. Approximately 16km.
Part 1 - Circuit of L'Isle Adam (8km):

From L'Isle Adam Parmain train station we walk through the town to the Chinese Pavilion (currently under restoration) and its park. We then continue into the Bois de Cassan and head north towards the river Oise where we follow a path alongside the river back to the town. 

The plan is to lunch by the river at an écluse (seating and tables available). Walking conditions are flat/easy and with little/no mud! 

Those wanting to return to Paris (Gare du Nord) after lunch can take the train at L'Isle Adam Parmain :
13.33 change at Valmondois
14.22 direct
14.33 change at Valmondois
Part 2 - Parmain to Valmondois (8km):

From L'Isle Adam Parmain RER we climb up the escarpment to the plateau behind the town. This is the only climb of the entire walk but well worth it for the views over the Oise valley! There is a short open stretch along the plateau and then we enter a forest and descend to the pretty village of Verville. Here we pick up the path of the old Marines to Valmondois railway which has been made into a beautiful pathway for walkers. 

It follows the Sausseron river down to Valmondois. The natural beauty of this area has attracted many writers, painters and poets (Corot, Daubigny, Vlaminck, Duhamel, Vildrac...) and the pathway takes us past the Villa Daumier. We end the walk at Valmondois train station where there is a Musée du Chemin de Fer created in the 1970's by enthusiasts keen to preserve some of the heritage of the old railway line. 

The plan is to catch the 16.24 train which arrives at the gare du Nord at 17.15 (direct trains every 30 mins). Walking conditions: 1 short hill then flat and downhill; little/no mud.
Getting there:  We will take the 09.56 train POVA (train de banlieue) from Paris gare du Nord (direction Persan Beaumont) arriving at L'Isle Adam Parmain at 10.51. Meet at the end of the quai to board the last car going out.
As always we hope that the weather will be fine but please come suitably prepared + lunch + water + rain gear, etc.
Best Regards,
mobile: 06 19 85 25 56 

04 March 2012

Wednesday 7 March, St Denis and La Courneuve

A royal tomb at Saint Denis

Parc de La Courneuve Georges Valbon and the Basilica of Saint Denis

This week's walk, about 12/13km led by Mary Lynne, will combine nature and culture in the department of the Seine St Denis (93). We will start and end at the Basilica of Saint Denis. From the basilica we will walk to the park of La Courneuve, the biggest artificial park in the Paris region, where we will have our picnic lunch.
From there we will take the tram, T1, back to Saint Denis in time for those who wish to visit the famous basilica, one of the first Gothic churches of France, where 46 French kings, 32 queens, 63 princes and princesses are buried. Admission: 7.50€ individual, 4.50€ and 6.00€ for groups of 20 or more.
> Meeting place: We will meet in front of the Basilica at 10:00.
> Transportation:  metro line 13, stop Basilica Saint Denis. Line 13 branches at the station La Fourche. Be sure that you take the line headed to Saint Denis Université.  The basilica is just a few steps from the metro exit, but if you aren’t sure how to find it, just wait at the metro exit.
> Bring the usual picnic lunch and rain gear.
> We can return to Paris from Saint Denis on metro line 13. Those who choose not to visit the basilica can visit other sites in the town or even walk back to Paris via the Porte de la Villette and along the Canal Saint Denis, approximately 6.5km.
If you want to be contacted in the unlikely case that we might have to cancel the walk, you can reach me at
06 70 88 18 59   01 47 41 98 20   mlfich@yahoo.com
See you on Wednesday!
N.B. A bit of trivia: The hills in the park were made with earth and rubble excavated during the construction of the A1 autoroute. The enormous quantity of rocks, earth and other filling material used would have filled a freight train of 250,000 cars!!  225,000 trees were planted, as well as a remarkable dahlia garden which you can see if you return in the summer or early fall.