Île aux Cygnes
Beaugrenelle is truly the ugliest site in Paris. I hated having a view of fake Manahttan.
I wanted to bring this up because I saw an article about this in some other Paris blog that Google Discovery barfed up and I couldn’t stop laughing. It was waxing poetic on it and I spent most of it rolling my eyes. "The Peaceful island of Paris" snort.
People may not realize this but Paris is basically an oval split in half by the Seine. And in the Seine there are a few islands, the most famous being Cite and Saint Louis. But those are not all of Paris’ islands. It wasn’t until I was forced to venture more to the hell that is the 16th that I realized there is one in between the 15th and the 16th. This island is Ile aux Cygnes.
Île aux Cygnes is a man made island. For Paris it’s pretty new (1827). It is home to France’s Statue of Liberty and has a walking path from north to south.
Is it anything special? Not particularly. It has promise. It should be a nice place, a quiet little oasis in between two of the crappiest districts, but it isn't.
I guess if you’ve done everything else, or you pass by it, you might as well take a stroll. But it is by no means beautiful (the grass is brown and dry as well. It’s mostly scrub), nor is it a must see site. In fact despite living near there and passing by it many, many times I’ve only visited it once. I used to want to incorporate it into my daily walks but didn’t. Why you might be asking? Well my ex boyfriend Christian and I decided to take a stroll there one day. For whatever reason we were walking to Beaugrenelle and why not take the scenic route?
Bad idea. The number of rats on that island is nothing close to insane. The rats must out number people 100:1. And they are bold as all hell. We saw them walking on homeless people napping on benches, we saw them jumping on people who were casually standing around. One stared us down as we walked towards it with no other way to go because once you’re on that island you’re trapped. They had no fear of man, and why should they? They owned that island. Christian and I christened it “Rat Island”.
Maybe the city has cleaned it up, maybe it’s still Rat Island, I have no desire to check. I have no need to go to that part of Paris. Just keep that in mind the next time you’re at the Last Tango bridge and think to yourself ‘that looks interesting’.