Tuesday, 16 August 2011

When Is A Bridge Not (Only) A Bridge?

This is a gloriously grimy counterpoint to another recent photo taken just a hair's flick away (i.e. looking in the other direction), but with an entirely different story to tell.

What I like is that it's just an nth example of a little Paris secret that was there all along, simply waiting for the right person to be wandering in the right company in the right frame of mind to impart and enlighten.

In this case I was with my Paris If You Please group of Paris freaks and enthusiasts, on one of our 'taming the arrondissement' walks (we started in the 20th and have spiralled around to the 16th so far - feel free to join us if you're in town!).

So, I happened to be with another Paris curios afficionado who happened to say to me as we crossed over another bridge just down from this one. She nudged me and said, in a casual, throwaway voice, "Of course, you know the little secret about that bridge, don't you Sab?".

How irritating. "Well, yes, of course I do! " Hah, what a ridiculous question, I tried to suggest through my dismissive, contemptuous body language - come on; give me a real challenge, will you?

The problem was, no, I didn't know the 'little secret' about that bridge - the one we see here. And the secret is staring us right, literally right in the face...

If I were forming a quiz question I'd probably come up with something like "How many Paris transport systems can you see here?" but in this case I'll simply put you all out of your misery. There are three.

The first is the road on top of the metalic structure, errr, that would be a bridge. And then down below, the apparent raison d'être for the bridge, would be a train zooming out from Saint Lazare station. So what's the third transport system then, so, supposedly, obvious in this picture..?

Well, it's literally in the bridge, and it's a Paris metro line, number two to be precise, gaily making its way under a road and over a railway, magically suspended in mid-air and all for the price of a tasse de thé, how about that!

Remember you heard it here first, but I'm darned if I can remember where I heard it first, bruised pride still hurting...

*Actually, it was fellow Paris factoid nerd Nathalie who told me this, and she's preparing our next Paris If You Please quiz night, so come one, come many, for more fun factoids of this type, no doubt... (ignore if you're reading this after 13 September, 2011, but there are plenty more quiz nights throughout the year if you're in town..)

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