Monday 29 December 2014

My Three Favourite Posts of 2014

As has been the case over the last few years, my personal favourites in 2014 are somewhat bizarrely not amongst the top 5 posts of the year. Of course, it is not at all a ruse to add a few more visits to some articles that you might not yet have had the chance to discover…

Although I would have been happy to see these posts in the top 5, in several respects the trio below really do represent what I appreciate most about running this blog; discovering new places, doing some detective work and meeting people. All I wish for in the future is that I continue to find these things.

Here then are my three favourite posts, in no particular order...

The strange journey of Philippe Starck's giant plastic baby

There’s nothing like a good challenge, and the subject of this post really was a good challenge. It started with a Twitter message which was as curious as it was stimulating. Did I know anything about a giant baby that could be found on the roof of a petrol station in the east of Paris? 

I didn't know anything about it, but I was determined to get to the bottom of the whole story.

Finding the baby involved a challenging walk along the Canal de l'Ourcq and through the non-places of the Paris suburbs, and its eventual discovery was as bizarre as expected. To find out how it got to this position, what the connection is to Philippe Starck and why there also may still be a missing twin, you'll have to read the article.

One final thing. This challenge also marked the beginning of a friendship, which naturally places it amongst my favourite missions of the year!

'La Révolution de Paris': walking as a revolutionary act

Although the blog is named Invisible Paris, I like to get outside the city as much as possible – as you can see with all three of my favourite posts! Paris for me does not stop at the périphérique, and neither does the city for the authors of the book featured in this post.

The two creators of the book - and the project, Paul-Hervé Lavessiere and Baptiste Lanaspeze, were determined to bring visibility to the towns surrounding the French capital, and to reunite Paris with its suburbs. The book is the story of their walk, but it is linked to a defined circular route they have created and that they encourage Parisians (and others) to follow.

I was very happy to support the project, and had several interesting discussions with the two men. Although the book is only available in French, the maps are available on line, and Baptiste has also recently worked on something similar in New York.

Elisabethville: a Belgian queen, an abandoned beach resort and experimental architecture

This post was the result of the kind of adventure I really enjoy. It started with a couple of 1960s postcards I’d found at a fair, but ended with links to Belgium, a forgotten beach resort and houses on stilts.

I picked up the postcards purely for their banality and for the fact that I knew nothing about the town they were promoting. One (wet) Sunday morning I hopped on a bike and headed out to see what I could find in the town, with no clear idea in mind of what I was going to do.

Keeping such an open mind though is important for me, as it enables me to develop my own personal sensation of a place and what characterises it. With Elisabethville I was spoiled as it contains several interesting features and a nice environment for cycling. I'd recommend a visit to anyone interested in suburban oddities!

For information, the next 'Cartexpo' postcard fair will be held at the Espace Champerret on January 9-10. I'll be there!

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