The Petite Ceinture

May 26, 2017

Unknown to most visitors to Paris, the “little belt railway” (in French: the Chemin de fer de Petite Ceinture) was once a 19-mile circular railway serving the city’s main terminus stations. Built more than 150 years ago, today the abandoned railway is an urban phenomenon lost in time.  

 

 

Built in stages from 1851 onwards, the steam pulled passenger trains originally served 29 stations from 1862 until the early 1930’s when it was forced into decline by the development of the Paris Metro. By 1934, passenger trains had disappeared altogether but parts of the railway survived until 1993 for freight traffic.

 

 

 

Today  

 

With several sections having been completely abandoned since 1934, the railway is surprisingly still largely intact. The 19 remaining stations, tracks and bridges have survived urban developments and can easily be considered as part of Paris’ lost history.

 

The line is officially off limits to the public, but this hasn’t stopped people exploring it (including myself). Those that do venture onto the tracks will find stations covered in colourful and artistic graffiti and whole track sections reclaimed by nature creating a perfect sea of wild flowers in the heart of Paris.

 

How to get there?

 

To access the East section of the railway, walk along Villa du Bel air (nearest metro station: Picpus – Line 6) and look for a gate opening onto the tracks. From here, you can walk northwards, passing La Gare Avenue de Vincennes and La Gare Rue d’Avron before reaching La Gare de Charrone. From here you can exit back onto Rue Florian (nearest metro station: Alexandre Durmas – Line 2).

 

Photo Journal

 

Graffiti

 

Graffiti

 

Gare Cours de Vincennes 

 

Gare Rue d'Avron 

 

Gare Rue d'Avron

 

Gare Rue d'Avron

 

Gare Rue d'Avron

 

Gare Rue d'Avron

 

Gare Charonne

 

Gare Charonne

 

Gare Charonne

 

 

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