Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Boulevard de Port-Royal

Blvd de Port-Royal -- just 2 blocks south of our apartment -- is a scenic road that splits the 5arr from the 13th and 14th arr below it.

Well short of a mile at 1130m, it begins at Blvd St Michel ("Boul Mich" in local parlance) and ends at Avenue des Gobelins. It is beautifully lined (as is the Champs Elysees) with mature London Plane trees.

View Boulevard de Port-Royal in a larger map

It has changed somewhat since this 1877 painting.

While walking along it yesterday, I noticed something odd. Look at the two pictures below -- the first looking west, the second looking east -- I took standing in the median. See anything strange?

In the first picture, note on the right side cars going in both directions. On the left side, you can see the arrows going in each direction on the ground. In the second picture, you can likewise see arrows on the ground and vehicles going in opposite directions on each side of the street.

Each side of the median has two lanes in both directions where you would normally expect the two lanes on each side to be going in the same direction (i.e. 4 lane divided highway). The explanation is that one side is reserved for buses and taxis (i.e. public transportation) and the other side for private vehicles. I suspect that this it typical on other streets in Paris but this is the first I noticed it.

No wonder however the following sign is in the median!

"Look to the left then to the right"

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