Day in the Country – Champigny sur Marne

‘When I am in the country, I never wish to leave it and when I am in town it is pretty much the same.’   We concur with Mr. Bingley’s sentiments because we have discovered the only thing that gives as much pleasure as a day in Paris is a day in the French countryside.On Sunday we decided to visit the other guinguette that we had heard about — the one that was full when we tried to reserve last Sunday; we visited the guinguette at Villenueve Triage instead. (see the June 27 post on the guinguette).The Isle Martin Pecheur (kingfisher island) Guinguette is perhaps the best known in Paris.  It is on a tiny island in the Marne and reached by a kilometer walk from the Champigny rail station.  They do dances on Saturday nights that start at 11 and run into the wee hours — partygoers take the Paris noctillien bus back home; the noctillien is the all night transport.  Sunday afternoons are like family picnics.There were lots of kids and a play area set up with swings and such. There was a big party of young people that looked like a celebration of an engagement.  It is a relaxed place to while away a pleasant Sunday afternoon.  This guinguette has a large dance floor and during the afternoon an odd band made up of an accordion, drums and a guitar kept the place humming.  An obviously attractive spot for us oldies but goodies. After lunch we decided to take a stroll along the pathway alongside the Marne.  The paths were full of local families enjoying the day.  The river was full of swans and boaters and fishermen.We crossed back over the Marne to head to the train station, but first decided to walk down the other bank for a kilometer or so.  We walked past kingfisher island and saw people from the guinguette enjoying the water’s edge. A short ways past the island there was some sort of fair or carnival.  We could hear someone calling out moves for a circle or line dance; apparently part of the festivities was a chance to learn a new dance; un, deux, trois, GAUCHE; un, deux, trois, DROITE.  And just past the fair was a place where families could rent plastic boats to play on the river.  There were dozens of kids having a grand time.  This group decided to abandon their separate boats and all pile into one. These two boys knew that the point of the whole enterprise was to end up in the drink.  A bit past that, kids were enjoying swimming off a dock.Campigny-sur-Marne  is  a middle class bedroom community for Paris; there are lots of beautiful freestanding houses near the river.  But unlike the US, the French don’t cede the riverbank to private developers; there are beautiful paths and parks all along the river.  So whether people have their own single family home with yard or live in an apartment building like these, they have beautiful parks and gardens and riverwalks within easy reach. This is a country devoted to the sense of a common good that does not determine the ‘highest best use’ of land to be what generates the most Euros per square inch but at least sometimes, what will generate the most pleasure for all.

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2 Responses to Day in the Country – Champigny sur Marne

  1. Kathi Brotemarkle says:

    Hi Janet. I have enjoyed reading your posts on Trip Advisor and your wonderful blog posts. We are going to be in Paris this Late July/early August. I have always wanted to go to a guinguette. I am familiar with the one in Champinay sur Marne from the book, “One Hour From Paris.” but after reading your posts I think we would prefer the one you went to first that you said was more welcoming. Can you possibly send me more info? Kathi Brotemarkle

    • Janet says:

      The first one we went to is also in One Hour from Paris so the details are there. It is also on Sims website. WE liked it better. Be sure to get there at noon (we didn’t realize how time constrained this kind of place was on lunch and were very lucky to get the nice table we did as it was full and stragglers were being seated inside.

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