Thursday, 3 July 2008

Noisy le Grand

Noisy le Grand is a suburb to Paris about halfway to Disneyland on the RER A. The suburb is 15 km east of Paris' centre and it takes about 20 min on the RER to get out there. The name means walnut groove and the town has traces back to before the Roman age. The town has over 60.000 residents which makes it a bit larger than Randers, Denmark. Of course, since the entire area is one big suburb, you'll barely notice leaving one town for another.

I Mont d'Est, a newer part of Noisy le Grand, is a large mall called "Centre Commercial des Arcades". Here you'll find a broad selection of shops, a big supermarket, several restaurants and a cinema which quite often also have VO (version originale) movies which means that there are French subtitles instead of dubbing.

This is also where you can find some rather unique architecture. "The Theatre" is drawn by the famous Spanish architect Ricard Bofill i Levi and not far from there in another part of Noisy le Grand, Pavè Neuf, you can find "Les Arènes de Picasso" drawn by Manolo Nuñez-Yanowsky. The area has quite a lot of new buildings with offices and great glass façades. And as something new an international school is being built, which according to plan should be completed in 2012.

In the old part of town you'll find the mayors office which is a very typical French mayors office building. The town centre was renovated four years ago and is now beautiful with fountains, a small park like thing, running water, peace and quiet. There are a few old streets with shops where you still get the feeling of stepping into a small countryside town and not be in the middle of a metropolis. The marketplace is of course next to the city hall, and rather atypically there is no church next to the marketplace. Also here you'll find a lot of new buildings, and another mall with cinema is almost completed.

Noisy le Grand is a good suburb to use as base for the exploration of Paris and surrounding areas. It's easy to access, and the hotels are cheaper than you'll find them in Paris itself. There are good restaurants and shopping. And then there's the Marne river boarding the town, which is always worth a visit and stroll especially in the warm summer evenings.

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