Considering the current happenings in our world, one thing I cannot help but do (and do often) is think about all the little things I took for granted like going out in public and having the access and freedom to interact with nature and the outdoors. Le Recyclerie, in Paris, is a place that enabled me to do those two things simultaneously.
We arrived in Paris on the 7th of February. It was the Friday after my birthday, so the excursion already felt much like a celebration. Following the metro, it was our first stop in Paris. It was a gorgeous day and there was not a cloud in the sky. This made our time there extra special as most of the Le Recyclerie is outdoors. Constructed atop abandoned train tracks, the space allows for people to partake in tons of activities, such as building, gardening, and eating. There is a space where members and non-members alike can bring in old things that need fixing and other tools are free to be borrowed. People are constantly reducing, reusing, and recycling. Proceeding through the building we are greeted by an enormous, wall of windows and are able to peak into what exists behind them. We continue up the stairs and through a little door that leads to the rooftop garden. Lush, green, and overlooking Paris, Le Recyclerie has flowers, herbs, and other plants growing. There are bees pollinating and maintaining the garden.
Once we returned downstairs we were guided to the back of the building where Le Recyclerie has gardens, a greenhouse, a planter box that oxygenated a fish ecosystem,, a bee hotel, and chickens. I was impressed. There was a lot going on and I was amazed by how active the community, members, and non-members were, volunteering their time to cultivate this urban jungle and watch things grow. One of my first thoughts was how successful a place like this would be in my own city. Continuing along the path, surrounded by plants that are full of life, you approach Le Recyclerie’s community compost. People are able to bring their compostable items and Le Recyclerie uses the compost as soil in their gardens. The bee hotel gives bees a place to nest and live. There is a massive greenhouse at the end of the tracks, where there are fruits, vegetables, and herbs growing. Our tour guide pointed out the spinach they were growing, telling us how easy it was to grow. He, then, let us sample the honey produced by Le Recyclerie’s very own honeybees! It was absolutely delicious and had floral undertones. In retrospect, I definitely should have bought some to bring home. The backyard portion of Le Recyclerie was a whole other experience entirely!
Finally we returned back down the path so we could order food from the restaurant inside. The menu was huge and, as you can imagine, in French. We stared at the words confusedly and made futile attempts to translate. After receiving help from Dr. Loescher, we made our choices and placed our orders. The cafeteria was very cool with high ceilings and random, mismatched tables and chairs, assumingly reused. Our meal consisted of an entrée, a dessert, and a coffee. When we got our food, we were in awe of how appetizing it looked on the plates. The servings were huge and we were hungry, so we were certainly satisfied, mind and body alike, by the time we left Le Recyclerie.
Overall, our experience at Le Recyclerie was unforgettable and I think Austin would definitely benefit from having a place similar. I know if I had the chance to Become a member I would absolutely take advantage!