Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Civil Engineer's Trip to Paris

I had a few free hours to wander around the city on foot when I went to the Autodesk offices for a two day session with some of the European Technical Specialists.

Unfortunately, the sewer museum was closed. I know. BUMMER. I wrote down the museum hours so that next time I am sure not to miss out.

There was about a fifteen minute walk to the Autodesk Office from my hotel. The hotel was on the north side of the River Seine (the Rive Droit) and the Autodesk offices is on the south side (the Rive Gauche).

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I took a few pictures.


I showed my mother this picture and she commented on the lovely river and the bateau moche.


I shook my head and pointed out the LaFarge concrete plant. In case you were worried, I also got a few shots of the concrete trucks.


My hotel was adjacent to Parc de Bercy. One end of the Parc has a rather large wall, and through that wall there are what seem to be culverts.


This is the view from the other side of that wall. I walked closer and noticed that there are some kind of gates tucked in under this bridge- almost as if the road could be sealed off. Since this is right along the river, I had to wonder if this was part of some elaborate flood control scheme.


I asked Willy Luce if he knew about it, and he said it was possible but didn't know for sure. I spend some time googling the subject and didn't find much to clear things up. My French is limited, but improving, however I still struggle coming up with Google Search terms that make contextual sense for French civil engineering. Mostly they wind up sounding something like "tasty river overspill prophylactic" or some such.

The park was very nice and had a different feel from most city parks I've explored in the past. It was very geometrical- lots of squares and symmetry. It also maintained some neat historical features.

I liked little quirks like this tree. It seemed that the landscape architect wanted a path through here to keep the geometry the way s/he wanted it, but there was a lovely old sycamore in the way. The solution?


The whole Bercy Village neighborhood had cobble stone streets with the original cart tracks still intact.



A few other neat things that I noticed everywhere on my walks:

Moped Vending Machines. Pay, ride, return to another vending location. Very neat.



Bike paths that weren't quite in the street, but not really sidewalk either.



And stoplights that showed opposing traffic that they were red.



One day I walked all the way to the Quatier Latin but forgot my camera. There were so many wacky catch basin covers that I couldn't take photos of! I just trying googling for some possible photographs (translation: the lid of aggregate conveyance waste tubes), and I stumbled upon this devine site: While this page doesn't have shots of the artistic fillagreed draincovers that I saw, it does have a whole page that talks about manhole covers in the Roman Empire and more!

There are quite a few Civil 3D users in France and there are more and more coming every day. I was truly impressed by some of the projects that Willy was showing me, and I am looking forward to future trips to Paris to learn more about how I can help make them successful.

I hope that next year I can plan to attend Infrastructures et Territoire 2008 next year (I didn't know about it soon enough to make travel arrangements for this year.)

Pour mes amis francophone: J'essaie d'attendre "Les lundis de L'Aménagement du territoire" Des "webcasts" avec Willy Luce et ses collègues à 16h (Paris) ou 10AM EST.  Aussi- nous avons commencer un groupe de discussion: 

Autodesk Groupes en Francais