The Promenade Petite Ceinture (Little Belt walk) is a park near our apartment and we often enjoy walking there for exercise. It sits on part of an abandoned 36-km railway line of the same name, built around Paris under the Second Empire (1852 – 1869). This railway line carried passengers until 1934 and goods until the end of the 1970s. Near us in the 15th arrondissement, it once served in particular the Citroën factories and the slaughterhouses of Vaugirard.
Now it’s the province of joggers, walkers, and strollers, and has been deliberately left ecologically rich. The City of Paris has created landscaping that preserves its railway heritage and highlights the park’s unique biodiversity. It brings together varied and interesting natural habitats, such as the forest, meadows, and wasteland. Each of these environments is home to different animal species, and over 220 species of plants and animals live there.
The park is also where Insect Hotels can be found. Insect hotels are man-made shelters that attract and welcome insects to the park. They offer them a refuge for the winter and a place to nest and reproduce in the summer.
Usually installed in quiet places and close to flower beds, insect hotels are made from reclaimed and environmentally-friendly materials such as untreated pallet wood, stems, logs, and sandy soil.
Insects apparently find it difficult to find quiet shelter in a city as dense as Paris. These hotels allow different species to have a dedicated space in the park and to perform their landscape-supporting duties. These include fighting harmful species, pollinating desirable plants, promoting plant reproduction, and preserving the biodiversity of Parisian green spaces. These original and artistic constructions are fun to look at and highlight the beneficial role of insects.