Freegan Pony, a vegan restaurant built in a storage space. Image via Alix Lad/instagramAbandoned places most often evoke a sense of melancholy and even curiosity to its sorry state of being. With much hope and effort these mega structures are created, only to be left unattended and neglected after a period of time. While many stand the test of time still withholding yester years' charm, others remain derelict, and good for nothing. Does it always have to be this way?
French Railways has probably one of the most imaginative and plausible ideas to revamp one their abandoned sites. Paris' five abandoned railway stations are soon going to be converted into public sites. The SNFC (Société nationale des chemins de fer francais), France's national railway company has decided to transform these railway sites into creative venues with gardens, live music, restaurants with other recreational services. As stated in a report in The Guardian, "art collectives" have long tried to take over and transform the neglected railway sites but had to face a fierce opposition from SNFC. The national railway company has finally given its nod to the revivification of the five stations. 14 different projects are slated to reinvent the railway sites with the very first one already operational since June 10th this year. The first operational project is at a former warehouse Les Mines now renamed to La Station, a hub of cooking activities, gardening as well as music. Other projects are scheduled to open September onwards.
Reusing, rather reinventing old spaces and turning them into public locales isn't a new phenomenon for Paris. The move stands up to be a part of a much broader movement in the city which aims to make the Capital city more sustainable and environment friendly. There have been many more instances of exhibitions happening in other forgotten areas of the city. Restaurants (vegan, organic and zero-wastage) and bars have also opened to cater to the public and to bring to light issues tied around the notion of food wastage, food security and others. Le REcyclerie has been in business since a couple of years now, catering to its customers by serving food and drinks and holding weekly discussions on sustainability - it is build inside an old train station which in now inactive. Freegan Pony is another restaurant, essentially vegan, built in a former storage space.
From gardening, sustainable cooking and farming to understanding the idea or organic better, ideas to curb food wastage and much more - the series of 14 projects are not only going to breathe live into the once abandoned and long forgotten railway sites but also promote art, music and Paris' rich cultural heritage.