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Living in Paris and being close to nature, the impossible bet?

Contrary to what one might think, Paris is a city where nature is omnipresent, even in its most unsuspected forms. The documentary “Paris, Ville Nature” follows 7 passionate Parisians who live and bring nature to life on a daily basis in the capital.

Falcons at Notre-Dame, foxes at Père Lachaise, wild orchids in wasteland, picking at Vincennes or pike fishing in the Seine… Nearly 2,800 wild species, both plant and animal, have been observed in Paris in recent years. . This wild world still remains imperceptible for a large number of inhabitants of the capital who nevertheless seem to aspire to a new form of closeness to nature.

video length: 41sec

Trailer “Paris, City of nature”

©France 3 PIDF

The film “Paris, Ville Nature” takes us into an immersion in the heart of nature in Paris, through the cross-portraits of 7 Parisians who manage to keep a close link with it despite the obstacles of the city. Each of these characters, through their activity, makes it possible to discover one of the facets of nature in Paris.

  • Emilie Biens – Naturalist Illustrator

You can meet Emilie at the bend of a street in the Butte Montmartre, pencil in hand, drawing a great tit that nested near the Sacré-Coeur, or in a lime tree in the Jardin des Abbesses.

For Émilie, it all started in high school when she did an internship at the Museum of Natural History. She secretly draws crustaceans there, which does not fail to attract the attention of Museum employees who encourage her in this direction. She perfected herself in drawing during her professional experiences at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and at the Aquarium de la Porte Dorée, to finally become a naturalist designer.

Since 2016, Émilie has opened a gallery-workshop at Les Abbesses, which is the only Parisian artistic space dedicated to scientific drawing. In addition to learning to draw, this initiative aims to raise public awareness of environmental protection, which is one of the artist’s daily battles.

  • Nicolas Davy – Animal photographer

Young, relaxed-looking 30-something, an engineer by training, is an amateur photographer with a passion for wildlife. You just have to take a look at his Instagram account to see it. This one is full of magnificent shots of birds, squirrels, rabbits and even insects.

A lifelong Parisian, he naturally turned to animals that he could observe around his home, in the woods and urban parks. Through his pictures, he reveals to the general public some of the living beings that inhabit the capital but which remain invisible to ordinary mortals.

Throughout his practice, he has been able to adapt to this urban environment and grasp its limits in order to make it a strength: “I’m not claiming that the city is an ideal playground for nature photography, but you can use its specificities to obtain very interesting images that are sometimes impossible to do elsewhere. »

  • Masami Charlotte Lavault – Horticulturist

For the past ten years, we have seen growing on rooftops or in industrial wastelands, urban gardens in which we sow, cultivate and harvest. That of Masami, a 30-year-old Franco-Japanese winner in 2017 of the “Parisculteurs” competition, is a bit special: it is the only one where only flowers are grown.

This 1200 m2 garden hidden behind the Belleville cemetery is home to more than 200 different species including Damascus nigella, cosmos, calendulas or even snapdragons… And Masami grows all these species without pesticides or fertilizers, following the precepts of biodynamics. Once harvested, in order to favor short circuits, she will sell her flowers directly to her customers (florists and individuals), by bicycle or in markets near her flower farm.

The environmental issue is at the heart of Masami’s approach, she chose this activity to be in tune with her values, unlike those linked to her former job as an industrial designer that she exercised in her previous life in London.

  • Fernand Deroussen – Song hunter

The blackbird, the great tit, the winter wren, the kestrel… so many species of birds that it is possible to observe in Paris. Is it still necessary to have the required knowledge and a sharp ear?

Fernand is an audio-naturalist composer and volunteer member of the Ile-de-France Bird Protection League. This discreet fifty-year-old with a lunar appearance criss-crosses as soon as he can the parks and woods of Paris in order to observe the birds of the capital. In addition to observing them, his obsession is to record them. More than a job, it is his passion, he has thus published more than two hundred works on the sounds of nature, including the albums “Seas & Oceans” and “Chants d’oiseaus” which are to this day alone “ gold records” on the sounds of nature in France.

His favorite place to record and listen to these songs? The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, one of the “green lungs” of Paris. “At the Buttes, there is more unmown wasteland than in the other Parisian parks where there are mainly lawns. Here, the animals have enough to eat and can hide, it is the preferred landmark for birds, you can observe no less than 42 species. »

  • Aurélien Fiaux and Camille Reichers – Fishermen

Over the years, the Seine has seen an increasing number of fishing rods spring up on its Parisian banks. They and the fishermen who keep them come to indulge in a new fashionable hobby: streetfishing, literally: “the art of fishing in town”.

This activity continues to be emulated by city dwellers, due to the diversity of fish currently found in the Seine, thus breaking the image of Épinal of people who usually practice this activity. Pike, zander, roach or even perch, there are now around thirty species of fish in the waters of the capital and this number is increasing thanks to the improvement in water quality.

Aurélien Fiaux and Camille Reichers, inveterate Parisian fishermen, have thus decided to set up the first club in the capital: the Naturlish Academy. With this club, located on the edge of the Canal de l’Ourcq, Camille and Aurélien want to practice fishing that respects the environment during which the fish are systematically thrown back into the water. Also, unlike traditional fishing, the lure used by Naturlish members is a soft fish-shaped dummy bait.

  • Nadine Lahoud – Farmer on the roofs

In 2009, Nadine left her position in a major DIY store to create the Veni Verdi association. This structure aims to help children in Parisian schools discover nature, to create social ties and to plant gardens in urban areas to act on our environment, our society and our economy.

A craving arose while she was harvesting green beans in a shared garden not far from her home. A child came to help him pick them up and said: “Hey, I didn’t know fries grew like that.” “There I thought that something really had to be done”.

Nadine’s desire is to see urban farms flourish in each arrondissement of the capital to make all Parisians garden and make each child “a passionate about the planet”. The Veni Verdi association has just been recognized as being of public utility and received the medal of the associations of the city of Paris. However, at first, no one believed in his project: “Initially, I had to invest my personal savings because all doors were closed to me. With the help of the director of the Henri Matisse college (Paris 20th), I installed a garden on the roof of the establishment without administrative authorization”.

  • Christophe de Hody – Picker

Christophe has always been an urban picker and a nature enthusiast. He likes to go daily to the Bois de Vincennes, one of his favorite landmarks, summer and winter alike, to pick and collect all the plants and ingredients he needs in order to heal and feed himself.

He has made it his job and through his company, he regularly organizes group outings in order to transmit knowledge of wild plants and their uses to as many people as possible.

Each week, these are sold out, thus testifying to the enthusiasm of Parisians around these themes. Through this approach, the desire of this 30-year-old botanist by training and founder of “Chemins de la nature”, is to bring the plant heritage back into fashion and to allow everyone to become aware of this medicinal and food richness. that surrounds us.

“Paris Ville Nature” comes in 3 formats:

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