I admit it. I was lazy. I spent a whole week in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and I don’t have very many photos to show for it. Part of this had to do with the fact that I was ridiculously comfortable there—it often seemed like a version of Chicago where people spoke French. Part of this was a result of my shoes falling apart on the second day because I chose to wear my older, “nicer-looking” pair over the normal, comfortable walkers I wear in Chicago. Bad idea. The tiny holes in the soles of both shoes became canyons and caused bad blisters to show up on my feet that still haven’t healed.
But I did take a few photos, and what you see here are what I consider the best of my efforts.
The shot in the upper left was something of an accident; it was actually something of a snapshot since I was starting to get a little guilty walking up the Rue des Martyrs in Montmartre without taking very many photos. As soon as I saw it in the view screen, though, I fell in love with the shot. It’s my personal favorite of all my Paris photos.
In the middle is a man my wife and I met near the Abbesses Métro station (around which the syrupy film Amélie was set), who was shuffling around in such a way that it seemed he was just begging to have his photo taken. After we had built up the courage to speak to him and take photos of him more directly (for a tip of 8 Euros—hey, it’s all I had on me), he pulled out a little book of photos from him from all over the world. Apparently he makes something of a modest living from people doing this very thing.
In the upper right here you have a standard Montmartre scene; indeed, this was taken right across the street from the famous Moulin Rouge (which is not placed anywhere near as prominently as Baz Luhrman would have you believe). Sex toy shops and strip joints abound around this shot, but impressive buildings like this ensure that even areas such as this in Paris are filled with breathtaking beauty. A similar collection of raunchy stores in Chicago would have thugs lurking in the shadows, a gallery of different ways to bar your windows, and mysterious glistening puddles all over the sidewalk.
In the upper left you’ll find the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, the short but scrappy cousin of the much more massive (and famous) Arc de Triomphe, far in the distance. If you look closely at the larger version, you can see the 3,300-year-old Obelisk of Ramses II poking up in the Place de la Concorde, the very place where they lopped off all those heads in the French Revolution. Finished in 1808, the arch is covered with boasts regarding Napoleon’s victories.
In the middle you’ll find a nice shot of a street in the Latin Quarter near the Odéon opera. Yep, that’s about it. I just thought the colors were purdy.
On the far right you’ll find the Panthéon, which was finished in 1790. It was originally meant to be a church, but then that pesky revolution thing broke out, so now it’s the tomb of several famous Frenchies including Voltaire, Marie Curie, and Alexandre Dumas. This was more or less the view from the front door of our hotel, which was, well, awesome.
Above is the statue of Louis XIV in front of the Louvre, complete with a pigeon crapping on his curly head. Again, just purdy. I’ll say this about the Louvre, though—my wife and I spent many evenings in the courtyard there, cooling off our feet in the fountains around the pyramid and enjoying the peaceful ambiance around us. If you tried to do the same thing in the States, you’d be fined in seconds.
Voilà, c’est tout. If you want to see all of my Paris photos, click here. Comments and copious purchases of prints are appreciated.
Also, Happy Fourth of July, everyone! And Happy Belated Canada Day for those up north.