Saturday, 6 August 2016

Piazza San Marco Early in the Morning

In going to Venice in July we knew we wouldn't be alone, and 'no' it would be fair to say we weren't. Having said that, as long as we weren't within 5 minutes walk from Piazza San Marco or the Rialto bridge, we could meander along the narrow alley ways in comparative peace. We live in Montmartre in Paris so we're accustomed to crowds of tourists in our neighbourhood during the summer. Venice didn't feel much worse. The apartment we had rented was in a totally secluded spot where we only ever met one or two people during the whole week we were there. 

One morning during our stay I woke up very early and decided to seize the day and head towards Piazza San Marco to avoid the crowds. It was about 7h30 am. I wasn't the first there by any means, but it was definitely very quiet.

The cafes were certainly empty.

As were the arcades running alongside the Piazza. The previous day when we had been in the same place I hadn't realised what beautiful paving lined the arcades.

People were setting up their stalls for the day.

I was alone when I took this photo of the Bridge of Sighs.

Here are some gondole before the customers arrive.

The following day we went up the bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore on the island opposite San Marco and got a fantastic view of the Basilica across the Grand Canal. The many tiny coloured dots you can see in this photo show that it was not taken at 7h30!

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Venice: Lovely Laundry

Every time I saw laundry hanging artfully across a small street or canal in Venice I would grab my camera and take a photo. I soon realised that there were going to be many many laundry photo taking opportunities and  I needed to be a bit selective. The majority of apartments in Venice get little direct sunshine, few people have gardens, and for most people their homes are probably quite small. Where better than to hang up the washing outside, hanging over the streets ...

... or canals.

They use pulley systems to maximise washing line possibilities. I think if I lived in an apartment in Venice that faced onto a canal, many of my clothes would end up in the water.

White wash. Coloured wash.

I'm guessing you have to be careful to hang the washing just so, to avoid neighbourly discontent. 

Burano, a tiny island north of Venice where the houses are all painted in rainbow colours provided particularly attractive laundry photos. No photoshop, no colour enhancement, this is the way it is.

On a sunny day even the shadows provide some lovely images.

You can find more Venice laundry photos on my Flickr account, here.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Falling Water Levels: the Seine.

The water level of the Seine has gradually been going down the past week. The roads running along the side of the Seine have reopened, pedestrians can walk along the quais, things are getting back to normal.

At the request of a few people I took a few pictures from the same view point during the week so that you get could a sense of how the water levels have been changing.

Here is a view from the Pont Neuf looking towards Saint-Michel on the rive gauche.

Here is a view of the Vert Galant, the western tip of the Île de la Cité.

And finally, here is a view also taken from the Pont Neuf, this time looking towards the Île de la Cité and the Conciergerie.

Next time we have a drought, I need to take more photos to get the full picture!

More photos of the 2016 flood waters can be seen here.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

The Seine is Full

We've been having rain here in Paris. A LOT of rain. The news has been full of talk of the rising levels of the Seine. Even the Louvre museum was closed yesterday to re-locate some pieces of artwork that were potentially at risk of being damaged if water level rose much further. 

I decided I needed to go down to the river to see for myself. It was the strangest of atmospheres down there. Hundreds of people walking along les quais, whispering quietly, looking, taking photos, seemingly waiting for something.

My first sighting of the river was at Le Pont du Carrousel. Apart from the fact that the bridge footings were completely submerged, it was also striking how fast the water was flowing. 

All the trees are underwater.

The infamous Pont des Arts was actually closed to the public. The stone footings completely submerged. 

This cruise boat won't be running for a little while I think. The boat is of course fine, the access ramp? ... Not so much.

Many people are stranded on their boats unable to get on or off. Complicated ramp and ladder mechanisms have been rigged up to access the boats. Not for the faint hearted!

A row of fire engines were lined along Le Pont Neuf, 'specialiste intervention subaquatique'.

I made my way to the Square du Vert Galant, the very tip of the Isle de la Cité. When the Vert Galant is under water you know that things are bad. 

Well it was definitely under water!

Here are two rather beautiful views from Le Pont Neuf. Paris is dipping her toes in the river.