Saturday, 27 November 2010

Crossing the river

The other morning I cycled across Paris. By cycling 'across' Paris I mean I crossed the river. Living in Montmartre, and working from home means I don't go cross the river that often, but when I do, without fail, I am always overwhelmed by what a beautiful city I live in. I love the beautiful long views you get, and the big sky. The other morning it had started out snowing, then drizzle, but at the moment when I was crossing the river the sky had cleared and the sun was trying to break through the clouds. The colours were subtle and nearly monochrome and the lines of the buildings were very clear.

I crossed over le Pont du Carrousel which is just by the Louvre and got a gorgeous view of the île de la Cité with the Pont des Arts in the foreground and Notre-Dame in the back ground.
Looking in the other direction I saw the Eiffel Tower just peering over the roof tops.
Cycling along the Quai Anatole France which passes the Musée d'Orsay I saw the huge big wheel that has been installed at Place de la Concorde for the Christmas period. To the left of the wheel you can just see the gold tip of the Obelisk, at the middle of Place de la Concorde. The sky had a slight pink tinge.
As I cycled west and crossed the 7th, where the roads get wider and emptier, and the cars get bigger and blacker, with more tinted windows and more...umm...wrooom. I stopped by the Ecole Militaire and took these two pictures, to add to my 'who's meddled with the Eiffel Tower' collection. 
Three. Two. One. Take off!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Les ombres

Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings - always darker, emptier and simpler.” Friedrich Nietzsche.

You won't be surprised to hear that I have a photo collection of shadows. Fun ones, intriguing ones and beautiful ones.

Here's a fun one. These were two motor bikes standing next to each other. What tickled me was that just along from them on the pavement somebody had graffitied 'The Twins.' 

Here's another motor bike. AKA Yogi Bear.
I found this one, a kid's bike strung up on a fence at Parc de La Villette. 
The wavy canopy, also at Parc de la Villette, created a lovely shadow.
This one I found interesting. The shadow was cast onto a wall with a mural painted on it. The tips of the tree's shadowed branches were projected onto a part of the wall that has been painted blue, making it look more real than the actual tree.
The shadow if this tree is not that amazing but the building on which it is cast combines to create quite an nice effect.
Unlike this tree shadow, which just looks like a shadow, albeit a rather attractive one.
Railings are always good for a shadow.
As are lampposts, of course.
And to add a bit of colour, here is a reflection at Le musée du quai Branly.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


I've written about these balconies before. The ones on rue Caulaincourt that catch the sun. These ones. The ones I didn't notice at all, until one day, early evening, the sun reflected off them and radiated a beautiful light. Like this.
Well lately the early setting sun has been giving off an amazing orange glow across the roof tops and upper stories of the buildings of Paris. The view from our balcony shows the orange glow I'm talking of.

 I thought it was time to check out the balconies on Rue Caulaincourt again. And frankly, it was well worth the detour. These were taken just after 16h00.
Then 15 minutes later the buildings looked like this!
I then went back again about an hour later. The gold glow had gone, the buildings looked grey, but the  balconies were a deep pink.
And as an unexpected bonus, I got to see this!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Fire in the sky

Well, it eventually stopped raining. As Belgian Waffle so eloquently puts it 'Let the festival of spinal fluid drinking begin'...or...please god, end! There's something about being house bound with small people that's quite unbearable. Bubbling knots of sinister pent up frustration nestle in the inner most cockles. Ugh. Anyway, the rain stopped and although it was getting dark I suggested taking a walk over to the Sacré Cœur to have a ride on the merry-go-round. The merry-go-round is at the bottom of the stairs in front of the Sacré Cœur. We went up the back way, up Rue Lepic, and then walked down the huge flight of stairs to the round-about. What I hadn't thought about was the fact that the sun was setting. However, I was quick to take note. It was quite spectacular.

Here is what we saw while walking up Rue Lepic. I love the pink glow reflecting off the shutters.
At a certain point you see the Eiffel Tower.
Once we got up to the top of the hill the sky had gone from the vivid pink to a fiery orange. Crowds of people were standing by the wall on Square Nadar, a corner just below the Sacré Cœur where you see the Eiffel Tower. I pushed my way through the crowd and took a few photos. The Tour Montparnasse was reflecting the setting sun.
The Eiffel Tower glowed yellow against the fiery sky.
The sky made a gorgeous tableau.
We started our decent down towards the merry-go-round.
By this time it was dark. The Sacré Cœur looked beautiful as ever. I'd never noticed  the shadow of the smaller dome to the side, projected onto the main dome.
The apartments that flank the stairs up to the Sacré Cœur looked lovely as well.
We finally got to the bottom and guess what? The merry-go-round had just shut. ARGH!

I've promised the kids we'll go this afternoon after school.

Edited to say that this evening we made it to the merry-go-round before it closed. Et voila!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

When the sun came out

So the rain finally stopped and the sun came out. It felt amazing to see some blue sky at last, and not to have to have the lights on in the house all day long.

I walked out onto the street for the first time in what seemed like forever, without an umbrella and was faced with this. 

The sky was so blue, the crisp clear blue you get after rain, with caracature clouds.
We walked through the quartier des Abbesses, the Christmas decorations are up, though not yet turned on. The snowflakes caught the sun and sparkled none the less.
Rather stupidly, for a day when the sun finally comes out, we went to the cinema, Studio 28. Once you have promised a child that you're going to the cinema (the first time in over a year), the mere fact that the sun has come out means you can't break your promise. I had fun taking photos of the lights inside the cinema.
After the cinema we went to the park, 'Jardin Burq' a gorgeous, little known park, surrounded by amazing houses, ateliers and apartments. I took this picture a few weeks ago so the leaves are still green, but it gives you an idea of what the park and its' surroundings looks like.
The sun glowed in highest tree branches.
The windows caught the sun and reflected the surrounding trees.
When we headed home the sun was setting.
And then it started raining again.

Monday, 8 November 2010


It's been raining here in Paris. Raining, and raining. With extra rain. Yes, yes, I know we've been very lucky so far this autumn, we've had beautiful weather, lots of sun, not too cold. But now we have rain, relentless drizzle. It's getting me down. In an attempt to cheer myself up I set myself the challenge of finding beauty in the rain. This is what I came up with.

Puddles of course, lots of puddles.
Wet leaves. Yellow.
Wet leaf. Red and orange.
Gathering droplets. I think these are my favourite.
More droplets, with inverted images of the surrounding buildings.
Oh, there's a bug on this one, maybe that's why the plant is dying.
Here is Bruce reflected on the balcony decking.
A spider web catches the rain.
Wet pavement. Green light.
Wet pavement. Red light.
Green. Go!
And the rain stopped. For a bit, at least.