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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Paris by night

I'm very much a morning person, not a night bird, but I like walking around certain cities at night - and Paris is one of those cities.  

So there I was last week, standing in the Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine and looking at its amazing Eiffel Tower views.  Evening was coming on, the lights went on in the Tower, yellow-red against the evening clouds. 

(By the way, the museum has some good exhibits, including a full size mock up of a Le Corbusier flat, wonderful models and many lifesized plaster casts of old architectural features. It's about to run an Art Deco show which I just missed - bah!)  


So when we left the museum, we headed for the 1st Arrondissement, right in the centre of the city.  Dusk falls pretty fast this time of year. but a nice big illuminated map is always useful for night walks, so at least you know where you are starting from. . 



There's a certain time in the early evening when daytime is over and night time hasn't yet begun. I wondered if these people were about to go home, or were they enjoying a cocktail before going on somewhere else?



I always like the little bars and bistros glimpsed through old windows down narrow side streets.......



though occasionally I like to go to a fancy restaurant. (The one shown below is the Procope, in Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie, actually in the 6th Arrondissement, where I went another evening. It's said to be the oldest restaurant in the city, with lots of fascinating memorabilia, as well as excellent food.)  


Echoes of Paris past....


Back to the 1st Arrondissement, we spotted this art nouveau angel guarding a doorway in Galerie Vivienne.. 



And a bit of street music always livens things up.....


Public art's a great thing.  This wondrous metro station entrance at Palais-Royal is one of my favourites. Designed by Jean-Michel Othoniel,.it's intended as a "kiosque" for people who walk around in the night.   



Paris does not allow you to forget its history and all the characters who have lived there....


And history leaves us in no doubt that Paris has its edgy side




Although it is not always that peaceful, I rarely feel bothered when walking around it.    I think this incident was some kind of a strike - also a feature of Paris life. - although there were some tough looking people hanging around too.  Nothing actually happened.     

 Some of the buildings look quite unreal after dark. Don't you think this looks like an illustration from a fantastical book? I am trying to remember where it is, so perhaps some Parisian reader can identify it?  


I crept into Notre-Dame cathedral. It seems surprisingly plain once the dazzling daytime colours of the stained glass are concealed in darkness
 

And talking of colours I liked this patriotic fountain, lit up in  red, white and blue


One of the areas I DIDN'T visit on this trip was around the Moulin Rouge. I know it's historic but to be honest, I don't like it.  But these fashionable tights on display in an expensive boutique made an offbeat homage to the can can which made the Moulin Rouge world-famous in the 1890s. They are arranged on asymmetric revolving wheels,  seen in an reflecting kaleidoscope of  mirrors in a constantly changing display.. 


On one of the Seine bridges we met a cheerful man who had rigged up his bike with lanterns and small fountains made of umbrellas, with splashing water pumps.   He told us that the problem with the world was that people didn't use their intelligence, and everyone would be a lot happier if they did.   Everyone was happy to chat with him, and he sent us on our way with a smile.  




51 comments:

  1. A most unique view of Paris. Parts I had not seen in an other write-ups!

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  2. Thank you for a most enjoyable post
    Seeing Paris up close in your pictures adds dimension to Paris that I don't see very often or at all that I remember.

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  3. Hum, wonder how he rode that bike with that much stuff on it....
    OH I love Paris! I love every part of Paris! Thanks for taking me down memory lane :o)

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  4. Ah, when I lived in Paris I had a flat in the neighbouring 4th arrondissement for several years and I know the area well. These photos bring back many, many memories. Thanks Jenny.

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  5. I love the metro station entrance. Very bling! You captured some great shots. I went to Paris years ago and hated every minute of it, so I'm wondering if I should visit again as your photos have made me see it in a new light.

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  6. Jenny,
    It is possible to be in love with a city that you have never seen and for me, Paris is that city.
    I hope to see it but if not...c'est la vie!
    Thank you for these scenes from Paris at night!

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  7. Very Gormenghast that 'unknown' photograph!
    I'm not a fan of Paris...but this tour could make me think again.

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  8. How charming, and how wonderfully eccentric. Where can one buy the fountain bike?

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  9. Bonnie, my guess is that he wheeled the bike along. I don't think he'd still be here in this world if he had ridden it in Paris traffic! :)

    Kay, I think it is very possible to be in love with a city when you haven't seen it. Some places just resonate.

    Joe, I am off and on about Paris. Sometimes I hate it, sometimes I love it. At the moment, I love it. It would have been a different selection of pics if I had hated it, I expect.
    Helen, I'm hoping someone will tell me what that photo shows. I don't even remember taking it but I suppose I must have done. (Unless it's a mysterious ghost photo hehee)

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  10. I've not been to Paris and probably never will be. The city has presence, even in pictures. I felt the outdoor musician's cold, hunched frame and cold hands.

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  11. I am definitely a hardcore night owl (cursed with vampiric Hungarian blood....), so I am especially smitten by your delightful tour of Paris after dark. The photos are inspiring and each one tells a story (I'm not quite sure about all those legs in the Moulin Rouge!). I'm also not sure if I'd like to play the piano out on a sidewalk, especially after dark - - that pianist is more adventurous than I am.

    I'm probably totally wrong about this, but the oval portrait hanging on the wall in the Procope looks like it could be the composer Chopin. Of course, it's not close enough to see clearly.

    Two of my cousins went to Paris this past summer. One fell in love with it, the other disliked it. The one who fell in love with Paris has a romantic soul.....like myself.....

    Anyway, I enjoyed this post!

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  12. You've whetted my appetite now with these unusual pictures (loved the fountain). I've only stopped en route for a few hours and saw the Louvre from the outside! I've just had lunch with a friend who has returned from a week there. She said it was quite an expensive city. How would you say it compares with Madrid for that?

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  13. I compliment you on your photo collection. I'm just passing through, doing that "clicking on blogs" thing, and I'm glad I stopped by. Enjoy your stay in Paris. We always have.

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  14. *sighs* Oh how I love Paris ...

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  15. Amazing photos!
    First of all I have to tell you I love the rain picture that you have on your blog now, it's lovely.... I love the rain...
    I'm not a night person either, I just fall asleep... reel party animal eh? But I will say that I stay up late when in London, I love that city... Though I wouldn't feel safe in some parts at night.
    I've never seen a take on Paris like you have here, it makes Paris seem so much more "real" and not the glamorous perfect city that everyone talks about... that sounded negative, but what I mean is, of course it's like anywhere... good and bad, and you have shown that. I had a hard time reading your writing though, because the yellow on white is really hard to see, but I loved loved loved the photos! Tammy x

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  16. A great set of pictures, they really convey the atmosphere of "Paris by night".
    Is it just me or do others find it difficult to read the yellow/orange writing on the white background? Your former blog layout was a lot easier for me to read.

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  17. I love to see photographs of cities at night... I'm really not the sort of person who stays out late so often I only get to see the nightlife by way of someone else's lens! :)

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  18. Thank you for the further comments and apologies to those like Meike and Tammy who found the white on yellow text hard to read. I did too and I would certainly not have done it that way if Blogger hadn't been playing up! . All I wanted to do was have a more seasonal header, and then I wanted to change the colour of the title, to make it more reasonable. The templates section in Blogger went totally haywire and then packed up altogether. The sharp eyed ones among you will notice the links to my articles have gone too, so I am hoping it gets fixed soon.

    Anyway, Nell, in answer to your question, yes Paris was MUCH more expensive than Madrid! My eyes watered at having to pay 4.50 euros for a cup of hot water and a teabag. It went through a phase of being reasonably priced, but it did not strike me as a budget option this time.

    No, Rachel I am not really a night person either, but sometimes I really love to wander around.

    Jon, I think that so many people looked like Chopin in those days, it was the hairstyle etc. but actually your sharp eyes were correct, because Chopin has eaten there. And so has Napoleon, (although he is not as good looking)

    Tammy I am glad you felt it made Paris seem "real" I too get bored with the same old descriptions of places, packaged as commodities. Everywhere, obviously really is different and full of human beings doing their stuff. And human beings have an endless capacity to surprise.

    Nice to meet you Bob, and thank you for your nice comment. I will look forward to visiting your blog too!


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  19. It's been a long time since Paris, and you've made me miss it! Thank you.

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  20. A wonderful stroll Jenny - thanks for taking me along with you. I really felt like stopping to join and sit with that couple...and to share a glass of wine or two with them. You really captured a calmness, a mellowness in that particular photo...for me, anyway. :)

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  21. Thanks for this unique glimpse of Paris. I've walked her streets many times but never at night. How could I have missed out on her evening charms.

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  22. Love all your pictures, but especially the one of the Eiffel Tower at dusk!

    I've never been to Paris, but one of my former co-workers visited the city last summer for her 20th wedding anniversary. She fell in love with the city!

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  23. I love Paris! Thank you for a fresh and interesting look at some of my favourite places on earth. The can can legs are fun and the sparkly kiosk is wonderful! Great post, Jenny.

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  24. Wonderful views of Paris, Jenny! I have not been there and it was interesting to watch all your photos. I liked the illuminated entrance to metro: great idea. Thank you for sharing!

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  25. Thanks for that. I keep getting a niggling urge to go back! It must be over 30 years since I went - but it looks from your photos as if many things are still much the same.

    I read somewhere some interesting stuff on the catacombs (which are apparently illegal to enter but no less intriguing for that...)

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  26. thanks for sharing your trip to Paris. it looks like a place that comes alive at night, in particular. great photos! love the "legs" one most of all, LOL! ;>)

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  27. Your post brought back so e good memories...I love visiting Paris now, but couldn't live there any more. And things in France are not great. People keep complaining and it gets on my nerves!

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  28. I, too, have mixed feelings about Paris. I love it when I'm there (except on the occasion I got food poisoning in a very expensive restaurant) but I never have a desire to go there. For me the city to be in at night is walking down the Ku'damm (The Kurfürstendamm) in Berlin. Magical. In fact many many years ago I was taken by friends we were staying with on a tour of the pubs of the Kreuzberg. What struck me was the fact that you could get an alcoholic drink or a heise Schokolade or food and everyone seemed to be playing board games or cards. We did a thorough pub crawl ending up playing chess in a cellar bar on the Ku'damm. Happy memories. All brought on by a wonderful reminder of evenings in Paris. Thanks.

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  29. Shame about the colours right enough but they are not noticed once we read the blog. The pictures are great, Another great tour and a good view of Paris.

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  30. Making fountains out of upside down umbrellas … now that IS Penelopesque. What fantastic water containers they would be! I was in Paris all too briefly in 2010. My impression during a limited time period was of an expressive city. Husband and wife owners of a pastry shop argued unabashedly in front of customers about who worked the hardest. People were on strike and shut down part of the Louvre because of government plans to change the retirement age from 60 to 62. The tower and traffic dazzled everyone each night. Every step was like traveling down an elaborate mystery oozing with history.

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  31. Ugh. Blogger problems! I'm going to have to completely reset my layout soon as template editor has stopped working for me too.

    I love this post! Your writing was just beautiful and I felt like I was walking down those streets, sitting I the sidewalk cafés, drinking in the lights of Paris.

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  32. I could be there with you...so realistic but so charming city tour...Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.Lucky you.But of course like in all big cities, living and working there isn't the best thing for people...

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  33. I love the guy playing piano in the street! How did he get the piano there, I wonder? As for the guy on the bike, yes, how on earth does he ride it with all that stuff heaped onto it? He'll be done for reckless driving - if he hasn't been already!

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  34. ah you have caught me in love...i so want to visit paris....excellent pictures....that last guy def looks like a personality....smiles....wonderful tour...and i like you header and how you framed it between the lights...so cool

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  35. I want to visit Paris and the Eiffel Tower one day (on my way to Poland) but don't know if it is the cards.
    Son was there one time when the Eiffel Tower had the millennium clock on it. He took several photo for his French teacher.
    Love your new header photo. Lovely.

    cheers, parsnip

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  36. I'm so envious!!! I've never been to Paris before and would love to visit there someday. Thanks for sharing!

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  37. What a treat to see these photos. Paris at night, sigh. Haven't been there in a very long time but your post brought back some great memories.

    Darla

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  38. I have been to France but never to Paris but Hubby has so I must show him these pictures. I must say the Eiffel Tower looks brilliant at night.

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  39. Fabulous! I am a Hemingway enthusiast and writer who has not spent enough time in Paris chasing down his exploits. To date, I have focused on Spain with a couple of brief trip to Paris. My wife and I planned to spend three weeks there tracking Hemingway history. Our flight was scheduled to leave on 9/11/2001. We never made it. However, it is high on our Bucket List.

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  40. Paris is one of my favourite cities, David and I had been planning a long overdue return visit, so it is definitely going to stay on my list of places to return to one day. Your lovely photos reminded me why.

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  41. Ah, Gay Paree. This post brought back wonderful memories for me. Super photos, Jenny.

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  42. Well, first of all, Jenny, you could show me anything in Paris and I would be entranced. It is such a beautiful city! (Is that sculpted medallion on the Opera Garnier?) Your photos are fabulous -- your night shots dazzle. I would be pressed to pick a favorite because they all show something so uniquely, perfect Paris. What a splendid guide you would be!

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  43. Some of those photographs are wonderfully atmospheric - the first one, of course, because that is Paris. But the third one, that is Paris too and couldn't be anywhere else.

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  44. Hi Jenny! (I just deleted my long comment, arrggh! retyping now ...)

    I love Paris! Cliché, but can't be helped :) This is such a wonderful walk through the City of Light. I'm envious of the bits you've discovered in its modernity, as well as the historic bits that, as you mentioned, Paris doesn't let you forget. Thumbs up to the gentleman who said we'd all be a lot happier if we used our intelligence. And some of those riot police men have a sci-fi look about them.

    I've been working on a French art history project and recognize how much Paris has changed since the days of the Sun King. From Haussmann's urban planning to the renewal of Paris life after the Franco-Prussian war, we see the trajectory to today's café society and the mingling of art & music in public spaces.

    My aunt and cousins just landed in Paris today too. I think all omens keep pointing to France and I should hop on over myself soon!

    Jenny

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  45. Thank you for this excellent trip round Paris - a place I have never visited. May be one day...
    Anna :o]

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  46. Your first photo should be framed. I love the contrast of the clouds with the Eiffel Tower. Marvellous.

    Greetings from London.

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  47. I love Paris and haven't been there for so long - thanks for the memories.

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  48. how fabulous.....have such a hankering to go to Paris now!!!

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  49. Thankyou for the walk around Paris... your photographs were lovely. I really love the place but sadly wont get there this trip... Best wishes... thanks for dropping by..Christine

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  50. I just love traveling with you, Jenny!! :)

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