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.