So, recently I accompanied my wife to Paris (tough life) so that she could take the second half of the gruelling entry exams that will allow her teach science within the French system (but not necessarily within France). Her exams were set over a two day period, with each lasting 5-6 hours so, plenty of time for me to explore. Needless to say, I took my camera. Join me.
We were staying in the 19th arrondissement, just of Rue de Crimee, so, on the first morning, after wishing Sandrine good luck, I headed for the Metro and made my way to the obvious first-stop; the Eiffel tower. I remember visiting the iconic metal stick when I was a kid and, recalling standing underneath looking up through the lattice-work of iron girders, planned to take a photo of the tower from below. Unfortunately, when I arrived, I was summarily introduced to Paris' new, improved, tighter security and, with huge queues to access the square beneath the tower, I opted for a more remote but nuanced shot. Hence the shot above.
Not wishing to hang-around the masses clambering to climb the tower, I made for the next stop on my improvised list; Pont de Bir-Hakeim, aka Inception Bridge (remember the scene in Inception, where DiCaprio is warning of the perils of messing around too much with his dream-world? that's the bridge they are strolling down). Just a 10 minute stroll along the Seine form the tower, the bridge offers some even more removed and less obvious shots of the tower...
...as well as some interesting views of the bridge itself...
...and the details it hides.
After a quick (and expensive) lunch at the end of the bridge, another metro ride (during which I got to see some of the images that have been placed around the city, and others, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the famous photo agency, Magnum) to Saint Michel to check out the stained glass windows of the Sainte-Chappelle. However, plans changed again as I realised how much the entrance fee was and so, a gentle stroll around the area instead.
One thing that is definitely great about Paris is that you never seem to be too far from the river and, therefore, to some very elegant bridges.
And, whilst hanging around this most Parisian part of Paris, I was once again reminded of the new order that currently grips much of the country.
These guys are everywhere; heavily armed and omnipresent but somehow unobtrusive and apparently not too bothered by having a camera pointed at them. Certainly, life seems to go on around them and, as I am taking this picture, behind me a young Parisian is setting up, at the base of St. Michell's Fountain, to make some money in an ages-old tradition of every major city on the planet.
I sat on the railing for a few minutes of appreciation then deposited my last euro in his hat and wondered off to meet Sandrine. I found her playing with some musical boxes outside a small shop in a nearby street.
We wondered the streets little longer, checking out the bookshops, patronising a few cafes, taking dinner at a very nice Indian restaurant at the foot of Notre Dame and strolling along the Banks of the Seine.
The river is canalised in Paris and, as the Cathedral is on an island on the river, this part of it is very narrow, allowing for ornate but more intimate bridges.
Finally, the end of a long day approached and we headed back to our humble flat in the 19th, just after taking one more shot; the sunset over the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, five minutes from our AirBnB.
That's it for the first day, I'll show you the second day next time.