Outside the Quai Branly Museum, on Rue de l’Université, an elderly couple was strolling along the sidewalk. You could readily see they had been together a long time, and truly loved each other. I could have captured their face expressions as they passed me. Instead, I slowed my pace and let them walk by. From behind, their body language spoke volumes. When the couple was about 5 meters in front of me. I captured two shots. This is the one that tells their story.
In Montmartre, everyone recognizes the windmill at the La Machine du Moulin Rouge. But up the hill, about midway along a circuitous route between the Appartement de Théo Van Gogh and the Buste de Dalida is Le Moulin Radet. It was late afternoon, a few clouds in the sky. Shooting into the sun the windmill’s blades were almost silhouette. One shot. Nice.
The top floor of the Musée d'Orsay on the Left Bank is filled with impressionist art. Hundreds of people meander their way past van Gough, Monet, and Degas, periodically stopping to examine something that catches their eye. School children are taught from an early age to appreciate these Masters. I couldn’t resist capturing this group of students with their parents in front of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Bal du Moulin de la Galette, with their teacher passionately sharing her knowledge.
When I.M. Pei unveiled the Louver Pyramid in 1985 it was a scandal. The French hated it. So out of place. Against the classic design. Ironically, it mirrored the same feelings as when the Eiffel Tower first came into being. But, just like the Eiffel Tower, 20 years later, the French loved it. Late in the afternoon, while walking through the square, the sky was grey, the buildings were dark grey, and the Louver Pyramid was there, without grandeur or color, waiting for me to capture this monochrome.
I was there a few days before the tragic fire at Notre Dame. The first responders made a herculean effort and saved this 8-century-old structure. Such a special place for Parisians and tourists alike. Inside I discovered a young boy and a woman in the process of lighting candles. This location is just inside the entrance. It’s an unlit area, save for the glowing wicks of lighted candles. Bumping up my ISO to reach into the shadows, I captured this special moment.
At the conjunction of Rue Auber and Rue Halévy is Avenue de l’Opéra, right in front of the entrance to Palais Garnier. Looking out from the balcony, the buses and people formed a nice triangle like image. I like the way the sky is darker above the sun lit buildings and lighter over the buildings engulfed in shadows. Voilà.
At the crack of dawn, Parisian workers are already at work. On my way to pick up my daily fix of croissants and baguettes at 6:30 a.m., I spied this sidewalk cleaner. The motorcycles were barely touched.
In 2015, “love locks” were removed from the Pont des Arts bridge, because the weight was, well, weighing it down, posing a danger. But that hasn’t stopped these padlocks from returning. Give it time, and the spaces will once again fill up.
Back in Montmartre, near the Sacré-Cœur, on Rue Saint-Vincent, a bit of graffiti adorn this wall. One phrase stands out -LA VIE EST. Perhaps it’s an idiom meaning “life is”. I don’t really know. But the texture of the wall and the street called to me. And, the lamppost added balance and interest.
On Rue de Rivoli, across the street from the Palais Royal Musée du Louvre Metro Station, is the Passage Richelieu. Walking through it is like walking through a tunnel - dark, haunting. While half way through, I spied two people in silhouette, dragging their rolling suitcases, as they walked toward the Musée Louver Pyramide. The Pyramide's glass patterns caught my attention. I quickly changed to my telephoto lens, as I wanted to compress the distance between the glass and the people. Adjusting my focal length,I positioned myself within the tunnel, then waited for the right moment. Click!
“The Thinker” at the Musée Rodin, peeking out from behind finely manicured trees. Behind him, Les Invalides, a place to provide of accommodation and hospital care for wounded soldiers for many centuries and where Napoleon rests. I’m told The Thinker represents Dante, leaning forward to observe the circles of Hell, while meditating on his work. How appropriate, then, for these two images to be brought together.
West of the Louver Musée stands the Carrousel Arc de Triomphe. The crowd in front gazes through its arches, past the Obelisk of Luxor in the Place de la Concorde, to the Arc de Triomphe at the end of Avenue des Champs-Élysées. I like the way there are arches within arches. Pretty cool.
A close up of the 3300-year-old Obelisk of Luxor, that once stood at the entrance of the Luxor Temple in Egypt. It now stands where the guillotine stood during the French Revolution. Note the hieroglyphs. Wouldn’t it be funny if it translated into “Kilroy was here”! No, not really.
Notre Dame sits on Île de la Cité in the 4th arrondissement of Paris surrounded by the Seine River. This image was taken just days before the tragic fire on April 15, 2019