A visit to Trocadero always finds people who go for a special photo shoot while in Paris. Over the many years of visiting Tocadero I have always enjoyed the show. This year when I arrived early one morning, I was taken with a particular woman, wearing a standout pink dress. She was having her own Trocadero fashion shoot and owning it. If you wait for a while, someone will come along, dressed to the nine's. I will have to put together an assortment of photos from the many visits.
If ever the pace of Paris gets too much, head out early in the morning for a walk along the Canal Saint-Martin. Take the metro to Republic, and the canal is a short walk from there. The connects up to the Seine through a tunnel, but there is a beautiful stretch of the canal to walk along with a series of locks. Stop at a bar or cafe along the canal, you will find your time very relaxing.
Napolean in 1802 ordered the construction of the canal as a supply route to bring water and other goods into Paris. A century later, Napolean's nephew, Napoleon III had Baron Haussmann divert the canal underground to eliminate barriers to the Boulevard Jules Ferry and Richard-Lenoir.
There is always something we have not seen before, and this year we went out the Philharmonie de Paris, the stunning concert hall in the Parc de La Villete. The architecture of the building is very interesting, the exterior is a combination of fluid, flowing aluminum and panels that create a basket weave effect. Of the tiles, there are 340,000 birds of seven different shapes that are meant to convey the feeling of flight. You can only tour the interior of the concert hall itself by guided tours, and they are sold out a week in advance. Book on-line before you arrive! If you are traveling with kids, well Parc de la Villete is the place to go. It is easy to get to, the metro stop is right at the centre.
The Seine has a major pull for me. It is like an life-artery that runs through the city, and as a photographer, the Seine provides countless photography opportunities. I enjoy evening photo walks along the river, stopping at the bridges to take shots of the city, the river, and the blurs of tourist river boats.
This year it was difficult to be around the Notre Dame. The cathedral is surrounded by a metal fence and the bridge closest to the church is closed. This year I start by evening river walk at the Pont Au Change. The name reflects the former bridge had goldsmiths and money changers on a 12th Century version.
The Font Neuf is the oldest bridge crossing the Seine. This bridge had major work in 1994 and 2007. Finally I do some shooting from the Pont Des Arts, a pedestrian bridge. From there I head over to the Louvre for some additional night photos of the pyramid.
We end the spring trip with a week in Paris. I thoroughly enjoy being in Paris. We have been in Paris every year for many years. This year I spent some time rue Reaumur, which is just a few blocks from our apartment. I have always been impressed with the architecture and for this trip I looked into the history of this street.
The street is an important architectural achievement. When Haussmann lead the re-design of Paris, eliminating many of the medieval streets to create broad boulevards, very strict specifications in terms of building height and facades were put in place. In 1882, 1884 and 1902 the restrictions were relaxed. Architects advanced innovative approaches and rue Reaumur is an example of the "new freedom" for architectural standards. Paris rose to the occasion and created a facade contest for buildings on this street, later the competition was extended to other areas of Paris. The most interesting section os from la Bourse to Arts et Métiers.
When you return to Paris as often as we do, being in Paris is not about seeing the "A Sights" but about enjoying the character is the city.
For example, one morning I stumbled across the rue des Colonnes, near La Bourse. The street has a set of arcades, the columns and walkways on both sides of the street for one block. It is thought this street, with its arcade, was part of the inspiration for a similar structure along the Rue de Rivoli.
The sights of Paris range from subtle such as the buildings in the Marais and other areas to grand buildings like the Louvre or the Palais Royal.
I enjoy exploring the galerie and passages of Paris. Mainly built in the 19th century, the glass ceilings created covered, and safe, walkways for shoppers to visit stores, cafes and even theaters. I have never seen the Feydeau, which you can enter at 10 rue Saint-Marc and ends at 8 galerie des Variétés.
I also went through the Passage des Panoramas which is thought to be the first passage, opening in 1799. There was quite the maze of galleries at this location that included the Galerie des Varieties, Galerie Saint Marc and the Passage Joufrey.
A block or so away from our apartment is the impressive Passage du Grand Cerf with its 12-metre high glass ceiling. It was built in 1825.
At one time there was over 150 covered passageways in Paris, now, about 30 survive.
I planned to photograph the rail stations of Paris. I was partially successful. While at Gare de Lyon decided to treat myself to breakfast at the belle-epoque restaurant, Le Train Blue. It originally opened for the Exposition Universelle in 1900. I wanted to be in the ornate dining room. The menu with breakfast at 9 Euro was a bit more than I would have spent but this would be the experience. It was. I read the menu wrong with an orange juice, coffee, and two small croissants actually costing 19 Euro -- 29 CDN.
The Gare de Lyon is one of the six large Paris railway stations, built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. It is the third busiest in Europe. Most of the original routes were to the south of France and would involve a stop in Lyon. A dark moment was in 1988 when a runaway train crashed into another train killing 56 people and injuring another 55.
We went out to see the exposition and photography the Louis Vuitton Foundation. The building was designed by Frank Gehry and has all the characteristics smooth and flowing lines that are common to many of his structure. The Foundation is located in the Bois de Boulogne On a previous trip I did take the metro and then walk about 20 minutes to reach the Foundation. This year, we bought admission tickets on-line and the premium ticket includes a free Shuttle Bus from the Etoile Metro stop to the center. That is the way to go!
One thing you should not do is have lunch in the Cafe - Le Frank. We were tired and hungry and made the fatal mistake of deciding to have a lunch while we were there. Why not? We had two chicken dishes (58E), a two lemon tarts (28E) and a bottle of rose wine (28E) for a whopping 114 Eros - about 175 CDN - ouch!
I met up for a number of outings with my friend, Vincent Marcolla (vm.parisphoto on Instagram).
One evening we walked from the Beaugrenelle area, across the Pont de Grenelle along the 1/4-size Statue of Liberty the US gave France, then along voie Georges Pompidou, the stairs of Passy and finaly the space at Trocadéro. Always an enjoyable time with Vincent. In terms of the photo above, we were a little early to get good light trails, but the main goal was to frame the Eiffel Tower and shoot in from anything but a straight on perspective. One of the benefits of being on social media, is the connections you can make with others.
I usually go out to La Defense to photography the office towers. The architecture is very interesting. This year, Vincent Marcolla introduced me to the area called Beaugrenelle. Beaugrenelle is the name of the shopping mall. The shopping mall is actually one of the largest in the city in terms of size. The mall opened in 1979. Business declined. In 2003 with a competition, the mall and the area was redeveloped. There are about 20 towers built around an elevated esplanade.
There are different metro stations in Paris, however, that really stands out is the Arts et Métiers station for Line 11. It takes its name from the Musée des Arts et Métiers, which is served by the station. In 1994, the station was redesigned by Belgian comics artist François Schuiten in a steampunk style reminiscent of the science fiction works of Jules Verne.