Saturday, September 24, 2011

Misbehaving In Paris !

.
.
.
A twist of fate took me into Paris today, and I confess, I behaved very badly. I spent the entire afternoon walking hither and thither taking photographs wherever I could find them. Strangely enough, I found rather a lot of them, over three hundred if you must know. Given that this week marks the third birthday of this blog, and that it also marks the second birthday of James Weekend Reflections, I thought I would dare to share with you a rather large dose of today's photographic bounty, if you can bear it, from a day spent misbehaving in Paris, including rather a few photos containing reflections of various sorts. I hope you won't catch a bad case of sensory overload and bail out on me before the sunset. So, without further ado, the walk started (and ended) at the Place de la Concorde, as there is a convenient underground parking space there, almost immediately in front of the American Embassy. Ah, Paris. What is it about Paris that makes people from all over the world want to come here ? Is it because Paris may be among the most photogenic cities on earth ? I don't know how many hundreds of cameras I saw today, in all sizes and forms, but they were everywhere I looked. Collectively, I wonder how many photos are snapped in Paris on average every day ? Millions ? More ?
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
I have to admit, and Grenouille please forgive me, I can't help but look at the ladies when walking around Paris. Along with cameras, there is an abundance of lovely ladies to admire in the City of Light.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Couldn't help but stroll through the Tuilleries park, one of the highlights of which are the people who come out with sailboats to rent for sailing on the fountain ponds.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
For some reason these ancient sailboats always make me think of the book/film The Red Balloon. Paris from another age.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
A red headed boy set about launching his ship across the circular sea. Some forty years ago I too was a red headed boy in Paris. Funny how some things in life go full circle, returning to where they started. You may want to start counting the reflections from here forward.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Another time-honored tradition in Paris parks . . . feeding the pigeons. Were it Wednesday I would have put this in for World Bird Wednesday. Anyway, not sure an ordinary Parisian pigeon would be suitable birdlife for that venerable venue.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
What walk in Paris would be complete if it didn't get to the Louvre at some point, that focalisation of fine arts from throughout history. One can feel the weight of culture in the air. Or is that just pyramid power ?
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Not far from the Louvre, I liked the looks of this bar, called Bar N'Importe Quoi... which I read as basically meaning "Anything Goes". They seemed to welcome hats, judging from the two in the window, and a third in a reflected form... who was that masked man ? (That's what the ladies looking out of the poster were asking.)
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Perhaps I will add angels to the list of abundant visual gastronomy in Paris, along with cameras and ladies. For unfathomable reasons, I saw quite a few angels today. At many angles. These two were beseeching me to deposit any loose coins I might be carrying in their treasure chest.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
In a church near the Louvre . . . Sainte Genevieve, patron saint of Paris . . .
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
It being rather warm this afternoon, after a few hours of the incredibly hard work which is seeking out photographs waiting to be stolen from the greedy jaws of passing time, I took a break in a café, ordering a tall cold panaché. (that's half beer half citronnade for the un-initiated, very refreshing) The interior decoration of the place consisted nearly entirely of portraits of Native Americans. Someone went to a lot of trouble to collect all those portraits and have them nicely framed. My hat was off to whoever it was that cares enough to want to keep their memory alive, while so many would rather simply forget the whole tragic story.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
My path led me past the Paris stockmarket building, which is not open to the public, as I was informed by a perfectly nasty doorman. No wonder ; they wouldn't want any outsiders to see all the shenanigans and black dealings that go on inside those circular walls. Much better to be out sailing a sailboat in the Tuilleries than to try to make any sense of the convoluted chaos which worldwide stock markets have become. Bands of thieves and lairs of the larcenous, working with virtual derivative tools so complex that even the criminal minds which conceived them no longer control the monster they have created. Thumbs down on investment bankers and traders everywhere. Throw them to the lions, I say. The world would be better off without that breed of leeches who create nothing of value, they just suck the life blood of others. (sorry for ranting, but it really infuriates me that the very small holding in stock I have - err, had - is worth ZERO today, thanks to irresponsible market forces, driven by speculation, managed by people with six or seven digit salaries and bonuses) Outside the stockmarket building I saw this stack of road signs, and figured these must be the directions the traders are following. No wonder we are in such a MESS today.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Putting that behind me, I wandered on, and stumbled on two damsels with their heads in the clouds, dreaming, dreaming of a better world. This may be the most ethereal reflection photo I've ever taken. I'm not one for patting myself on the back, far from it, but I am rather pleased with this one. Perhaps also because there is almost a glimpse of décolleté here.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
A building is being torn down outside and above the Forum des Halles, the old market of central Paris. Fortunately, they hadn't torn off all the reflecting panels on the outside yet, leaving a vast array of reflections shining just a little bit longer there.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
One sees the strangest sights on side streets in Paris. Lions . . .
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
And bears . . . (I was keeping my eyes peeled for tigers)
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Funny, apparently I am not the only one out there with strong feelings about banks and traders ! Yo !
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Urban street art appears in many forms all over Paris. Rarely fails to capture my full attention.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
I mentioned angels earlier. This sidewalk chalk artist was well along in an angelic rendering in the square by the Centre Pompidou.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Adjacent to the angels, another artist was busy on a large mural.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
He was accepting alms from passersby to put food on the table. I tossed a coin in the tin. I hope he makes enough to survive on for some years to come. Producing art on Paris promenades seems a worthy calling, imho. An honest undertaking.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
"Je suis an Artiste" he proclaimed. "I am an Artist"
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
The famous fountains by the Pomidou Center. One of the most photographed sites in Paris no doubt, up there with the Eiffel Tower and Jim Morrison's grave.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
There she was again, that cryptic messenger . . . It's a bit hard to read, but the bubble says , "Things Got Out of Control".
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
This enigmatic face was in the Eglise St Merry, or Saint Merry's Church, a block from the Pompidou Center. Which just happens to be where la Grenouille and I got married 19 years ago come December.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Another trip in reflections. And there is that guy in the hat again. He seems to be everywhere I go.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
On the footbridge across the Seine between the Ile Saint Louis and the Ile de la Cité, behind Notre Dame Cathedral, a gentleman was creating large soapbubbles, using two sticks with strings between them. What better way to entrance all those people passing by who may still be children at heart ? (Like me ?) I won't tell you how many pictures of giant bubbles I took.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Crazy undulating forms in irridescence.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
At the far end of the bubbling bridge, a strangely decorated form of locomotion awaited me. A rebel on a mission. He didn't like traders either.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
An unbelievable assortment of objects adorned his most original vehicle.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
The Memory Factory... err, the Souvenir Factory... so this is where they all come from.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Did you ever see a tree with legs ? Well, there's a first time for everything.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
By the time I got to the far end of the Ile de la Cité, the sun was already going down behind the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
And by the time I got back to the Place de la Concorde, night was falling fast. With that I bid you good night ; for traipsing about Paris making hundreds of photographs is exhausting work, errr, fun, and I'm ready for my beauty sleep. I hope you enjoyed an extra long installment on this continuing creation, and that it didn't prevent you from doing anything important you needed to get done today.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

43 comments:

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Merci for the tour, giving me my Paris "fix," almost like being there walking with you. That little redheaded boy is adorable as you captured him between the boat sails.

The next time I visit Église Saint Merry, I will think of you and la Grenouille... Félicitations!

Bises,
Genie

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Well, you've delayed my afternoon nap by a few minutes... You drew me in, you did, to that city of cities; one I haven't visited yet. Am toying with a side trip from Leamington Spa in December! Anyway your Parisian essay definitely deserves a pat on the back. Irridiscent pigeons and bubbles, air heads (very clever) and other boobs, as well as a little vehemence to leaven the idyll... great stuff.

Bienvenue chez French Girl in Seattle... said...

Owen, thank you for stopping by today. I love to hear from you and thoroughly enjoyed your post on la 2CV. As for this long stroll around the Right Bank, well... it was utterly delightful, bien sûr. My favorite pics: the series on the old wooden boats in the Tuilerie Gardens. I have several pictures of my son playing there over the year and never fail to wonder how many little children these ancient boats have seen since the 19th century... Another favorite shot is (you could have guessed) the signs by the Stock Exchange. ;-) Bon weekend cher Owen. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Alistair said...

Formidable!

Merci Owen.

la Belle's said...

it is fantastic all what can be seen in our wonderful Paris when you are not locked in an office room on a beautiful sunny day!
Thank you for opening the windows so I can take my mind off for a lovely tour in Paris.
Bizouxxx de la Belle's

Henrietta said...

Huh Thank for this tour, it's like I have been there:) Gorgeous

Steve said...

Happy third blog birthday. Your eyes gets sharper and keener with each passing year...

K'line Bloom said...

Les énormes bulles et le contestataire nomade, j'adore ! Bises Owen et plein de belles photos encore pour cette 3e année...Amitiés

s.c said...

Well some really great pictures. Thanks for showing

linda said...

Wonderful, wonderful photos! Stunning reflections and those sailboats--just magical!

mythopolis said...

A really collection of photos and commentary...more of such would be always in order. The incredible bike contraption belongs in a museum...every bit as extraordinary as the found object collage works of Rauschenberg or Ed Kienholz.

After viewing these I would have to say that even the pigeons are more beautiful in Paris!

Jane said...

Awesome series of shots, well done:)

Catherine said...

looks like your hithering and thithering bore much fruit - what a marveloous sequence!! Greetings from the Riviera and Happy 3rd birthday - ditto!!

ρομπερτ said...

Twenty years since last I went through Paris ways - thank you for the many memories and your effort of creating such dreams by your photography.
Please have you all a good Sunday.

Nevine said...

Oh, what a feast for the eyes, Owen! I can't help but ask you to please keep going to Paris... and please keep misbehaving! Yes, she does capture everyone's fancy, doesn't she?

Your photos have put a smile on my face... lovely... each and every one of them!

Thank you for sharing these delights!

Nevine

louciao said...

My my my, said the spider to the fly...you have certainly caught me in your web of Parisian sights and verbal delights here tonight, Monsieur le crapaud. In truth, I breezed through last night but as darkness fell so swiftly, I had to book myself a room in Montmartre so that I could venture out again today and revisit the attractions, following your trail at my leisure.
How gratifyingly different it is to visit a famous city with a photographer/flanneur as guide, catching and hatching visions not normally seen by the uninitiated (try spelling that after a tall glass of panaché!).
Difficult to choose a favourite photo, but the one of the little red-haired boy striding purposefully along with the carted sailboats in the foreground strikes my fancy. And the gloriously humble pigeon and artiste, both! While the reflection of the mannequin and guy with the goo-goo-googly eyes with the mysterious hatted man floating in the streets of Paris within/without has me quite mesmerized.
Oh yes, you have outdone yourself with this post. A big birthday blow-out! Close your eyes and make a wish. I know what mine would be...
(P.S. This whole scene brings to mind the Judy Collins song

http://youtu.be/TOMEjsMY14A
(as a father, yourself, you might relate to it)

Happy anniversary to the Magic Lantern Show. Long may it shine! It does much to light up my life, and that's a fact.
:-)

namaki said...

Wow ! This is quite a trip in Paris !!! thanks for sharing !

Stickup Artist said...

What an amazing day to tag along to see the sights of Paris through your lens. A dizzying, dazzling set of images from past to present. I am full with the life of the streets in all its glory and diversity and feel your excitement and love for the world around you as you take it at face value for all its worth. This post is a celebration!

Anonymous said...

Old Gray Mere said:
After a memorable Alan Krantz concert in the Quad auditorium, we came home to this WONDERFUL blog. I am speechless. So is your Dad.

James said...

This is an outstanding post! I loved the pictures and the commentary. I's like I was able to spend another day in Paris with you! I think I might have run into the same rude guard a couple of years ago.

Funny you should ask, I did see a tree with legs. It was in Paris last fall. I'll have to find the picture and I'll let you know when I post it. :)

Nita Davis said...

Thanks for the great tour. So many wonderful and amazing sights. You captured some great shots. It looks like so much fun. Have a wonderful week.

Crosby Kenyon said...

Since it's possible I'll never get there, I appreciate the tour.

Tess Kincaid said...

I can't decide which I like better the image of the saint, or all the Native Americans... Thank you for the lovely poem...

Lydia said...

Viewing this post was on my to-do list for the weekend, after having been tempted by the first words in my sidebar thingie. It certainly was worth waiting until late Sunday night to have the house quiet to end my day with such a beautiful tour. I really lingered over your words and each image. I was really touched thinking of you being a small red-headed boy there in Paris 40 years ago, and also by realizing that it is where you were married. If we all could/would follow our hearts the way you did yours there would be many more fulfilled lives than there are. I love how much you love it, all of it, there.

I loved most the sunset photo with the lights on the boat, and next best for reasons I cannot describe is how you captured the few remaining reflection glasses on the building that is being torn down. It looked like a lovely building to me...

Dee Newman said...

Ah, Paris . . . my favorite city. Great photos and commentary. Thanks for sharing Owen.

lgsquirrel said...

My goodness. Thank you for the tour of Paris and not just the usual sights but the real life of the people and the streets.

Owen said...

Dear Friends,
It's been a busy BUSY weekend, and I'm so slow getting back here to read and enjoy, marvel at, ponder, reflect on, ingest, digest, regurgitate and chew on, cherish, wonder at, and simply feel heartwarmed over all of your words here, each and every one... already it is late Monday night, and I must be off to bed for the workaday week picks up again tomorrow... and I fear there may be public works going on in our street tomorrow morning, with jackhammers and truck motors, etc, creating less than optimum sleeping conditions for the out of phase night workers among us.
.
.
Dearest Belle's, and Old Gray, thanks so much for stopping by here and leaving a word or two, can't tell you how happy I am to see you.
.
.
Yes, one and all, this visit walking through Paris on Friday was a trip down memory lane, all the way back to when I was ten, and we hiked all over Paris, from our hotel on the Ile de la Cité... very close to where the sunset shot was taken here. And I'm very, very honored and pleased that you wanted to take the trip with me, and leave a few words. I thank you... Be well until the next time...

Owen said...

Steve, I wish my eyes were getting sharper and keener... I just had to get new glasses, for the old prescription was already way off... ain't gettin' any younger !

Owen said...

Lynne, I tryed to spel haching and cat ching, but I fayled miserablee...

It is your long and wonderful comments that light up my life, I assure you... am gonna get around to an e-mail one of these days soon, the bean curd counter b.s. is still not over with, but I am trying to put a bright face on it all... As the Grateful Dead said in "He's Gone"... "nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile" !!!

Owen said...

Again, a hundred thousand shining thank you's to you ALL !

Gary said...

Great tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Andrew said...

Paris is a wonderful city to visit...lovely images Owen and thanks for adding it to WBW I would have missed it otherwise..

Roxana said...

oooh - you know that you have killed me with this post - such nostalgia now, and such longing...

(i adored the tree legs, of course, and the soap bubbles, i saw them too and i think i even photographed and shot them in a small video footage!!! but your angles there are wonderful, the bubble seems to swell and swallow everything, like a huge heart of the city)

eileeninmd said...

Wow, a great series of photos from Paris. The next to last shot of the sunset on the rive ris my favorite. Beautiful captures.

Jean said...

Thanks for the showing me around Paris!

Springman said...

The guy in the floppy hat is on fire! Your flights of fancy are remarkable, and exhausting.
By coincidence I watched the 1939 film version of Hugos "Hunchback of Notre Dame" just yesterday. The sets, as you know, are astounding in there depiction of Medieval Paris. As I frolicked in my chair with the bizarre celebrants taking part in the festival of fools I was transfixed by the grandeur, chaos, and shear fantastical nature of the illusion that is film. I thought the chimera complete. Today, here, I realised the missing element of Dieterle's masterwork. There were no pigeons in the bell tower!!! I am enlightened.
Your humble servant, Springman

Pat said...

What a wonderful tour of Paris, seeing the sights through your lens!
The last photo is a beautiful ending to this post.

Arija said...

Quite frankly, It did take me away from doing 'things' but I enjoyed the virtual traipse around much more than the time we walked miles and miles looking for an old violin to replace the one (also found in Paris) that we lost in the great bushfire of 1983.
Great photos, loved the beautiful flight shot of the ubiquitous Paris pigeon and all else . . .

Looks like I just have to put you on my reading list . . .

Virginia said...

When I savor this remarkable collection of photos Owen, I think I should hang up my camera and call it a day! How dare I post one lone photo a day when you serve up this delicious buffet? You amaze and delight. I can't wait to stomp around Paris with you again.
V

Gwen Buchanan said...

What a visual extravaganza! I have never been there, but you have given me a huge taste on your walk... now if I ever do find myself in Paris, I will be prepared with eyes and mind wide open to take it all in.. there seems to be everything there. Thank you.

Nathalie said...

Owen there are so many photos in this series that command attention it's amazing. From reflections to street art and from piles of street signs to iridescent bubbles plus this oustanding pigeon on hand, you could have filled several wonderful posts. This is like a treasure chest! Thanks for the generosity with which you throw the lot at us. It would deserve lines and lines of comments !

THANKS !

Virginia said...

WEll I'm back after being led here by our James. I had another chance to look again at this remarkable collection. Shame on you for indulging us all in one helping. You should dole these out for weeks. Each one is a treasure. A book maybe?
V

JeannetteLS said...

Many years ago my sister and I behaved badly in Paris for six weeks. ONe of my favorite memories was sitting in the Rodin Museum gardens, drawing with our feet. Very few people saw us there, so that was not the paint. We pictured people through the years in here, strolling, posing, painting, sculpting, talking. We wanted to do something that maybe, just maybe, had never been done there. That's what we chose.

Why that thought occurred to me here? I don't know, but thank you for making me remember six of the most inspiring, magical, silly, beautiful, unnerving, ridiculous, romantic, moving weeks of my life.