I wasn't supposed to visit Paris
at this time. It happened just after the Catholic Easter in April this year (2008). I was planning to visit my family in Romania
during these free days. My wife's mother was in Paris
for visiting, and my wife was supposed to return from Romania
to meet her mother for a few days in Paris
, while I should have stayed a little bit more in Timisoara
. I was supposed to make the trip to Romania
by car, but in the days around our departure date, a serious snow period came upon. As I was supposed to pass several mountain passed through the Alps which were now closed or only practicable with winter chains, I decided to cancel the trip. I had changed my winter tires just a few days before...
So, after spending the snowy Easter in Lausanne
, as the weather was getting slightly better, I've decided to drive my wife to Paris
and spend there a few days. As they rented an one room apartment, suitable for two persons, I had to bring an inflatable mattress. I did not planned to stay the whole week, just a few days up to the next weekend, so I had to negotiate with them to leave the shopping time after my departure, an activity I am not really fond to.
Getting to and around in Paris
by car was fairly easy, but parking caused serious problems. I had to pay close to 100 Euro for parking for the 4 days that I stayed there. Unlike other cities that I visited, most of the streets in Paris
are opened to automotive traffic. Although enjoyable to drive right in front of Notre Dame with the car, I found it very annoying from the pedestrian point of view. Each time you are crossing the street or walking through the small narrow streets of central Paris
you can smell the exhaust of passing cars.
The weather during my stay was very strange. It was raining several times each day, with alternate periods of sunshine. The temperature however was very pleasant. Due to the changing weather, the sunsets were stunning. For example, we reach Louvre Museum after a walk in the rain during one evening. However, as we were approaching, the clouds were clearing out, leaving room for a gorgeous golden hour and a stunning sunset:
The inside of the museum was as stunning as the outside. An amazing collection of art-work from all over the globe, including the Mona Lisa.
As the days were fairly short, and sometimes rainy during the day, I had the opportunity to practice my skills in night photography. As our apartment on a back street of Champes-Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe was the first landmark that I have photographed, just in my arrival night.
Notre-dame came next, after several day attempts were rain was always getting in my way. I have discovered that the best position for photographing the church at night was from the back, to get the colors of the setting sun in the background. Long exposure of a passing boat on the Seine added to the composition. The amazing architectural features (the flying buttresses) are beautifully lighten up.
The Paris town-hall in the vicinity was also perfectly illuminated and a traditional carousel was operating in the square where a few hundred years ago guillotines were installed. Another less-known landmark of Paris - the church of La Madeleine, build to resemble a Greek temple proved to generate another amazing night shot of Paris.
is not beautiful only during the night. The changing weather left some room for some good day-shots too...
Facing the Louvre, there is another small triumphal arch: Arc de Triumphe du Carrousel. The complex of the invalids build by Napoleon Bonaparte is dominated by the Dome church, a golden dome architectural marvel. Place des Vosges is one of the best preserved ancient architectural projects of Paris
, dating back to the beginning of the 17th century, a place linked with the history of the musketeers and Cardinal Richeliu.
Although one of the most representative images of Paris
, the Eiffel Tower, is poorly represented in my picture collection of Paris
. The weather played against me on this one.
I would also like to mention a small palace (a former hotel) in the vicinity of the Dome Church, the Rodin Museum; a museum dedicated to one of the best French sculptors: Auguste Rodin, as one of the places that I've enjoyed most for its tranquil gardens.
Of course there are many other pictures that I've missed. I haven't made it to the Sacre-Coeur Church. I could've got a better shot of Eiffel Tower (maybe during the night too) or I should have got a better weather when I've visited the Palace of Versailles. Gardens and the Palace of Luxembourg and the other great chateaus around Paris like the Vaux-le-Viconte will be added on the visiting list on the next opportunity to travel to Paris
Until the, I hope you enjoy the rest of my images collection from Paris
, by clicking this link
leading to a dedicated light-box.