Some street scenes from my neighborhood. In reflection, I wish I had taken an afternoon and just photographed up and down the street. There were so many charming little restaurants and shops along the Rue St. Louis en L’Ile, you could easily make a photo study of just that one street.
The Cure Gourmande candy shop was ALWAYS busy. Probably as much to do with the bright, cheery interior as it does with the candies and biscuits they sell. Who wouldn’t want to go in and browse, and maybe try a sample or two?
Please give me your feedback on these two – which do you like better? I’m on the fence as to which one works best.
This was one of the few opportunities I had to break out my Rolleinar close-up filter sets and take a picture of something small. Given the size and weight of them, even though I only used them maybe twice on the whole trip, I don’t regret bringing them, especially when you compare them to a dedicated macro lens for an SLR system. I was drawn to the different textures and colors of the wood of the door, the rusty iron of the lion head, and the painted metal of the snake. And believe it or not, this was hand-held!
In closing, here’s another restaurant/wine bar in the neighborhood, this one on the Quai de Bourbon, facing the Pont Marie. It really shows the age of the building, as nothing on it is really square or level.
Here are some photos I took of the apartment where we stayed. The apartment was at Number 6, Rue St. Louis en L’Ile. This was an outstanding choice of location and of apartment. It had charm, convenience, and comfort. The bedrooms were a touch petite, but it was never a problem. I would stay there again in a heartbeat. Our landlady, Francoise, was super charming and met us the day we arrived with a bottle of wine and a plate of cheeses she bought down the street at the fromagerie.
I was utterly charmed by the arrangement of this little velvet-covered chair in the dining room, next to the Chinese style sideboard.
The living room featured a chaise lounge by Le Corbusier. I suspect it is an original, based on the wear on the cowhide cover.
Looking out the living room window, this is the view when you look straight out.
Looking up the street on a sunny day:
And on a rainy day:
The Rue St. Louis is very busy with pedestrians all day, although it may not look as such down at my end of the street. A block further up is where the shops, art galleries, restaurants and food sellers begin.
This archway was directly across the street from our apartment, where the Rue St. Louis took a right turn to go out to the quay.
Even though it was raining, I stepped out on the balcony and looked down, to see this scene of the woman with red pants crossing the street:
Here is the Eglise St. Louis en L’Ile with its clock, up close, which you can see in the background of the sunny and rainy shots of the Rue St. Louis:
The église St. Louis has a gorgeous baroque interior replete with dark wood paneling, stained glass, and surprisingly enough magnificent altarpieces that somehow managed to survive the upheaval of the French Revolution. They regularly have concerts there as well as services, and it is well worth popping in if you’re passing by.
The Ilot Vache restaurant is on the corner of the Rue St.Louis en l’Ile and the Rue des Deux Ponts, which more or less bisects the Ile St. Louis into east and west halves. The Ile St. Louis was once actually two separate islands, one of which was the Ilot Vache (little cow island) because it was used as pastureland for Parisian cows. With the rapid growth of the city’s population in the 15th century, there was such a demand for more prime real estate that the two islands were merged into one and developed as residential space. Thus the name of the restaurant. The Rue des Deux Ponts roughly demarcates where the two islands were split. My dad and I ate dinner at L’Ilot Vache one night, and the food was quite good, even if the dining room was a bit crowded.
I managed to catch a pair of diners in the window of the restaurant.
This is one case where I broke my normal rule of shooting night photos with Portra 160 – these two were done on Ektar 100. I suspect that I had just a couple frames left on the roll of Ektar that was loaded in the camera when I set out to do my night shots, so I finished them off and then switched over to Portra for the rest of the evening.
Ok, it’s far from a comprehensive survey of the city by night, but whaddya want, I only had a single night for night shooting, so I confined myself to where I could walk to from my apartment.
One of the great things about where we (my father and I) stayed was the fact we were in walking distance of just about everything, from the subway to all the historical buildings and neighborhoods. Notre Dame was a stone’s throw away, across the bridge. Here is the rear view from the approach I took over the Pont St. Louis.
The front facade is fully illuminated at night, and they have built a set of large risers in the plaza in front that if nothing else serve as a great camera platform for photographing the towers. The night I was out shooting was the night of the full moon, so I got lucky and was able to get this shot of the tower and the moon.
Another view of the towers, from a side street. It had been raining that evening, so the streets were wet giving them that Hollywood movie look.
Another shot of the full moon, over a grand Hotel (Hotel in the Parisian sense of grand city residence/townhouse as opposed to place-where-you-rent-a-room-by-the-night) on the Ile de la Cite.
The Pont St. Louis, slick with rain. This is the bridge that connects the Ile St. Louis with the Ile de la Cite.
A view of the Hotel de Ville (Paris’ City Hall) from across the Seine. The white line at the river level is created by the lights of a passing river tour boat that has flood lights on the roof to illuminate the buildings on the quays as it passes. I don’t envy the people whose apartments face the river because of that, even if the boat tours do stop sometime between 9 and 10 pm.
Another view of the bridges across the Seine. In the background on the left you can see a rather castle-like building which is La Monnaie, the old French Mint where they used to make coins.
The last bridge of today’s program is the Pont Louis Phillippe, which connects the end of the Ile St. Louis to the north bank of the Seine. The bridge I used every day to get to and from the subway was the Pont Marie, which abuts the middle of the Ile St. Louis. I wanted to get a view of the bridges from water level, so I went down a set of steps on the quayside of the Ile de la Cite and set up my tripod at the very bottom – you can see from the facing set of steps they descend all the way into the water (I did not test how far down they go, as I had no desire to get wet, especially at this time of year).
The St. Regis cafe has a view of the Pont St. Louis. Notre Dame itself is hidden by the buildings across the bridge. On my excursion, I saw people sitting outside the cafe all evening – I returned home at nearly midnight and there were people still outside the cafe as it was closing up.
Here’s a look into the courtyard of one of the hotels on the Rue St. Louis en l’Ile, at number 51. I looked through the doorway, which had always been closed when I walked by in the daytime, and saw the light on in the library window on the second floor, and I just had to take that picture. I love libraries (I’m sitting in one as I type this, my modest personal library of 2000 or so books), so seeing in to one had a rather Proustian effect on me.
I shot all these on Kodak Portra 160 because I like how it responds to nighttime color better than Ektar. It has a less contrasty look which is good for night because night scenes are inherently contrastier than daytime scenes, and it handles overexposure better than Ektar.