Bar du Central, rue Saint-Dominique

Sunday, 21 April 2013 by

Bar du Central, rue Saint-Dominique: Last night my old friend Adam Ostry came round for a drink. At the end of the night, past midnight, we walked up the road and had a glass of wine at the Bar du Central. Oscar came along and we sat outside (at far left of terrace in the photo above). I took the picture with my iPhone after crossing the road on my way home. It was about one o’clock in the morning.

An old photo of the Gare d’Orsay, built as a train station in 1898 and today famous as a museum for Impressionist art. Nothing much has changed in the past century, except the transformation of the old train station, built in 1898 as a train terminus for the Exposition Universelle that opened in 1900. Just above the station are the two towers of the Sainte-Clothilde basilica, to the left is the Invalides dome, and on the right stands the Eiffel Tower. The one object that gives away the date of the photo is the “Grande Roue” (Ferris wheel) just to the right of the Invalides dome. It stood at one end of the Champ de Mars during the Exposition Universelle and was demolished in 1920. We can therefore date the photo to circa 1900. The photo was probably taken from

My Parisian friends frequently tell me that my neighbourhood in the stuffy 7th arrondissement is, well, boring. It’s an observation that, at first blush, is difficult to dispute. I once read the 7th arrondissement described as “Poodleland” – a bourgeois enclave where rich ladies walk their little dogs along wide prosperous avenues. True, Poodleland is quiet, self-assured, and inward looking. Old aristocratic habits – and bylaws — keep trade to a strict minimum. There are no cinemas, no retail chains, no food concourses, no McDonald’s, no public swimming pools, and no sports gyms. When a Starbucks showed up in the rue Saint-Dominique some time ago, there was a mild flutter of incomprehension throughout the neighbourhood. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Poodleland was once the centre of bohemian nightlife in Paris. It even had a name: Magic City. Magic

On the banks of the Seine

Sunday, 10 February 2013 by

Took this photo yesterday afternoon while walking along the Seine with Oscar on our way to the Tuileries. The Seine’s banks are overflowing at the moment. You can see the high water level under the Concorde bridge. The Louvre is on the left beyond the bridge, and Notre Dame is visible in the distance.

The Pont Alexandre III: Past and Present

Tuesday, 05 February 2013 by

Yesterday I took the photo (top) of the Pont Alexandre III near my place. The second photo (below) was taken from roughly the same spot in 1900 — more than a century ago. In both photos the Grand Palais is in the background on the other side of the Seine. In 1900 the Grand Palais had just been built for the Exposition Universelle that year.

Me on the top floor of an empty Musée d’Orsay today looking through the big clock towards the Seine. The musée was closed to the public today, as it is every Monday, so I had it all to myself. 

New Year’s Day, esplanade des Invalides, on a walk with Oscar.

Oscar in Place Dauphine

Tuesday, 01 January 2013 by

    Oscar in Place Dauphine: Going to meet friends for lunch, I took Oscar along and on our way to the restaurant near Notre Dame we cut through Place Dauphine.

Oscar on the Pont des Arts covered with “love locks”: Long walk yesterday to the Tuileries, we then crossed the Pont des Arts where I took two of the photos above — the first of Oscar with the Pont Neuf in the background, the second in the other direction towards the Eiffel Tower. The third photo was taken a few minutes later as we walked along the quais lined with “bouqinistes” selling their books and trinkets. The photo shows Place Dauphine with the famous equestrian statue of king Henri IV on the left.

Oscar in front of the Invalides

Friday, 21 December 2012 by

Oscar in front of the Invalides today: We were returning from a walk passing in front of the Invalides looking onto the Seine. The gold dome, under which Napoleon’s remains are entombed, is partially visible top left. The equestian statue of Louis XIV is visible under the arch at the centre of the facade. The Sun King built Les Invalides in the late 17th century as a hospital for wounded French soldiers.