Archive for the 'The City' Category


Bonjour, La Rentree

American celebrate Labor Day today, a holiday honoring the labor movement. French are simultaneously buzzing about La Rentree, the exodus (for many) from long vacations to the cities and their jobs. Thanks to global warming, these days no longer feel very autumnal. Today’s high in Paris is expected to be 71F / 22C!

Seeing the Metro Differently

I’ve always had a fascination with the colored seats of the metro and photographed them before but there was always something missing from the photos, either the lighting was poor or the reflection of the fluorescent light marred the color. While waiting for the metro last month, I looked at the metro seats in a […]

Carving up the City

A reader named Philippa has informed me that the arrondissement system that divides the city is a fairly new element of city geography: The organization of Paris into its 20 arrondissements, spiralling out from the Ile de la Cité, seems so well established that you may be surprised to learn that the arrangement is only […]

Firemen Frolic

Yesterday in the 6th arrondissement I did a quick about-face on my Velib when I saw some handsome firemen whiling away their time in the station by playing ping-pong and working out on mats close to the large open entryway. At dinner, Parisian friends lamented that the calendars sold door to door by firemen each […]

Velib by the Numbers

It’s already been seven years since the first fleet of Vélib bicycles rolled out into Paris, grey and shiny and ready to offer Parisians a new mode of transport. That’s nearly as long as I’ve been a Paris resident. In that time, Vélib has become a fixture of the cityscape, a bike-share model of excellence […]

Accidental Art

I always thought the Louvre-Rivoli metro station was so cool with the fabulous fake treasures of the Louvre lining the platforms. I attempted to photograph it many times but the lighting was too dim. A few months ago they stripped the station bare to renovate it and the platforms now look like an art installation, […]

Rare Patriotism

Dancing in the street at PLace Clichy after France’s defeat of Switzerland in the World Cup last night. “This is the only time when French people get patriotic,” said my friend Pierre, as two guys on a motorcycle whizzed by, one waving a large French flag.

Holey Moly

Know this expression? “There’s a lot of Montmartre in Paris but not a lot of Paris in Montmartre.” Montmartre is holey hill, its stone having been excavated to build the rest of Paris. As a result, many of its buildings are now sinking. Including mine. Here’s a repairman doing yet another touch up on a […]

The Origin of the Omnibus

  I tend to gravitate to postcards like this because of the rich detail in the buildings – the names of businesses, the façades of the old houses, the advertisements, the spire in the distance (it isn’t a church, it’s the mairie – city hall – of the 10th arrondissement). Most of the buildings are […]

The Plight of Peddlers

On my way home from the Eurostar in a taxi recently, we hit an unexplained traffic jam at a strange time of day. When we finally drove by, we saw that the problem had been caused by a police raid on a flower peddler near the Gare Saint-Lazare. The poor peddler must have spent a […]

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