10 January 2013
Lately I have been thinking about Paris (how surprising!), mainly for two reasons. On my coffee table is a black & white photography book by Henri Cartier-Bresson with pictures of Paris that I borrowed at the library. It's a joy to turn its pages. The other reason is a detailed email from a friend who spent New Year's in the city (picture me with a tray of sushi reading it and opening the links she included ... pure bliss).
The other day I was uploading some of my photos, as I felt the computer was working a bit slowly, and I realised that I still have some photos from my trip to Paris in October that I wanted to share on the blog. The Sacré Coeur and its surroundings in the Montmartre district in the north part of the city was our first stop. When we came walking up the stairs of Rue Maurice Utrillo (google map) we were greeted by the view you see in the top photo. I remember standing there in awe, taking it all in. The hill is truly beautiful and you have a view all over the city. We went inside to walk through the basilica and it was simply magnificent. The only thing that annoyed me were disrespectful tourists taking photos inside when it was clearly forbidden.
In the photos below you can see the view from the hill. The park below, called Square Louise Michel, is very charming. I have to say that I cannot stand that black tower building, the Tour Montparnasse, in the distance. I haven't read anything about it but I just cannot understand why it was built; planted there to ruin the beautiful view.
Personally, I find this area too touristy for my taste (friends have told me to go there very early on a Sunday or any other day to really enjoy it). It was fairly crowded outside the church and when we reached the Place Saint-Pierre street next to the park below there were annoying salespeople trying to catch our attention. It was the only place in Paris where I had a negative and touristy experience and felt myself wanting to get out of there.
By the way, if you ever find yourself walking down the hill please stay away from a street called Rue de Steinkerque. It's probably the ugliest street in the whole city, nothing but tacky tourist shops.
The book I mentioned above is called Propos de Paris (Paris à vue d'oeil in French) by Henri Cartier-Bresson. It contains 131 photos in black & white. I love the one of the nuns in front of the Sacré Coeur in the photo above. The book also contains this famous photo of a couple kissing at a café.
Paris photos taken in October 2012