Apart from the fact that something has DEFINITELY died in my fridge and I haven't yet plucked up the courage to reach in to the murky depths to find out just what it might be, I'd say I'm pretty darn delighted to be back in Paris after the Christmas break.
Couldn't contain myself... just had to go out shooting even though it was one in the morning, to grab any shots I could find.
The above sentence could also arguably have read: "Couldn't contain myself... just had to go out hunting for a late night source of alcohol even though it was one in the morning, to grab any bottles or cans I could find and just happened to have my camera with me..." but we'll gloss over that little detail... ;-)
The first thing that struck me on my ostensibly mind-numbingly boring walk along the Boulevard de Grenelle was the wry irony of the 'safe' cyclists' lane which the City of Paris have been setting up all over the place, with two of the protective bollards completely flattened by what can only have been a seriously bike-unfriendly monstrosity of some sort. Indeed, just the other day I saw a cyclist in this very corridor smash into a car that had nonchalantly hung a swift right blissfully oblivious to the fact that the poor little cycle lane even existed, much less our unfortunate ecological hero. And there was even quite a storm with the Mayor of the 15th arrondissement getting all het up about the 'imposition' of these cycle lanes by Mr Big Clogs-Mayor of Paris, Bernard Delanoë. His beef was that there was already far too much congestion on the boulevards and a chronic lack of parking spaces, which the space pinched by the cycling lane could only exacerbate. Welllll... you can't have everything, can you..? The image of the bike and the rider stirs up a morbid echo of those outlines they do on the floor in American films where someone has been killed...
I then came across this very strange shop window, with an antique frame, framing a painted security grill, with beyond it... the most charming living room with lots of chairs just waiting for a bunch of roudy revellers to come and stir things up a bit!
And finally, I thought I'd come across a scouts' convention or something, when I saw all the tents pitched on the traffic island squatting over the hot air outlets from the deep dark underground places of Paris. But no, I reckon these were tents given out to the homeless, Paris' less proud claim to fame that doesn't appear in the guidebooks amidst all the majestic Victory Arches and Towering Towers of Irony. The Homeless, wild weathered faces poking out from the temporary reprieve of the harsh grey night and the traffic, always moving...
© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005