Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg
Paris, France
December 31
Writer, copy editor, translator, travel planner. Head servant to my cat.
A reader, a writer, a fingernail biter, a cat person, a traveller, a cookie inhaler, an immigrant, a dreamer. …And now, self-employed! If you like my blog and if you're looking for sparkling writing, painstaking proofreading, nimble French-English translation, or personalized travel planning, feel free to check out


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AUGUST 26, 2012 1:31PM

A photographic trip around Paris

Rate: 32 Flag


Recently, I came across some pictures I've taken of various places around Paris over the past year or so.  Voulez-vous take a little photographic trip avec moi

If you do, let’s head down to the Metro, and check out a map to see how to get to where we’re headed first….



 The train's coming!



The Hôtel de Ville (Paris City Hall) back in early May, all decked out for the day newly sworn-in President François Hollande formally met with Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, my favorite politician:


 There’s a saying in France: “When Paris sneezes, the country catches cold” – in other words, Paris is super-important, hence the reason the new President sort of has to “present” himself to our Mayor.  

Close-up of the decorations.  Some had the symbol of the French Republic (“RF”), while others bore the seal of the City of Paris:





Not far from here, behind Notre-Dame, the small Pont de l'Archevêché is adorned with love locks.  This trend’s origins are unknown, but it was popularized a few years ago by an Italian novel whose main characters write their names on a lock and attach it to a lamppost on a bridge, to symbolize being together forever.  While some cities have embraced the fad, Paris didn’t, at first: a few years ago, another bridge, the Pont des Arts, had its love locks stripped off in a secret pre-dawn mission. Recently, though, the government has become resigned to the locks. What do you think – are they beautiful statements of love, or an eyesore?





Let’s head somewhere a little calmer.  Here’s a quiet street in the 9th arrondissement, a neighborhood deeply ensconced in the Right Bank.



On the same street, a building’s ornate doorway and lower façade:



If you take a short walk northwards, you’ll end up in Montmartre, a village-like neighborhood on a high hill.  Here, a pug hangs out in a store display window.  He seems caught between feeling a little depressed, and a little distressed….





Nearby, there's a cute place to eat cupcakes, which are THE trendy dessert in Paris now.  Let's have one in honor of that poor pug!


Montmartre and its surroundings used to be famous for their artistic residents – and for their cats. Steinlen lived here, and the Chat Noir cabaret (which as legend has it, was named for a stray black cat the owner found outside) depicted in his most famous work , was on the nearby Boulevard de Rochechouart.  On the hillside park below the Sacre-Coeur, several cats that probably belong to locals blend into the landscape pretty well.  Can you see them?



On another hill near the north of the city is the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.  Here, a breathtaking view from inside makes you feel miles away from urban life.



This charming brick building is at one of the park’s entryways:



Strolling southward, we find this old building that will soon be attached to a new one:


 Not far from here, another old apartment building waits to be demolished.  Architecturally, most of Paris looks like it did about a hundred years ago.  But demolition and construction isn't a total rarity.



Luckily, if a shopfront has an old sign, it normally is required to be kept on the building’s façade, regardless of what new store takes its place.  Which is a good thing, and even better when the old shop had a strange or funny name, like this one, the Boulangerie Quand Même (Bakery Nonetheless).




Back near the center of the city, night’s falling on the Grands Boulevards.  This building on the intersection of the Boulevard des Italiens and the Boulevard Haussmann, turns on its lights:



Further to the east, the Porte Saint-Denis reminds us that these boulevards were once part of the walls surrounding Paris.  In Louis XIV’s time, the walls were demolished and the Grands Boulevards, a favorite place for strolling, shopping, and socializing, took their place.  The Porte Saint-Denis was constructed on the site of one of the old city entrances, in honor of the king (you can see “Ludovico Magno” – Louis the Great – inscribed at the top).  In some ways, this arc still feels like a doorway; on the south side are fairly nice areas, while immediately outside the Port to the north, things are much sketchier…..



Walking a little further east, then slightly south, we come to the Place Élisabeth-Dmitrieff, where there’s the Temple Metro station.  

The decorative lamps here were in celebration of Chinese New Year; this area is one of several of the city’s “Chinatown”’s.


This clever graffito can be seen in other parts of town, as well.  Whenever I spot it, it makes me smile.




I hope you've had fun on this picture trip.  Sadly, all good things come to an end, as this photo reminds us:  Sand that was spread out the stone banks of the Seine during Paris Plages (a monthlong event that lets imaginative Parisians pretend they're sunbathing at the beach) is now gathered into piles to be transported away:




I guess it’s time to take the Metro back homewards.




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Love it. Must get back to Paris asap!!! :-)
Particularly love the picture of the locks... nice post.
Merci beaucoup for the trip! And who can notice the lovelocks when the grand buttresses of Notre Dame are to be seen?

You should do a video tour too so we can ride along the metro with you.
What a joy! I'll always have Paris. R
So enjoyed this, Alysa, thanks!
I stopped and stared at the Porte Saint-Denis for ages -- wow!
That one gate was enough to put Paris on the Life List.
I must go see all this wonderful architecture!!
...and maybe a friend named Alysa, someday : )
By the way, thanks also for the close-up of the locks as I kept imagining locks of hair for some reason...eek.
I vote eyesore on the locks. I first saw these on the Ponte Vecchio, but there was only two or three. I haven' t been in Paris in years. In fact, the last time I was there you had to flip a latch and open the metro doors manually. Your pictures make we want to go back. R
Lovely. Because it is a big birthday year for me, Bill booked us on a flight to Paris for a week, over Christmas time -- just days after we returned from there, and seeing you. So your delightful photo trip was most timely.
Fantastic Alyssa, thanks for the tour. A place on my bucket list. I paticularly found interesting the Paris Plages and " The Porte Saint-Denis" that reminded me of Greenwich Village.
Thank you for the photo essay. R
Makes my heart hurt with longing for the most beautiful place I ever saw.....
You're got a great eye for composition and a nice hand with a camera, Alyssa, and I like that your photos aren't trite or predictable. Very well done!
ohhhh...okay, Alyssa, I'll call you when I get there. Soon! Oh la la, you are a temptress, no doubt about it. Thank you, cherie. rrrrrrr vroooooommm, me in the avion on my way.
Tres jolie! I love the locks on the fence. I simply MUST get to Paris one day.
Ah, it is always a delight to see Paris through your eyes, Ms. Salzberg.
I say keep the locks, but there will come a time when the volume will reach critical mass. The bridge is only so big, after all. I really enjoyed the walkabout with you! Next time I swing thru, we'll have to have a crepe on the street. :-)
Wow, totally fantastic!
I'm green now, you know. You know that, don't you? GREEN!!!
*sigh* Someday I'm going to put my toes into the plage on the Seine...
Ah, Paris! Thanks for reviving the memories! Sadly, these days I mostly just transit through CDG. Gorgeous, Alysa!
I always wanted to go to Ρaris, I want to walk through the Louvre. As for the bridge with the locks, I have heard in the Greek news that this tradition is going to be banned... Your images are so beautiful, I like how you captured the movement of the cars. It is a beautiful city, thank you for traveling us all there.
Wonderful. I like the hundred year old look. I get so tired of southern california nothingness. History. Thank you so much for sharing the photos.
Whew! This was merveilleux!! Thank you for sharing. Loved the pug, the cats, and the locks, and the beautiful architecture. R.
Wow! You're right up there with Woody Allen, in your love letter to Paris. I thank you for showing the love locks. I read about them, but couldn't picture them. Having seen them in your skilled photos, I vote for them. Paris is the city of love. I also loved the Chinese lanterns, and I see my late cat, Beansprout, has reappeared as a happy Paris feline. Brava!!
oh my, the subway entrance is exactly the same as the ones in the illustrations for the old Arsène Lupin books i read as a kid (Arsène Lupin books are popular here in japan). paris seems like a city where the past and the present co-habit beautifully.
I love walking around Paris.
bye sand....!
got some in my various bodily crevices this summer, at a real beach...
Gorgeous photos from an avid eye, guided by a hungry soul,as usual.
Hungry for beauty. Looks like you found it in yr relocation.
Saw some jersey on snarky’s blog today.
Gotta prefer Paris.
Old old city. Way older than my New England village, founded 1623..
Deepens the soul to see this stuff. …
We keep it so shallow & new here, it gets to hurt the heart, to see an anomaly amidst the towers of the Megalopolis. Most of them? They have mirrors…in “my” city, Hartford, anyway. No one loves Hartford or ever will. It is probably why Mark Twain went all cynical & mean at the end. He lived here…

“ The people of those foreign countries are very, very ignorant… . In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.”

The language of the image bests everything… thank goodness you can weave images into words, too:

On the hillside park below the Sacre-Coeur, several cats that probably belong to locals blend into the landscape pretty well. Can you see them?
If I look closely, yes……..
Great Fun! So much beauty and character (with characters!) I like the fact that old signs are required to remain. Even when the words are prosaic, there's something romantic and magical about old signs.
Thanks so much for your comments, guys! I'm glad you enjoyed this jaunt through Paris, love locks and all!

Just Thinking - Though it would be gross in a way, I actually think the idea of love locks being locks of hair is kind of poetic!

Natsuki - Oh my gosh, I LOVE Arsène Lupin! I didn't know he was famous in Japan. As for the Guimard Metro entrances, sadly not all stations have them - they were the height of fashion when the first line of the Metro opened in 1900, but a few years later they weren't trendy anymore (hard to believe), so many of them were taken down and replaced with more modern, though far less beautiful, Metro entry signs. And the later lines that were constructed, never had them. Luckily, several have been preserved, like this one, the entrance to the Temple Metro station (line 3).
Alysa, thanks so much for the tour!!! Still haven't made it there, but I always love your photos, they bring me a little bit closer.
ps I vote FOR the locks!