Photo Essay

Paris Then and Now

Little Girl at Paris Plages

I have lived in Paris for several years now, and it remains as intriguing as when I first arrived.

Formerly known as Lutetia (Lutece), Paris was conquered by Julius Caesar in 52 BC, and existed as a regional center under the Romans and in the early Middle Ages. It still remains a centre, not only as the political and economic capital of the country, but also for the millions of tourists who visit annually, as well as the millions people who flock here from across Europe to try to make a living.

For me, Paris remains a city of quiet charm where on any given day, you can always expect to experience the unexpected. For example, on a hot and humid summer night in 2009, I decided to take a walk around the city, as it was too hot to stay in my apartment. I started in one of the many covered passageways that dot the second arrondissement of Paris might help. At that time I lived not too far away in the Marais, so it was a quick walk.

These passageways have lots of little shops, tea-houses and bookstores that are a great relief from unpleasant weather of any sort, be it the heat and humidity or the rain. One in particular, Passage Vivienne, has a charming bookshop pictured below.

From there I made my way to the Seine, as I thought perhaps there might be further relief from the heat to be found near the river. It was also August, when the mayor sets up Paris Plages, the urban beach established each year along the banks of the river that divides the city.

I walked past Hotel de Ville and saw a man playing his cello on the bridge just above the river. I took a quick detour to get his picture before moving along to the beach. There, as I descended the steps, I saw small children at sunset playing in the mist showers (including the little girl pictured in the main photo). It has been one of my most popular pictures ever since - never underestimate the power of being in the moment! It's also a good illustration of why it's a good idea to always have a camera on-hand.

I then continued on to a fairground not too far away at the Jardin des Tuileries. On the way, I saw a man in the Louvre museum working away under his the light of his desk-lamp, possibly planning the next special exhibition in the museum. There, parents and grandparents awaited their children on the ferris wheels and carousels (also pictured below). I also saw a lone little girl holding onto the bags of her mother and sister as she awaited them, looking longingly at the carousel before her (also pictured below).

So as you can see, Paris never fails to charm no matter what the circumstances, and at any given moment you can feel like you've stepped back in time!

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12 responses

  • Michele Wambaugh

    Michele Wambaugh (Deleted) said (15 Apr 2012):

    Stunning images & wonderful write up! voted!

  • Brendan Kelly

    Brendan Kelly (Deleted) gave props (15 Apr 2012):

    I love it! I have only been to Paris once and desire to return and truly experience. Thank you for sharing.

  • JPG

    JPG gave props (16 Apr 2012):

    Story of the Week!

  • Carol Arntsen Masiak

    Carol Arntsen Masiak gave props (16 Apr 2012):

    wonderful photos and narrative - congrats on story of the week! voted

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (17 Apr 2012):

    A terrrific story - congratulations on making Story of the Week, well deserved!

  • Sarah Springer

    Sarah Springer (Deleted) gave props (18 Apr 2012):

    You have a curiosity and good eye for finding interesting images...a perfect set of parisian beauty

  • Daniel McMillan

    Daniel McMillan gave props (18 Apr 2012):

    Thank you for sharing this slice of life. I've never been fortunate enough to live or visit Paris, but your story helped me imagine it. :)

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (19 Apr 2012):

    Hell YEAH! Rad!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (19 Apr 2012):

    Congrats on making Story of the Week!

  • Marco Martinez

    Marco Martinez gave props (19 Apr 2012):

    It seems like you find a new city each time you go out. You seem to appreciate it more each time. Memory's tie to place is stronger than time.

  • Cory Nabors

    Cory Nabors (Deleted) gave props (19 Apr 2012):

    Very nice. Thanks.

  • Aaron Schwartz

    Aaron Schwartz said (27 Apr 2012):


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