Paris by Kamps

Photo Edition 2013


Have you ever been to Paris? Or are you planning to come over here any time soon? You will remember – or you are about to discover – one of the most beautiful cities in the universe, and you will do a fine piece of time traveling in a miraculous city, virgin of wartime destruction and virtually untouched by destructive architects. Strolling in a perfect 19th century urban landscape, you will come across jewels of remote times – Notre-Dame, Louvre, Vosges Square – while taking pictures of 21st century Paris – the metro crowds, the extraordinary ethnic mixing, and of course, the locals having lunch at the countless bars and restaurants during their 12 o'clock break.

You aren't the only observer of the scene, though. A secret Parisian sport is taking pictures... of tourists! Yes, we see you too! We see you while you are posing before Mona Lisa (page 9), Sacré-Cœur or the Eiffel Tower. We observe, cautiously, how you cope with French cuisine. And if you arrive in the summer, as many visitors do, we follow you at Paris Beach along the Seine river bank when most Parisians have fled the city and those who have stayed are in high spirits (p. 27). You will admire the particular blue of the Parisian summer sky over Madeleine, Opera, Northern Station, Louvre and City Hall (53), and appreciate the astonishing variety of human outdoor activities (72). However, it is less probable that you witness one of the most amazing moments of Parisian Life: winter sun worshipping (85). Winters are harsh in Paris. People leave their houses in morning darkness, disappear into narrow metro shafts, live under a mousy grey sky during the few daylight hours, and return to their homes at nighttime. This regime – dubbed by the locals as 'métro-boulot-dodo' (metro-work-sleep) – bears some resemblance with living in a coal mine, foul air inclusive. It is therefore only normal that at the very first sign of sun rays penetrating the misty evergrey, Parisians rush out in the thousands to fill the parks and the few narrow Café tables exposed to light. Every single sunny spot becomes paradise.

Back to the present. Over the next few days, you will continue to explore unpredictable Paris, old and young, nostalgic and modern. You will have lunch (108), explore Paris by night (124), do some shopping and visit more distant places like the Eiffel Tower, the Sciences City or the Grand Arch (134). In a few years, you will see the Halles rebuilt (148). Unfortunately, you will probably not see the interiors of family apartments (152) because Parisians are secretive and protect their privacy jealously, and it could take several trips before gaining access to intimacy. Don't despair. Chances are that you will fall in love with Paris and return soon to see how life evolves in this urban marvel. Be assured that you will always be welcome. Just be aware of local photographs...

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