This evening, I was fortunate enough to meet some friends at Pont Neuf and explore the left bank's neighborhood of Saint Germain. Saint Germain is known for being home to Paris' extreme wealthy residents. The stores are even more impressive than those on the Champs Elysees. For example, Armani had three stores on the street we explored: Armani, Armani Casa (because OF COURSE you need that Armani office chair and matching desk), and the Armani Cafe. Ralph Lauren's high prices clothing made an appearance as well. We had quickly wandered into an area of unbelievable wealth. The women toted designer purses and strode in high heel shoes that probably cost more than my plane ticket to Paris. Regardless, the area is a gorgeous area, as you would expect. It didn't hurt that we were there during golden hour, so we got to watch the sun's golden hues light up the grand buildings.
But even amidst Paris' elite, nutella crepes are thriving at every other street corner.
Above: View of Pont Neuf from the left bank
I am lucky to have friends who let me photograph them in front of really famous museums. Musee d'Orsay acts as their backdrop; I haven't yet been in it this trip. Last trip, my sister and I made a day of it, including lunch in their cafe. It's been almost four years, but I can tell you exactly what I ordered. For those of you wondering, YES, French food really is that good.
Below: French students congregate on the ridiculously soft grass in front of the Louvre
I have been trying to go to the Louvre the past four nights or so because I've heard such wonderful things. It really is a beautiful, beautiful space at night (and during the day). It was also lovely because there weren't as many tourists wandering about the old palace's grounds at night. There are thousands of people that walk around the Pyramids every day, so I've found it difficult to get pictures there without obnoxious tourists.
But with interruption from tourists, there is room for pleasant interruptions. For example, tonight, there was a couple getting photographs taken. I tried not to step on the photographer's shoes, so I got a completely different angle. I still feel a little bad for photographing his subjects at the same time as him. Not that I should!! They're in public; it's not a private event anymore. So every once in a while, the tourists surprise you with an opportunity.
Also -- how blood red is that sunset??
They weren't the only couple I photographed today. These two are a little less center focused, but see if you can see the golden sun outlining them. This is the view from Pont Neuf down to the Square du Vert-Galant, or as I like to reference it: Point State Park, Paris edition. For those of you familiar with Pittsburgh's most famous park, there is a river on both sides and a point that looks out onto one river, merged from the two before. In Paris' case, all are the Seine, but it still feels like a smaller, European-ized version of Point State Park. I lovingly called it Pont Neuf Parc, but it's official name is Square du Vert-Galant. Just so you are all well informed of the proper names of Parisian parks.
Above: A fountain pool in the Louvre's courtyard
I'm sure if you're viewing this post on any format other than a phone, you'll see that this is not the highest quality photograph. I apologize for that. My re-pohotographing abilites appear to be quite poor. Something to work on, I assume. (But why...?)
Anyway, I ordered a Polaroid camera before I left for Paris, bought a bunch of film, tested it out on my family, ordered more film and off to Paris I went. While here, I've been photographing my social life. No one wants to bring a big, bulky camera with them to a cafe, so I decided this would be my solution. Under the photograph, I write the names of the subjects (for example: Anastasia, Azia, Kasey), the location (Champs de Mars), Paris, France and the date. It's been an excellent and fun source of documentation.
When I was saying goodbye to so many dear friends back home, I realized that not only didn't we have any photographs together, but I also didn't have any photographs of our interactions. I hadn't photographed any of the hours we spent getting coffee, chatting at the park, walking, talking, etc. These friendships are undocumented ghosts. So I decided to do better at photographing my social life. Thus, snapshots of Paris through polaroids. Off to a good start thus far! :)
Also, one last photo! My roommate was talking about the poetry of Paris' clouds, and ohhhh man, the lighting in our room was absolutely stunning. So of course, we had an impromptu photo shoot that lasted all of 3 minutes until I got this shot. So meet my roommate, looking stunning in some natural window light.