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One of the things I did yesterday was transfer some of the photos I’d taken while traveling. For some reason, I thought I had done that in the past. Apparently not. I’ve posted a few of them on my French blog that were taken mostly on one day in December about three years ago.

 

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I went to the opera the other night, which got me to thinking, which got me to writing, and I’m still writing. Have you ever had one of those thoughts that led you to say to yourself, “Let me look that up.” Then that eventually led to looking something else up, and then something else. So, eventually, I’ll probably get a post up. In the meantime, I’ve downloaded some pictures from my camera. For some reason, I haven’t been taking as many photos as on previous trips. I’ve also tried drawing, but haven’t really done much. My visual imagination seems to be in a slow mode at the moment.

The first three photos were taken at the Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève. It’s considered an architecturally important building for its use of cast iron. At the time I was there, an interactive art installation was in progress. There was also an art installation at the Panthéon.

Well, I arrived in Paris yesterday around noon. Since I don’t sleep on flights, I was a wreck, a zombie fojap stumbling through the streets. Normally, I’d stop by the grocery store, get some necessary items, spend the afternoon unpacking with the hope of waking up fresh and ready to go with all my stuff organized and a few meals worth of food in the fridge. Instead, it’s unseasonably warm here, just beautiful weather, and I felt it would be a shame to no profit from it. So I went out to do a little photography in an area not too far from where I’m staying.

 

Well, sketch day seems to have turned into a bit of a bust. I was in the mood to draw out of doors today and did not change my plans and head to a museum upon seeing it was cold and rainy. I took a nice little stroll down to the bassin de l’Arsenal, but couldn’t find a convenient place to plant my butt that wasn’t already occupied by a puddle.

I did manage to get out one and a half drawings, but I’m too lazy right now to photograph them, so I’m going to tell all of you about a funny little detail I noticed the other day.

As you may have noticed, I like participating in the photo challenges hosted by WordPress. Although this site is on WordPress, I feel a little ambivalent about the idea of a “WordPress community,”  but that’s a rant for another day. I put my site on WordPress because I was simply too lazy to build it all myself. Well, who really has time. I don’t sew most of my own clothes either. Truthfully, I don’t understand why we still cook as much as people do. However, I like participating in the photo challanges because it gives me a chance to get out and see some blogs that I wouldn’t find and have a friendly exchange with some with whom I do not have much in common. It gives me lots of warm fuzzy feelings about humanity.

Well, this week’s theme is “eerie.” You see, this isn’t a normal vacation that I’m on right now. It’s more like a mental health trip. I feel much more cheerful when I’m here. So, I’ve been having difficulty this week trying to make an “eerie” picture. That’s part of the reason I went to the cemetery the other day.

The night before, or at least I think it was the night before, I went out in the evening with my camera hoping to get some eerie pictures. So I wandered around in the drizzling rain with surprisingly deserted streets, trying to see everything in a different light. The area around Notre Dame was disappointingly anything but eerie. From there, I wandered over pont d’Arcole.

spider_web_1

Me, I don’t find spiders in the least bit creepy or eerie. Since I know other people do, I took a few photos.

spider_web_2

The way the lights on the bridge shone on the webs, they are some of the best spider web pictures I’ve ever taken.

spider_web_3

Ah, location, location, location.

Since I’ve been here several times before and have seen most of the major monuments and museums, I’ve been spending this trip doing whatever interests me. That has included a couple of visits to museums, but they hadn’t been a big part of this trip. Then on Sunday, I decided that maybe I would buy one of those Museum Passes and go on a four-day museum binge. I’ve never bought one of the passes before because it’s only worth it if you see more than one museum a day. Now, that I had splurged on the pass, I meant to get up early so I could go to one museum, take a lunch break, and then go to another museum. So, of course I overslept today. Oops. That’s one museum off the list.

I decide that I would go over to the Cité of Science and Industry, over in the Park de la Villette.

My second day here, I walked along the Canal Saint Martin up to the Rotonde de la Villette, a fascinating eighteenth century building that I keep meaning to feature in a post. Today, I walked in that direction, but instead of walking along the Canal Saint Martin, I walked along the rue de Faubourg Saint Denis to the Gare de l’Est.

Crossing over a bridge, I saw what I presumed to be train platforms.

Crossing over a bridge, I saw what I presumed to be train platforms.

This is a photo of the decorative pattern on the railing on the bridge and the shadow it cast on a support.

This is a photo of the decorative pattern on the railing on the bridge and the shadow it cast on a support.

From the point where I ended my walk a couple of weeks ago, at the Rotonde, I walked alongside the Bassin de la Villette.

Here, a rainbow can be seen over the canal.

Here, a rainbow can be seen over the canal.

I paused to snap a few pictures of several boats that were tied up along the canal. This one had a sign saying that it was a cafe and perfomance space. I stopped in for a beer.

I paused to snap a few pictures of several boats that were tied up along the canal. This one had a sign saying that it was a cafe and perfomance space. I stopped in for a beer.

This is the inside of the boat. You go downstairs to get your drinks and then bring them up here.

This is the inside of the boat. You go downstairs to get your drinks and then bring them up here.

I did a quick sketch of a couple of men seated across from me. Two little girls came up and asked if they could see. Then they wanted to know if "les messieurs" knew about being sketch. I told the girls that I did not know.

I did a quick sketch of a couple of men seated across from me. Two little girls came up and asked if they could see. Then they wanted to know if “les messieurs” knew about being sketched. I told the girls that I did not know.

Here's a pretty shot of the canal.

Here’s a pretty shot of the canal.

As I approached the museum, I saw a second, even more impressive, double rainbow. You can see spots of raindrops on my lense.

As I approached the museum, I saw a second, even more impressive, double rainbow. You can see spots of raindrops on my lens.

The museum was a huge amount of fun. Because of its location, I don’t think it’s a top site for a lot foreign tourists, but it was jam-packed with French kids. Most of the exhibits are very hands on, so it’s especially good for children. frequently, when museums try to do innovative and interactive exhibits, I feel that they aren’t any more engaging than the usual static ones, however, I thing they’ve done an excellent job here. If you like science and technology, I recommend it even if you’re not a kid. If you bring children to Paris, this stop should be high on your list.

Every time I took out my pad and pencil, it seemed to start drizzling. If you happen to wonder how I choose my subjects, my method is really simple. I look for a convenient place to pant my butt.

I walked down to the Seine hoping to find a location with where I could get a bit of perspective. It the tip of the Ile de la Cité has a small park where I was able to sit down. A weeping willow tree framed the pont neuf in a way that was decidedly picturesque.

pont-neuf-2

However, it started to rain before I could get very far on my sketch. So I got up an walked along the river. The rain stopped as I was passing by a bench. I started to draw the bridge from the other side.

pont-neuf-1

Then, of course, it started to rain again. So I packed up my pad and pencils and headed for a cafe.

There was a very pretty young woman at another table and when she wasn’t looking I tried to sketch her. When she looked back my way, I put the pencil down, not noticing a slight slope to the table. The pencil rolled off and I lunged to get it, knocking over my coffee. The waiter was kind enough to bring me another.

I’m afraid my sketch doesn’t do her justice. She was exceedingly pretty.

woman-in-cafe

After finishing my meal and my coffee, I headed home.

In part because I am keeping a blog this year, I’ve been photographing far more obsessively than on previous trips. However, it makes a person look at things differently, often less intensely. Your experience is mediated by the camera even when you are not looking through it. I realized that this evening when, shortly after sundown, I was crossing the pont Louis-Phillippe. It had stopped raining and the sky was just starting to clear. The sky was a blue-gray and the river was a blue-gray, reflecting the sky in the distance, blending into a brown or greenish gray in the foreground. The buildings appeared pale, gray, yet almost pink. The towers of Notre Dame loomed to my left and, in the distance, the slate gray roofs of the turrets of the Conciergerie poked into the sky. Over them, spots of pink and orange dotted the sky where the clouds had moved away revealing the day’s last bit of sun. In the meantime, the street lamps were illuminated with their odd orange light and reflected as inverted exclamation points in the Seine.

Taken by the harmony of the colors, I thought momentarily if I only had my camera, then I realized it was better that I didn’t because I could enjoy the evening as an evening rather than as an image of an evening.