On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
This series was created by Alain Chamot (1971-2020).
I love these photos and this peek into life in this Paris neighborhood. ~WaterGirl
Ceci n est pas mon nym
I spent a couple days in June 2019 in the Montparnasse neighborhood of Paris, while waiting for my wife’s plane to arrive. I didn’t realize until I picked up a book of local walking tours that this neighborhood was the center of the famous artistic scene of the 1920s where so many famous artists, writers and musicians mingled (depicted in Midnight in Paris).
I tend to take photos of quirky things that interest me more than beauty shots, which I have no eye for. I hope that my fellow jackals find this interesting as well.
The organ of St. Sulpice Church. For many of us, Notre Dame is the most famous church in Paris, but in musical circles, St. Sulpice is at least as well known, perhaps more so, for the famous organists who have played and served there. So this is a very famous instrument.
Another shot of the interior of St. Sulpice.
Around the corner from St. Sulpice is this wall with the poem “Le Bateau Ivre” (The Drunken Boat) by Arthur Rimbaud, who wrote the poem in 1871 at the age of 16, reportedly at a cafe near this location.
While wandering around the neighborhood of Notre Dame Cathedral (which was closed due to the fire), I saw this poster for a Gospel concert to be held the next night. “Authentic songs of the Afro-American church.” The right half is from the concert itself, using my primitive Photoshop (actually Gimp) skills.
These performers are not English-speakers. Other than the songs themselves, there was not a word of English heard. Most are from francophone Africa and they do not come from the Gospel tradition. A fantastic concert and a wonderful multi-cultural experience.
One of my few more-traditional touristy subjects: the Jardin du Luxembourg, built in 1612 and I believe the oldest park in Paris. It is located on the grounds of the Palais du Luxembourg, where the French Senate meets.
This is another garden, the Jardin des Tuileries outside the Louvre. You can see the Eiffel Tower in the background. Although I didn’t go into the Louvre and mostly avoid major tourist attractions, I would have actually visited the Eiffel Tower. But there were no open slots.
This park, the Bois de Boulogne, is a little out of the way but definitely worth going to (during daylight; it has a little bit of a reputation at night). According to the Wikipedia article, it has been the site of an abbey, royal hunting preserves and chateaus, a failed royal silk industry, and invading armies. It is full of beautiful woods and walking trails, a big contrast to the urban center but only a short distance away.
One last shot from the Montparnasse neighborhood. This is a plaque on a hotel which lists some of the famous people who stayed there during the “creative effervescence” of the 1920s. The poem is by Louis Aragon, who lived there with his lover (later wife) Elsa Triolet. The poem, “Il ne m’est Paris que d’Elsa” was written in 1964. I think that translates as “It is only Paris for me with Elsa”.