Pont au Double Light Stream

Paris is a city where relics of many eras coexist together: Notre Dame from 1345 above the Pont au Double from 1883 and the futuristic light streaks of a twentieth-century riverboat. Perhaps that’s why the city makes such an excellent setting for cyberpunk fiction like William Gibson’s Neuromancer.

Pont au Double Light Stream

Notre Dame from Under le Petit Pont

The bridge that stands in this location has apparently been destroyed in various ways (usually swept away by the flooding Seine) thirteen times. I guess the fourteenth time is the charm, because the solid and secluded underside of the bridge now feels like the kind of place to hold a clandestine spy meeting.

Notre Dame from Under le Petit Pont

C’est Ici L’Empire de la Mort

The Paris Catacombs are a story of multigenerational effects: the mining of limestone for Paris’s characteristic buildings, the collapses of buildings into the voids the mining created, the efforts to reinforce the cavities, and ultimately the decades-long project to transfer the remains of six million Parisians to the space. At this point, it has earned the name “Empire of the Dead”.

C'est Ici L'Empire de la Mort

Notre Dame Avant le Feu

So many people have a connection to Notre Dame, and in the hours after the fire was announced, it seemed like everyone had their personal Notre Dame picture to show. The number of visitors explains the ubiquity: 30,000 people per day, 13,000,000 per year. That explains why the crowds in this picture, even on a rainy night in late November.

Notre Dame Avant le Feu

Enter the Clock Face

From a catacombs’ portal to one with a bit more life: the back side of this clock face at the Musée d’Orsay is apparently (from the cell phone screen in the foreground) the perfect location for a social media moment. In the window, the view across the river to the classiest parts of Paris provides the right counterpoint.

Enter the Clock Face

State Police on the Seine

The architectural grandeur of Paris makes even utilitarian buildings, like the State Police headquarters in the distance beyond the bridge, are marvels.

On the other hand, the shadows and mysterious doors along the Seine itself look more like the setting for a Cold War spy thriller…

State Police on the Seine