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

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Gentle Evening Light on Notre Dame

November afternoons end quickly—close to the winter solstice, the sun disappears while the day is still “young”. Notre Dame’s pre-fire spire looks so calm next to the pastel clouds.

Gentle Evening Light on Notre Dame

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

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

Holy Symmetry

Though the symmetry of Notre Dame de Paris stands out from the mere mortal constructs around it, I enjoy playing the game of identifying the breaks in its symmetry. Some of those are small, like the different statues around the building. Others are more significant, like the triangle in place or an arch above the left-most set of doors.

Holy Symmetry

Boats in the Seine Near Notre Dame

The bridge in the distance is the Pont au Double, and it is one of several that connect the Rive Gauche to Île de la Cité. That central island fascinates me because it is the site of the medieval refounding of the city. The island used to be packed with residences alongside government and religious buildings. Today it is almost entirely dominated by the latter buildings (like Notre Dame on the right), yet I heard that census information still lists a few hundred people living on the island. Where are those last homes hiding?

Boats in the Seine Near Notre Dame