Montmartre, Paris

As my weekly trips to Paris continue, I thought I’d bring the camera along and try to photograph something less iconic than the Eiffel Tower. This time, I was staying in the Concorde Lafayette which I don’t particularly like. However, being on the 24th floor, it can give some nice views over Paris. I say “can” because it depends which way you’re facing, and if you’re the wrong side, well, you either get the bois de Boulogne with La Défense, or you get a south-easterly view over Paris (Eiffel Tower, Montparnasse, etc).

As it turned out, I was sort of in between: my room was north-easterly facing, so I had La Défense to my far left over past the butte de Montmartre on the right. At least, it’s something different to try to capture, and with Montmartre’s immense charm, albeit far away in the Parisian skyline, another pano was on the cards 🙂

Now, pop quiz: what do you get if you have a low coffee table, a suitcase, a hotel information folder, a lens soft pouch and a large wallet? Yup, an improvised camera support!

The window ledge wasn’t very deep and with the long 24-70 mounted on the camera (without hood), the wide angle end extends the lens making the body go over the edge of the window sill. I do have a photo of it taken with my Blackberry and it’s awfully heath robinson, but hey, it worked!

The multiple photo panoramic didn’t really work out in the end for the night skyline – I needed to hold the camera slightly for a portrait orientation and couldn’t get it still enough for the long exposures I wanted. Oh well, nevermind. Next time I’ll bring my tripod. As it was really late (around 1:30 am), I decide I needed sleep more than the pano and went to bed.

Following morning, I woke up, opened the curtains and was immediately blinded by the strong direct sunlight coming into the room. It was painful, seriously! (the curtains are seriously black-out material). But the bright light did give me an idea that would wait the following morning…

So, the next morning, I woke up a couple of hours earlier, and the sun was just starting to emerge next to Sacré Coeur.

That very evening, I met up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in over 15 years – we were just kids around 10 years old. We did go out for a fabulous meal at La Bonne Franquette. The food was upper class bistrot style and the wine list was, well, see for yourself on their website.

After a lovely dinner, we strolled past Montmartre and soaking in the light and cool crisp evening air. The area had quietened down (it was getting late) and so the beautiful setting reverted to its iconic romantic setting with the overly commercialised tourist trap shops closed for the night. We walked round Sacré Coeur and then proceeded to go down the infamous stairs surrounding the butte. What a pity that the lovely serenity of our walk was violently shattered as a uncomfortably strong smell of urine shocked our nasal senses! Hohum, it’s a shame, but after all, we are in Paris…..

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