Saturday, February 27, 2010

Looking Up


I spend a lot of time with my head tilted back, looking silly no doubt, as I try to see higher than my own lowly height. It's a bit of a dangerous habit in Paris, where looking down to avoid doggie gifts on the sidewalk is second nature, but it's rewarding nonetheless.  

It's not only the tops of buildings, many of which are stunningly elaborate, but things like the top third of this entry door, which for some reason has had a mirror installed in it, reflecting the street tree, the building across the street, and the occasional peek of blue sky.

And lifting my eyes a bit higher shows me this sweet pudgy little face, the incipient double chin making me empathize.

I'm always drawn to the plaques installed on walls of buildings where famous and less famous people once lived or worked or were born or died.  This one, on a narrow street in St-Germain, states that Victor Hugo lived there.  A peek through the window indicates that whoever is living there now has a pretty nice place.


Views other than the usual ones are interesting as well.  That's not a looming fortress but rather the familiar church of St-Germain des Prés from a side street and one of the earliest uses of the flying buttress, apparently.  Moments before, the stone was warm and golden in the fleeting sunlight, but with the returning cloudcover it appears rather forbidding.  Of course the sharp points at the top of the railing aren't exactly welcoming either.

Turning around, you see what looks like a cliff of buildings but it's only an angle that takes in the tops of buildings on three streets, one behind the other and coincidently arranged in order of height.  It does look like you could rappel up there, doesn't it?  And how charming is that pink?


The spire of Notre Dame cathedral offers climbing opportunites for these statues, but most of them appear to have paused on the way up to pose for admirers.  The one farthest up seems determined to make it to the nearest secure surface before the wind picks up though.


One of my favorite glimpses of higher things is this young horseman over a gateway to the Louvre seated precariously on a flying horse under an incription identifying Emperor Napoleon III.  Is it meant to be him and are those the royal family jewels?

1 comment:

Karin B (Looking for Ballast) said...

I agree, it is difficult to force ourselves to look up on the streets of Paris with all the hazards on the sidewalks, but like you, when I do look up, I am rewarded with sights like your photos depict.

And they are such lovely photos! :) I know I write that to you every darn time I comment, lol, but it is true. I love your photography of the city. I really think you have a lot of publishable photos here. Do you? Have them published somewhere, that is? If not, you should. :)