05 August 2013

Meanwhile, closer to the Tour Saint-Jacques...

No, don't get the idea that I'm through with the pictures I took from the top of the Tour Saint-Jacques in late July. I really took advantage of the first opportunity in the history of the tower to climb to the top by snapping a lot of photos, and I was lucky with the weather and the camera.

The Pompidou Center, a library, media center, and art museum, was built in the 1970s near the old church
called Saint-Merri, amid considerable controversy.

The views here are some shots of sights and monuments that are much closer to the tower, which stands squarely in the middle of the city. The Pompidou Center (a.k.a Beaubourg), to many a monstrosity, but already approaching its 40th birthday, is an example.

The new structure at Les Halles won't be a dome but will be what they are calling une canopée — as if Les Halles were a rain forest.
New architecture, new words, I guess...

Les Halles, the big transit hub and underground shopping center, nearby too, is another Paris feature that's approaching its 40th birthday. These were neighborhoods I lived in back in the late 1970s and early '80s — pendant les travaux. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Here's a view that combines the nearby and the distant Paris.
That's La Défense out there beyond the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe.

In the mid-1970s, I lived out in the western suburbs of Paris — Asnières, to be precise — while the new quartier d'affaires called La Défense, with its skyscrapers, was being built. I remember taking the train two or three stops to La Défense to do my grocery shopping back then because they had put in a huge underground supermarket there. Modern Paris — on n'arrête pas le progrès, as we say.

L'Ile Saint-Louis, which was a big real estate development 300 or 400 years ago — fairly late in the history of Paris — is now one
of the parts of Paris that most adamantly resists change (but has become pretty touristy).

The Seine was always the city's raison d'être. Now it is the feature that gives Paris a good part of its cachet. It's been cleaned up to the point that you see people fishing it it, if not swimming, and you see many more people soaking up the sun along its banks when the weather cooperates.

The steeple and towers of  Notre-Dame-de-Paris and the surrounding buildings

The last photo is one I took at ground level as I began my walk along the Paris-Plages summertime beach area the other day. Speaking of photos, I haven't taken very many at all since I got back from Paris more than a week ago. I'm overwhelmed with the Paris pictures for now.


  1. I have only been near the Pompidou building twice. Your picture makes me feel I was right to hate it both times! It looks like a box of meccano kit that someone left behind by mistake. Surrounded by the other beautiful old buildings, even the more mundane or slightly shabby ones, it just looks daft to me.

  2. It's been there since 1976, Jean. Time to get used to it, LOL.

  3. The Pompidou Centre certainly is striking.... and, although like Jean I don't particularly like the structure, I always think that generally France treads that fine line between the old and the new reasonably well.

    I find the arch at la Defense very striking. About 15 years ago we went to an exhibition at the top of the arch on the subject of the redevelopment plans for Berlin. I'm sure I heard that it is no longer permitted to take the elevator to the top. If this is true perhaps the 'new' isn't standing the test of time that the 'old' can.

  4. Fabulous sets of pix, Ken...
    that Pompidou Centre would fit into the surrounds of La Defense much better....
    but then it wouldn't really stand out from the crowd like it does here!!

    The canopy idea at Les Halles has just been done, in Leeds, to some rather run down 60s concrete shopping malls... connecting them and, at the same time, rejuvinating the whole area and creating more covered shopping space for the weather weary Yorkshire folks!!


  5. Centre Pompidou, where I went to get my fill of Der Spiegel. It was the only magazine in German the library had at that time.

    Great times.

  6. Tim, according to the French dictionary of reference, canopée. refers only to the rainforest canopy. In English, it's different -- canopy beds, etc. Glad you liked the photos. I have more.

    Gaynor, I don't know about the elevator at the Grande Arche. I have been up there too -- fantastic views. Maybe they'll get the elevator repaired and renovated if that's the problem. The so-called "old" places in France have been rebuilt so many times...

  7. I enjoy the atmosphere around Le Pompidou which is lively. I also like the fountain around the corner with metal sculptures.

    Your photos from the tower are giving us a unique view of Paris. Looking forward to seeing more of them.

  8. I've been to La Defense several times. It is hard to find a photo that puts it in context with the rest of the city. Thanks.

  9. I'm not usually one to get all excited about aerial, panoramic views, probably because everything just looks small and indistinguisable... but, your photos are close in enough that you really see the buildings you recognize-- just from a cool, different perspective. Very nice!

  10. I went to La Defense a few weeks ago to see the Arch , it was brilliant and the surrounding business buildings are amazing,,

    "After a non-injury accident in the elevators in April 2010, the Department of Ecology, owner of the roof of the Grande Arche, decided to permanently close the computer museum, restaurant, and viewing deck. Access to the roof is still possible via the elevators in the north and south walls, but they are closed to the public."

    Such a shame ,,

  11. I guess I'm one of the few who love the Pompidou building, but not so much the "art" it contains.

  12. I'm not a modern art fan, so like Starman, I didn't go in - although it might be fun another time to go up that outside stairway!
    Never have gotten as far out as La Defense. I like to always have something for the next trip...


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