03 February 2019

Paris street scenes, 1998

Pictures looking for a theme. I'm still working on photos I took in Paris in late May/early June of 1998. Walt and I were there for a two-week vacation.

La rue Montogueil

This is the neighborhood I lived in for three years, from 1979 to 1982. It's changed a lot now, and had already changed a lot between 1982 and 1998. When I lived there, it was a market street, and it was packed with cars moving through and parked everywhere. Now it's a pedestrian street, and only delivery trucks and people who live in the neighborhood are allowed to drive on the streets. Now it is lined with cafés and restaurants; I remember it being lined with food shops. There were plenty of homeless street people on it too, and merchants and shops that put their wares out on tables on the sidewalks.

A memory: one day I was pushing my way through the crowds on this street, on my way to my apartment, when I bumped into a tall man and actually stepped on his foot. It was Jacques Chirac, the mayor of Paris who would later become the president of France (1995-2007).

La cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

And also l'Hôtel Dieu, a big Paris hospital. The cathedral and the hospital are on an island, l'Île de la Cité, in the center of the city. In fact, when Paris was founded as a city, two millenia ago, the island was the city. It gradually grew to cover the territory around the island for three or four miles in every direction. The built-up area is much larger than that — the population of the Paris urban area is about 12.5 million.

L'Île Saint-Louis

The other important island in Paris is the Île Saint-Louis. A pedestrian bridge links the two islands. The Île Saint-Louis is basically residential, but also has plenty of shops and restaurants. It's famous for ice cream, which is made by local Maison Berthillon. People who live on the island used to say they were going "to the continent" when the crossed the bridges that link the island to the Left Bank or Right Bank of the Seine.

le Marais

This is the northern edge of the Marais, on the Right Bank. Marais means "swamp" and the land here used to be just that. It was reclaimed some 500 years ago and big houses and properties built on it. Later it became the city's Jewish neighborhood, and over the past 25 years it has become the city's gay neighborhood. I had friends in the Marais back in the early 1980s. It's not far from the rue Montorgueil (see above).


The many bridges across the Seine are an important part of the network or streets in the city of Paris. So here's a bridge/street scene. I notice that in two of the photos in this set the pavement is wet. Expect rain in Paris. I remember that I walked everywhere in the city and I went through a lot of pairs of shoes because they were so often wet. Shoes didn't last long. Apart from the rain, the Paris climate is pleasant most of the time.


  1. With the Apple Quicktake, the Kodak DC50 photos are, in fact, as I said before, the Daguerréotypes of the digital photography.
    I am really surprised of their quality, as you said, considering! En vingt-cinq ans, la photo numérique a progressé à pas de géant!

    1. I'm having fun looking through all these photos and processing them to see what I can get out of them. My memories of that 1998 trip to Paris are sketchy, and these pictures are filling in some gaps.

  2. Love the Jacques Chirac story!

    1. I stepped on Ted Kennedy's foot once, too. It was in Geneva.

    2. Funny how you've stepped on those famous feet! Lewis was making faces at a baby in Miami once at a hotel. The young mother didn't look happy and then the dad arrived- Jack Nicholson! lol They were changing hotels because of a plumbing problem.

      I can't get over the fact that 1998 is over 20 years ago.

  3. Ahhh, these are great stories, and great memories!

  4. Love all your photos and back stories, many thanks...you might bring a book out one day!


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