Earlier in the month, pretty much on a whim, I booked a return train to Paris for my family and me so we spent most of yesterday in this famous European capital. We started (as we almost always do) in Montmartre, which while very touristy, has some very colourful shops to photograph and an unbeatable view of the city from in front of the Basilique du Sacré Coeur. Despite this, I enjoy visiting the area less and less each time, as there are an increasing number of hawkers, blaggers and outright con artists, all trying to take advantage of the gullible tourist, and it’s a real effort just to avoid making eye contact or engaging in a conversation with one of them.
After getting our fill of the panorama, we headed south to the Centre Georges Pompidou, a gallery and modern art museum. Designed by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano in a style reminiscent of London’s Lloyd’s Building, the building has most of the infrastructure and structural support on the outside, leaving the interior free of clutter and with ample room for the interesting stuff. A set of escalators take you up inside a glass pipe which runs outside the front of the building, all the way to the viewing gallery at the top, where the Eiffel Tower can be seen to the west, and while one of the two galleries is currently closed, there is a very good exhibition of the work of Pierre Soulages.
Before leaving we visited another famous Parisian cathedral, Notre Dame de Paris, which stands on a island in the middle of the river Seine, and I created some abstracts using the various coloured lights of shops, cars and traffic signals. Then with sore feet and tired eyes, we headed back to Gare du Nord to catch our train back to St Pancras International and head home.