Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer night on the Pont des Arts


The Pont des Arts - or Passerelle des Arts - is one of the rare pedestrian bridges in Paris. It was built between 1802 and 1804 and people had to pay a toll to cross it! In 1970 it had to be closed after being hit by a barge (péniche) on the Seine! It reopened in 1984 and never ceased to be a big success since then. At the moment, for instance, it's packed with young people (mostly tourists!) picnicking, drinking, smoking... while enjoying the stunning view on the Seine. The dome in the background, belongs to the Institut de France, the "knwoledgeable people parliament" as they call themselves on their web site (only in French, of course!).

64 comments:

  1. One of my favorite places to watch people! Great shot...again from the ground!

    My first day back after a week or more away! I missed you guys!

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  2. Great photo Eric ! Is that the Institut de France at the end of the bridge (I always mixe them up!)... Cheers, Loic http://brohardphotography.blogspot.com

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  3. Pont des Arts!
    Pont des Arts!
    Pont des Arts!

    I referred to this marvelous bridge in an editorial in the Mpls. paper last week.

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  4. Yes of course the Institut de France, it is in your text.... Thanks for the links, I have often walked in front of this monument (the place in front of the building is beautifully restored) but I have never got the curiosity to check what's this institution was...

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  5. Actually there is a page on
    Institut de France on Wikipedia... I did not know this was also the place where the famous Academie Francaise was meeting....

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  6. I love the elements of this shot. The Institute gives a visual anchor, while the people have a pasadenacho, in-the-gloaming, Burchardesque sense of fluid gregariousness.

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  7. Eric...this is just one of the many things we miss in Paris when we're NOT there. Tremendous fun!

    US Elaine..."pasadenacho" [a great name for BEAUTIFUL people from Pasadena, eh] :-)

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  8. Kelly...glad to see the GF crown on tour of the Midwest again! Lois did wear it well! ;-)

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  9. Excellent GF Kelly - nice to get it when you've been away.

    USElaine I'm totally LOOOL. You have completely grasped the Petrean sense of the world. Oh if only all of life could float along that way! ; ) Its good to be in SoCal, I must say....but still, not as good as a summer night on the Pont des Arts.

    Thanks for the info that its also called the Passarelle des Arts, Eric. I never knew that (and I'll have to look up the word passarelle since I never heard it before!

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  10. Passerelle -- had to fix my typo before I could look it up -- a footbridge over a road, a gangway, a ships bridge. Pretty word and interesting, too.

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  11. That's it, Carrie! This Paris Paserelle is positively Petrean. Praise indeed!

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  12. One of my favorite places in Paris. There's always something going on and loads of photo opportunities. I've never been there after sun down and really do like the perspective - lots of motion in the foreground and the lighted dome in the background. Very nice.

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  13. I can imagine Guille enjoying the Pont des Arts in the summer in this so very pasadenacho manner.

    The architect of the Institute of France, Louis Le Vau, also designed the château of Vaux-le-Vicomte, and the Palace of Versailles, among others.

    For the curious: Jeff's letter to the editor might be here. Using a bridge for a photography exhibit? Sounds good to me.

    You're too much US Elaine. I like the way the meanings and images you create fluxate with surrealistically cubist modulations that impart not only sound and depth but beached sturgeon moaning in the dusk with vapors of flame-affixed cumulonimbus emanating from rain forests dripping with the fervid memories of alcho-bucolics.

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  14. Everytime I see an image of the Ponts des Arts my heart beats faster...

    ...it´s been a year since I last was in Paris... oh how I miss it so!

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  15. Fantastic focal point. You do take these worm eye views shots so well. Interesting to note that if this was a bridge in the UK full of young people, the image would probably be viewed quite differently, cautiously.
    Our young people(and many older) can not handle converstaion and alcohol in a civilised manner at the moment.

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  16. Bravo Jeff! Also, thanks Tall Gary for the link to Jeff's editorial.

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  17. What a fun bridge. Don't know of any other where people camp out and socialize like that.
    Carrie, you got the rules right for GF, just write 2 lines on the picture. We all had as much fun with creating the" constitution" as there is with winning the crown each day. May it live on. One day, I'll go back on PDP and find the dates so newer people can see how it started.

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  18. Oh, oh, oh! I don't know what to say, I feel so honored to be mentioned in this way, Elaine, to be "coined," as it were, in reference to one of Eric's works of art. Especially one of the Pont des Arts with the Institut glowing in the background, where I am longing to be at this moment.

    Boz is crying to be walked. I don't think he'd fit in along the Passerelle. He's too big. But he'd like to try.

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  19. Yeah, Kelly!! GF!!!!

    And Yeah, Eric!! Great shot! I love your night shots, they are so full of life!

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  20. Ah, summer in Paris, hanging out on the Pont des Arts. I love this bridge as well as the views you get while crossing. These two women appear to be gasping -- do you think it's their first view of the Louvre lit up at night that has them so worked up? I agree with GF Kelly that Pont des Arts is a great people-watching spot. (Welcome back Kelly! I got GF my first day back from vacation too. Is this a trend?)

    Petrea if you walked Boz on the Pont des Arts you would make lots of friends because everyone would want to meet him. He's such a fabulous dog!

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  21. The Pont des Arts is such a special place and this is an excellent example of that. The flurry of human activity and the bright beacon of the Institut de France in the background is really quite spectacular.

    I bought two small watercolors from a Parisian artist on the Pont des Arts one wet April day. It just so happened that it was my birthday and he gave me a nice "deal" as they say. The watercolors are of the buildings on the rive gauche side of the Pont and they hold a very special place in my heart and memory. Merci...Eric!!

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  22. Thirty-one pages of detail as PDF on the construction of the now Institute of France are here for the intrepid.

    I was wondering about the gasps, too, Katie; and the women are looking up at something, as you say.

    It seems to me, Petrea, that Boz would graciously lap up the attention he would receive on the Passarelle des Arts with the utmost fluid gregariousness. How much are airline tickets for adorable hounds?

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  23. I don't know, Tall Gary, but it's outrageous enough for a human to fly from Los Angeles to Chicago at the moment, so Boz is putting off his Parisian vacation until the dollar starts behaving like a dollar instead of a cent.

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  24. Hmm. I see these Parisians have yet to pick up on the latest shoe trend pioneered by the Pasadenachos. Some day, too late perhaps, they will be Petrean as well. They should be so fluid and gregarious.

    Gary, I bow to your mastery. *genuflects*

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  25. What a unique photo of a wonderful place! The effect makes the women in the foreground make me think of avatars walking around in Second Life ... I can't decide whether the photo looks almost real or almost unreal.

    I found it exhilarating and endearing when I learned in my teens that the French have people (the Academie Francaise) specifically charged with determining what is and is not correct in their language from one year to the next. I think of that whenever I see the Institut de France.

    'Nice to "see" you all. I've had a nutty past week and have not been online as much.

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  26. J'aime beaucoup, l'ensemble. Apaisant.

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  27. Wonderful. I can feel the night air. I liked Uselaine's first comment describing this shot.

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  28. Hey, I nominated your blog for this award!
    http://rideagoodhorse.blogspot.com/

    Just go to her website and follow the instructions.
    I hope everyone enjoys your site as much as I do.

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  29. Though it's in French, the Institut de France website is very interesting. I've just spent a few minutes through it, and I'll have to come back later when I have spare time ;-)
    There is a virtual visit of the Institut with 360° views, and the introduction one shows a nice view of the Pont des Arts, at daylight and empty, ... which is quite a contrast with Eric's photo : http://www.institut-de-france.fr/rubrique_Un_monument-Quai_Conti.html?page=107

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  30. I really love the composition of this photo. Well done.

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  31. I love this place. I have to say that I spend most of my summer evenings there or near le Pont des Arts, drinking (cheap/bad) wine with (good) friends...
    How did you know that Tall Gary?!

    Did you drink a glass of wine there Eric? :)

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  32. Guille, how many times do I have to say I WANT YOUR LIFE before you hand it over to me?

    Brilliant photo, dear Eric! They say a photo is worth 1000 words, but yours twice as many each day.

    XO

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  33. The word play reminds me of the Italian passagiatta: strolling, seeing, being seen.

    Ah, Reine Guille, bad wine, good friends (and good English on PDP!)

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  34. Tall Gary: thanks for the work on finding the link to my letter. It was fun to write, for a number of reasons.

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  35. Kelly, the crown looks good on you.

    Coltrane, Merci beaucoup -- it was fun!

    Loic, that was interesting. Pssst, Usually Eric posts a Wikipedia link ;-)

    Parisian Heart, I read not too long ago in a French history book. That the French language evolved and was spread by popular songs of the day. The official language being Latin.

    Wikipedia excerpt: "The foundation of the Académie française (French Academy) in 1634 by Cardinal Richelieu created an official body whose goal has been the purification and preservation of the French language. This group of 40 members is known as the Immortals, not, as some erroneously believe, because they are chosen to serve for the extent of their lives (which they are), but because of the inscription engraved on the official seal given to them by their founder Richelieu—"À l'immortalité" ("to the Immortality (of the French language)"). The foundation still exists and contributes to the policing of the language and the adaptation of foreign words and expressions. Some recent modifications include the change from software to logiciel, packet-boat to paquebot, and riding-coat to redingote. The word ordinateur for computer was however not created by the Académie, but by a linguist appointed by IBM."

    Thib, that link was fun.

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  36. Love the way you shot this photo!

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  37. Lois, thank you for the information! I love learning something new and fascinating, especially on a topic I enjoy! :)

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  38. Now that it is the last day of July, I am again wondering if any PDP fans will be in the Chicago area for Labor Day weekend. I'll be there for the jazz festival, dinner at Kiki's Bistro, a day at the Art Institute, including lunch outside, and cocktails in the lounge at the Hancock Building. Anyone interested in meeting with (GF) Kelly and me?

    (Trying a Midwest PDP soiree.)

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  39. If I knew in advance of your gathering, I would have LOVED tojoin in Jeff!
    I LOVED the pix from the LA gathering!!!

    And suzi, look what you started. You are the Gertrude Stein of our bunch.

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  40. And there was that famous song by George Brassens, si par hasard, sur le Pont des Arts ...

    (if the link works)

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  41. tomate -- thanks for that link (which does work).
    Lived not too far from le Pont des Arts at one point and spent lots of time, comme Guille, drinking bad wine with good friends. I also followed Brassens' advice and was always careful to prendre garde a mon jupon!
    Thanks for taking me back, Eric. (I love it when you take photos from this angle.)

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  42. Parisian Heart, I read that in a really old French history book. It was published in the late 1940's or early 1950's Anyway, my dad gave it to me to read. He use to do that -- always giving me books to read. I had to do a double take when I read the part "the French language evolved and was spread by popular songs of the day". Sometimes they would be a story, event or love. These songs were in the language that the people spoke. The written language was in Latin for the church and the state. I re-read it just to make sure I was seeing right. I even went back later to read it again. I thought okay, that is why French is so melodious and beautiful. It is music.

    Jeff and GF Kelly, That sounds so fun. I bet Coltrane is green with envy.

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  43. Suzy, you want my life, for sure, but not during the school period.LOL
    I admit that it's HARD to live in Paris. Yes.

    Jeff, my English level is as bad as this wine I usually drink. But no matter, I live with it. LOL

    Alexa, with hindsight, do you think that drinking bad wine on le Pont des Arts is really bad for the health? My good friends make me forget that the wine is bad!

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  44. And the poverty of my vocabulary makes me cry (bad/good/bad/good...)

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  45. Guille -- there's nothing wrong with your vocab. (hindsight? -- tiens!)
    Bad wine bad for you? I don't think so! I'm so healthy, it's sickening, and I would still rather drink bad wine with fun people than the very finest stuff with a bunch of c__s. Et toi?

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  46. Jeff...if I could only break away from my Japanese group and family obligations (and bad wine) I'd be there! [sigh] I have heard Sonny Rollins many times but have only heard Ornette Coleman once. You're in for a treat!

    Lois...[speaking of bad drinks]in my absinthe, may Jeff and Kelly toast Coltrane as his tears will indeed fall in tiny envious droplets into his green milky world. [sounds like it could be a lyric to a French country song] ;-)

    Tomate...great link, merci. Really enjoyed the video and song.

    Tonight, I'm taking in a baseball game with my 14 Japanese students and professors. Gotta run!

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  47. Hey - where's Pont Girl? I miss her.

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  48. Alexa, 'hindsight' is not the right word? ('avec du recul'?)...
    I agree with you about the bunch of c--s, the best thing is to drink a wonderful wine with awesome friends...Anyway, I think that the atmosphere makes the wine good.

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  49. Guille, you used "hindsight" perfectly. I don't know French, but I think Alexa was rolling her eyes at your dear humility.

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  50. Carrie, if I'm not mistaken, Pont Girl has been very busy with her big case. I miss her, too!

    And another one: Lynn doesn't check in often enough for my taste.

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  51. Uselaine, thanks for your help, I swear it was not fake humility, I thought I used it in a wrong way.

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  52. You're welcome, guys. Nobody wears "jupons" anymore but I bet there is still wind on that bridge ;)

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  53. My eye is drawn to the brightly lit dome which appears to be in perfect focus - I guess because it isn't moving! Another ground level shot Eric which is becoming your signature photo, I think.

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  54. C'est fou que tu aies mis cette photo pour ce jour là ! Le 31 juillet était mon anniversaire, et après avoir dîné avec des amis dans un bon resto Place Dauphine, nous sommes allés nous promener sur le Pont des Arts pour profiter de la "fraîcheur" revenue ! J'y ai d'ailleurs fait des photos très sympas.

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  55. Wow, that's crazy man. They should really try to do something to fix that.

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  56. Wow, that's crazy man. They should really try to do something to fix that.

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  57. Wow, that's crazy man. They should really try to do something to fix that.

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  58. Wow, that's crazy man. They should really try to do something to fix that.

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