2017 Week 15 Gallery: Snippets Of Paris

Paris 2017: Winter Along River Seine In The CityParis 2017: Along The River Seine In Winter

To continue from my previous post, in this post I will finally get to discuss about some serious impressions I have of Paris.

I am not a frequent flyer, but I do travel a little more recently due to work. In recent years I visited Hong Kong, Phnom Penh, Tokyo, Sydney, Hanoi, Taipei, Seoul, Vientiane and Perth. I myself live in Singapore. These are the cities and places I have been to and experienced, and these are the cities I inevitably end up comparing Paris against.

Paris 2017: On The Pont Alexandre IIIParis 2017: On The Pont Alexandre III

There are two versions of Paris seen by the world. The first, more popular version sees Paris as a city of romance, quaint cafes, fine dining, French desserts, charming historic architecture, and a city of dreams. The second version sees Paris as it is based on reality: A city in stagnation. The capital of a country where no body believes that any of the presidential candidates will actually do anything good for the nation. A city with a rat infestation problem. A city rife with pickpockets. A city where criminals lurk in the metro, and locals sincerely advise travelers to avoid the metro because “at least on the surface you can be seen by everyone”. A city cursed by liberalism gone insane, where prison guards can be abused by prisoners and criminals employ little broods of child-thieves because there are no criminal laws to effectively deal with under-aged offenders. A city where even police had to go on protest due to being under-staffed and lack of resources. I watch the Parisians walking pass, and their walking gait and stance tells me a grim reality: “resignation and disappointment – we are just trying to make a living here. How did this country come to this?”

Paris 2017: Winter Along The Pont Alexandre IIIParis 2017: Winter Along The Pont Alexandre III

The image above was captured unintentionally. But somehow it illustrates what Paris is today. Behind we have relics of the past – glorious, interesting, quite breath-taking to comprehend. But right before us we have the present. There is an air of… unhappiness and dissatisfaction around the young gentlemen. The same subtle feeling hangs around everywhere. This summarises the problem with Paris. Everything wonderful about Paris comes from its past. However for the present and future, I feel an absence of hope.

Paris 2017: Petit Palais Ceiling And Floor DesignParis 2017: Snap From The Petit Palais

Indeed how spellbinding is that past! Wandering among the preserved buildings and palaces that now serve as museums and travel attractions, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the art and the grandeur. The past of Paris is truly the most valuable thing the city has today. What a pity that her inhabitants – due to a multitude of social and political reasons – struggle to create new wonders in art, architecture or inventions to rival the achievements of their forbears.

Paris 2017: Arc de Triomphe In WinterParis 2017: Arc de Triomphe In Winter

Was I too harsh? Perhaps I mistook historical preservation for a lack of innovation and complacency? I examined myself on this and came to the conclusion that I made no mistake. In my experience, Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney demonstrated well how historical preservation and sustained modernization can go well together. Even in less developed cities such as Hanoi and Phnom Penh, I was able to feel the energizing vibe of progress and change – and I could not feel anything remotely similar in Paris! I am not mistaken. Paris is truly in stagnation.

Paris 2017: Walking Along A Street In WinterParis 2017: Walking Along A Street In Winter

Unfortunately, everyone I spoke to about French politics is disappointed. No one likes the current candidates. No one believes any of them will do anything good for France. Perhaps this is the reason why people are throwing support behind Marine Le Pen. “None of the usual candidates is going to do anything good for us. Since we already have everything to lose, why not just take a gamble on the unusual candidate who have all these ideas that we have not tried?”

I look forward to see how the French elections turn out.

For the photography geeks, this series of images were produced by a Nikon D610, a Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G and a Nikon 60mm f/2.8G Micro. – WY

2 comments

  1. Wonderful pictures that reflect the underlying charm of Paris. When you step out of the Gare du Nord, you immediately feel a vibe of Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite. And the women continue to dress uniquely, unhindered by rigid dictates of fashion or custom.

    Of course the flip side is that France and Europe generally have been infected by the sourpuss philosophy of that great con-artiste Jean-Paul Sartre, who saw meaninglessness in the findings of modern science regarding relativity and evolution. Sartre announced that we could do whatever we want and get away with it. Unfortunately, the laws of nature, including our own, are quite fixed and unbending. Espouse contractive attitudes and your face will turn grim. In the end, Sartre was abandoned by his friends who couldn’t abide his gray outlook. For a counter-view of his bloodless philosophy I can unreservedly recommend J. Donald Walters’s fine book Out of the Labyrinth: For Those Who Want to Believe, But Can’t.

    Nevertheless that old city really does have great visual charm, which you captured in lovely fashion. Thank you, Au.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s