I have heard of the London Flickr Meetup group’s trips to Paris for overnight shoots, but had always missed them in the past. However, this year, I decided to sign up. And so on Saturday afternoon I found myself on the Eurostar with 12 other Flickrites, heading for the French capital. The weather forecast was dry until after midnight, but promised a huge thunderstorm during the early hours – not what you want for a night of walking the Parisian streets!
Our first stop was La Défense, the modern end of the city on the outskirts, and part of the business district [see above]. It was supposed to be for sunset, but it was rather too cloudy for that. After a ride on the RER métro back into the centre of the city, we stopped at the Île des Cygnes to see the Statue of Liberty and get a good view towards the Eiffel Tower. This shot [left] nearly made it for Day #1615. But in the end, I went with something a little more conventional.
Then we walked to the tower itself and took a few pictures before the illuminations were switched off for the night. Getting hungry, our next stop was for pizza in the Champs-Elysées. On emerging, we realised the weather forecast was coming true, and trudged in the pouring rain up to the Arc de Triomphe, then back to the Trocadéro for a vantage point for sunrise at the Palais de Chaillot. Here, I wafted my lightsabre around for a bit while the rain let up briefly [see right], but it soon began to hammer down again. We realised there was no chance of seeing sunrise, so ran away to shelter under a bridge for a bit!
Several of the group then headed back to the Gare du Nord for their early train, but five of us stayed on for more punishment. We managed to find some breakfast at Notre Dame (not easy early on a Sunday morning) and dry out a bit. Then we took a long stroll along the Seine to the Musee d’Orsay. On the way we saw the love tokens which had been attached to the Pont des Arts [see left]. Another long walk back via the Louvre brought us to our final stop.
I had not been to the Beauborg area and the Centre Pompidou since 1995, so it was good to return to see the colourful fountains and observe some street life. This shot [right] of three typical Parisians enjoying un café was a close contender for Day #1616‘s shot. They reminded me of the Three Wise Monkeys!
Then it was another walk to the Métro for the train back to Gare du Nord ourselves. No sooner had we sat down on the Eurostar for the return trip, than we were dozing – a much needed nap after nearly 30 hours awake.
London was busy on our return, with revellers from the Jubilee river pageant making their way home. Thankfully I got a seat on the train from Liverpool Street, or I might not have made it back in one piece!
It’s a pity the weather was so grotty for us, but it was still an enjoyable if very tiring event. I’m contemplating the London All-Nighter in a few weeks time – at least it won’t be as far to travel and if the weather forecast is iffy, it will be rather easier to bail out at short notice. We’ll see!