Paris by night
France 8th August 2010
On a stopover in Paris on our way back to Singapore. Decided to do Paris by night, what else should one do as a lighting designer! Isn’t Paris called la “Ville Lumiere?” Two unfortunate things, first it is only dark around 10pm at this time of the year, second it is summer holidays meaning most of the Parisians are on holiday out of town, leaving mostly tourists. This means many outlets are closed for the holidays and you hear a lot of foreign languages! Not enough to stop us…on the contrary!
We decided to go out for dinner on one of the islands in the river Seine, Ile St Louis, which has a lot of nice little restaurants with traditional French cuisine. The streets are old with cobblestones and the street lanterns reminiscent of the old oil lamps. It is not difficult to imagine the Lutetia (the way Paris was called) a long time ago. With the lights coming out of the little restaurants the ambiance is very warm and peaceful.
A bit further away is the Notre Dame and the Hotel de Ville majestically lit in the old traditional way with floodlights. It still works very well. In the distance one can see the Eifel Tower lit as the countries famous landmark. You cant be in Paris without having seen the Eifel Tower, can you?
On our walk back to the Metro after a really delicious meal in the perfect restaurant we crossed one of the bridges which are all lit and watched several “Bateaux Mouches” (the river tour boats) cruise up and down the river. The clever thing they invented in Paris is that these boats carry their own floodlights lighting up the river banks, providing the people on board a great (illuminated) view at night of the beautiful and historic buildings along the way. I think that is a very clever and effective way, rather the n having all the buildings individually lit.
Paris, like Sydney, New York and other world cities continuously re-invents itself with new attractions. Right now it is the famous, Paris-Plage or Paris at the Beach. Along the river throughout the city beach type activities have been set up that provide fun and entertainment during the summer months for those who do not have the opportunity to go to the beach. The result is a lively and cheerful environment even at night. A nice end to our very enjoyable holiday…