Paris, Une Autre Nuit

Some folks are day people, some are night people, some, like the Spaniards, seem to never sleep. I belong to the first category: up at dawn with the beautiful morning light, hooking up the caffeine IV drip.

Unlike me, my friend Raphaelle embodies and embraces the whole concept of night person, which is why before meeting for dinner in Paris, I had “subtly” specified I needed to make it an early night.


Raphaelle whom you might remember from my previous post “Paris, une Nuit” lives across from the abominable Pot on Plaza Pompidou. Walking in her neighborhood, you would think Paris is a village. Unavoidably, you run into people she knows. I even run into people I have met before. How silly is THAT?

Le Soir Peeps

These men work at Le Soir, the nightclub where a woman bit me. After the usual ritual of “Salut, mwoa, mwoa, Tu vas bien? Ouais et toi, tu vas bien? Ouais”, we leave the guys and head to the restaurant. I happily snap away. As usual. I am an obsessive shooter. I’m probably a huge pain to be around.

Goth creature

Put this woman on the streets of Dallas and I shriek in horror: “OMG, a Goth! From which eighties time warp did she crawl?” In Paris, I regard this fine Beaubourg creature as creative and stylish. Une demoiselle tres chic! Surroundings count. That’s vachement silly.

Rapha and I enjoy a fabulous Italian dinner. Her neighbor JR (who is called JR because his real name is Jean-Raphael, and two Raphael(le) are confusing in the same building) was supposed to join us, BUT (and that’s when I realize I have completely lost control of my EARLY evening) he will actually meet up with us later for a drink. As you can well imagine, it all goes downhill from there.

Le Troisieme Lieu

Rapha takes me rue Quincampois to “Le Troisieme Lieu, La Cantine des Ginettes Armees”, literally The Mess Hall of the Armed Chicks.” Despite the rather aggressive appellation, the bar/restaurant/nightclub turns out to be a hoot and a half and no girl tries to bite me – which is a refreshing change. JR joins us but no sign of Catherine, his girlfriend, who is eating pasta “but will arrive shortly.” It is 12:45 am.

Poor sod

Since my friends are smokers – and the ban on cigarettes in Parisian restaurants just took effect to their utmost chagrin and outrage – we end up spending more time on the sidewalk than in the club. The guy pictured above flanked by Rapha and her pal was literally kidnapped from the street and made to pose with them… which he happily obliged, even expressing a little too much pleasure for comfort. We had to shoo him away!

A man and his dog

Two minutes later, same place, a man and his dog. The cigarette ban is probably going to lead to a whole lot of outdoor socialization. The movement would be called Bonding by Bitching.


It’s 1:30 am. Miss Catherine has finally finished her noodles. She is seen here in her best imitation of a Parisian hooker and misses the mark completely, if you ask me.

Bicycle Man

Bicycle Man! Out of nowhere, this hooded fellow appears and starts demonstrating his daring cycling dexterity. He later hints casually that he may very well have stolen the Velib bike from the City of Paris. While not advocating theft in the least, I feel that the machine could not have ended up in the hands of a more bicycle-loving felon.

It’s LATE. I absolutely must go back to the hotel but somehow I am dragged to Rapha’s apartment for a last night cap.

Negra Bouch Beat

At this point of the night, the degree of intellect shown by any of us in conversation is close to nil. While we cruise the net looking for our lost childhood, Rapha comes out with the startling revelation that she never goes to the hair salon and proceed to demonstrate how she cuts a piece of her hair every morning with the help of office scissors.

Home Cut

The method seems inflation-proof. I would have never known.

The remains

Delirium Tremens no doubt. JR is fascinated by the curly black lock. Just when you thought we couldn’t possibly attain another level of silliness…

The mustache

We manage! I’m not sure whether it looks more like a mustache or hair growing out of his nose. JR is a goofy man.

It is 3:30 am when Rapha decides to treat us to a defile of the latest Paul Smith fashion.


Oh but wait, you have to see it in color to get the full effect.

Color defile

It’s 4 am. My early evening turned out to be a lovely very late night kind of soiree. Sometimes, you just cannot win.

Le depart

Au Revoir!

Hanging out with crazy French people makes me feel incredibly normal.

21 responses to “Paris, Une Autre Nuit

  1. Paris = ok
    …see Kavos (Corfu – Greece)

    a good day!

  2. I’m willing. Are you financing?

  3. Great B&W images – they have atmosphere. 🙂

  4. Hey, you did say you’re a morning person – so you should have been at your best by 4am 🙂

    Loved your documentation of a crazy fun evening/night/morning

  5. What a beautifully illustrated story. Makes me long for Paris or even just a long night out with my dearest friends.

  6. Yesbuts, thanks. There was definitely quite a lot of atmosphere to capture that night… I could roam the streets of Paris all night.

    Nava, no one is ever at their best at 4 am, especially not I. Actually 4 am was not too bad. Three hours later, when I had to get up to go photograph a cemetery, that’s when it got iffy. Not for long. I hit the alarm clock and woke up at noon. There was no morning for me to speak of on that fatal day.

    MsMollie, thanks for the visit. I’m glad I can inspire longing, but about that “long night out”, you may want to reconsider. The consequences are dire.

  7. That’s a great post. I almost feel like I was there with you and your pals! Really atmospheric.
    Re: the Book Faire… yes, well. I think sometimes nitwits like to stick an ‘e’ on the end of a word to make it sound ye olde worlde. As you rightly said, FAIL. Thanks for the giggle.

  8. Your photographs are all-around spectacular, and your night out in Paris looks like the kind of nights I also like to get suckered into.

    As for the “oeufs simples” I blogged about…I swear that was what I ordered from a random cafe. It consisted of 3 sunny side up eggs. Does that sound right? Your French is far superior to mine!

  9. Ah a few moments transported out of hell into a heavenly evening filled with laughter and fun! Thank you! PS If parfumdeblog is financing I will volunteer as photographic assistant – am cheap!

    Out of interest what lens did you use for these incredible photos?

    Right off to go write another love letter to Mbeki

  10. Mademoiselle and future maman, I really enjoyed sharing these crazy moments. It always seems that in the wee hours of the morning, you end up bringing out your inner child… unless you are in Louisiana in which case you simply exchange recipes (that’s the law.)

    Yael, thanks for the visit. I think I’m going to rent my friends out for the evening. You get a special rate if you lease all three. As for the “oeufs simples”, I figure this must have been the way this specific restaurant called that dish because I have never heard about it before. BTW, I have no merit knowing French – it’s my first language.

    InSanityFound, my poor toothpaste-deprived South African friend, I have not heard back from parfumdeblog. I could use an assistant since at any time, I’m carrying a 50mm 1.4, a 85mm 1.2 (weight of one chicken), and a 70-200mm 2.8 (weight of a chicken + wee chicken.) With all these animals, it gets really heavy at the end of a shoot, try agonizingly heavy after a day in the streets of Paris walking in high heels.
    Send my love to Thabo!

  11. Nice shots I particularly like the first shot and the bicycle pics.

    What does “Ouais” mean?

    I love France and the French but they do smoke way too much.

  12. Holy crap how big are your biceps??? Very nice chickens, when next I am in Europe we’ll have to take our heels for a drink and share the pain! Thabo mumbled something, think it was about more garlic but he was too busy trying to find his balls so I couldn’t hear clearly soz.

  13. And are we left to wonder why you were bitten?

    Maybe you were out while the vampires prowl.

    I loved this vicarious night crawl and applaud your willingness to put habits aside. Had you not, you would have missed that fab bicycle shot.

    What a great series- and lucky friends who get to see themselves in film noir.

  14. Now, i’m not kidding, this is your sweet spot here! Photos, loose narration, 360 degree roving eye and in focus at 4 AM. And being in spot you love and with this biting thing must obviously love you. It wasn’t an angry bite, was it??

    Maira Kalman would be proud!

  15. Great b&w photos and storytelling. If we are picking favourite photos… I like the random man and his dog in the doorway photo.

    Your friend’s socks are pretty funky too.

  16. the socks and shoes are my favourite.

    I want to go to Paris. I had a day in Paris planned but someone screwed it up. (Yes, he’s still alive)

  17. Ouais Razz. Ouais is our French yup or yeah. You’re not supposed to use it. I can’t help myself. And ouais, The French smoke too much but just because I’m a nerd, I’ve just calculated the per capita rate of lung cancer in France and US in 2003 for population over 18, and I come up with a higher rate in the US: .066% in France compared to .079% in the US. Isn’t it weird?

    InSanityfound, in regard to that drink, would love to but it will have to be next time you are in Texas! And ouais, I have big guns.

    Bonnie, you are intrigued by the bite, I see. My friend Raphaelle took me to Le Soir the gay nightclub, and it seems I was quite the hit with one of the ladies! I was taking photographs all night long in the club (photographs I’m afraid I cannot display on this blog) and by the end of the evening, that particular lady just would not part with me. To borrow a Planetross expression, I’m straight the way a bullet flies from Clint Eastwood’s 6 shooters in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” She was not happy. She bit me. I’m not sure whether it was lust or rage. Whatever it was, it was a bit strange.

    Pat! Awwww! The Maira Kalman reference makes me feel so proud! So basically you are encouraging me to go out more with absolute lunatics. D’accord!

    Thanks Ross! My friend is as funky as her socks. In a good way.

    Warriorwitch. You were denied Paris. Why oh why is he still alive?

  18. So I shan’t bring our bud Mbeki then he’s apparently scared of big things…

  19. I heard that he’s busy anyway. Apparently he’s looking for another brain cell because the one that he has is lonely.

  20. I like these new Parisian pictures!
    and thanks for your comment, I told Inna you took those cool pictures!
    I take you with me next year to explore the weird side of the cities..:-)

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