Tag Archives: Velib

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.

Seine Scenes

May seems the perfect time of the year to visit Paris. If you are lucky, you might enjoy great weather, and if you are a photographer, you might come home with more shots featuring Parisians than tourists. Go in July or August, and all bets are off.

That peculiar afternoon, after splurging on a whole box of Pepitos (French cookies most excellent), I atoned for my gluttony by taking a vigorous walk on the “Quais de la Seine.”

Velo Quai du Louvre

The bicycle you see on the photograph is a Velib. In July 2007, the City of Paris for ecological and health reasons inaugurated a new service of bike self-service. It offers stations located about every .2 miles and more than 20,000 bikes. The service is free for the first 30 minutes, then you pay a modest fee. Owning a bike in Paris exposes you to the following hazard:

Velo sans roues

Unfortunately a very common scene in Paris: the remains of a bicycle dutifully chained to a sturdy structure. Renting a bike seems more reasonable now, doesn’t it? Tourists may also use the service under the form of short-term subscriptions. I, myself, had to walk to expiate the Pepitos but the whole idea seemed lovely anyway.

Le lecteur du Quai du Louvre

Why on earth would you read the paper at the office when you can do so Quai du Louvre? Really.

Le musicien

A musician Pont du Carroussel. Notice the couple in the background. The beer in the foreground.

Mammy tricote

Why restrict your knitting activities to the fireside when you can produce a Seine-inspired sock?

Peniche a deux mats

And why wouldn’t you convert your barge into a beautiful two masted sailboat?

Bookseller sur les quais

A timeless sight

Marche aux Fleurs

The flower market on Ile de la Cite


Impossible to circumvent: Notredame

More Notredame

The attention to detail in Paris is fascinating.

Lovers behind Notredame

Nothing better in the world than to make out behind the Cathedral

Metro La Cite

By this time, I am so pooped from atoning for my sins that I allow myself to take the metro. There is just about enough time to go buy another box of cookies…