From Sunrise to Sunset

December 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm 1 comment

The best part of having an eastward-facing waterfront hotel room in Perros-Guirec is that I could take sunrise photos without leaving the room. I set an alarm, hit snooze, popped up to grab a few shots, went back to sleep for nine minutes, a few more shots, nine more minutes of sleep, etc. And I ended up with this:
Sunrise in Perros-Guirec
Not bad, eh? We didn’t have too much time after I stopped snoozing through sunrise, since we had to drive the car back to Caen and catch our train to Paris. However, we did have enough time for breakfast at hotel, and I’m still so glad that we decided to have breakfast that day! I couldn’t face another day without morning coffee, and wow, the Hotel du Port really put together a lovely breakfast. Amazing experience overall…I wish we had more time in Perros-Guirec and hope that I can return someday.

After spending much of the day traveling, we were back in Paris! Of course, getting to our Latin Quarter hotel via Metro was a bit of an ordeal with our bags again, but we made it. Since we had never stayed in the Latin Quarter before, I mapped out a nice walk through the 5e and 6e arrondissements.

We were staying right down the hill from the Panthéon, where many of France’s great thinkers and writers are buried. I’d been by it at least 3 times before, but always on a bus tour, and I’d never seen it from any vantage point besides through a bus window. It was much larger than it seems when you’re driving by on a bus.

The Latin Quarter is home to the Sorbonne, the main university in Paris, so it’s full of students. It is also home to a lot of hotels, especially chain hotels, so it’s also full of tourists.

We also visited the Église St-Sulpice, which is known for organ-playing, something having to do with the Da Vinci Code, and Delacroix frescoes.
Delacroix Frescoes
We were there for the Delacroix frescoes.

From there, we walked a long way down Boul St-Germain to the Église St-Germain-des-Pres, located across the street from Les Deux Magots, where folks like Jean-Paul Sartre and Ernest Hemingway used to hang out. I have a feeling that Les Deux Magots wasn’t so overpriced in their days. I’m not posting any photos of St-Germain-des-Pres, because it was a bit underwhelming.

I will, however, post this photo of a couple canoodling under a Métro sign:
couple canoodling under a metro sign

I love the Paris Métro. I love many things about it, and one of those things is the old signage. I learned from my book about the Métro (Christmas gift last year!) that the different signs were introduced at different times and what’s left now is a hodge-podge of what came before. This style is my favourite:
Cite Metro

We started heading back toward the hotel after that, stopping for dinner first. For “dinner,” I only wanted one thing: a legit Parisian street crêpe filled with Nutella and bananas.
Parisian crepe
It was delicious, although not quite the right degree of crispiness on the outside.

In my past trips to Paris, I had always visited Notre Dame around the middle of the day. Now that I am a photographer and trying to pay more attention to light, I really wanted to swing by Notre Dame during magic hour, since the façade would be lit up with lovely golden light.

Notre Dame

The only thing left on the day’s itinerary was to photograph the Eiffel Tower, but we wanted to wait for dark. Of course, it doesn’t get dark in Paris in June until about 10pm, so we had lots of time to kill. And what better way to kill time than with Berthillon ice cream?! Berthillon is famous all over the world for its fabulous ice cream and sorbets. It is sold all over Paris now, but the original location is in a café on the Ile St-Louis, behind Notre Dame. The line is always long, but it’s worth it. So my mom and I walked up to the end of the line, about 15-20 people deep. And about 2 minutes later, I realized that we were standing in line behind Meg Ryan.


She was chatting with this kid she was with, maybe about 15 or 16, and she didn’t seem to know him super well. Friend’s kid, maybe? Or someone she was acting with in a movie set in Paris? Not sure. Anyway, we didn’t bug her. A couple of other people did and she was polite enough although she did ask them not to make a big scene. One even asked our permission…I think she thought we were her entourage. Anyway, so Meg and the kid got their ice cream and walked away, and then my mom and I got our ice cream. It was pretty crowded right around the café, with a bicycle rental area on the bridge and a polka band playing, so we went into the churchyard behind Notre Dame. And so had Meg and the kid, because we spied them hoisting themselves onto playground equipment, Meg’s legs flailing out from under her dress as she pulled herself up to this weird pedestal thing to sit. So Mom and I finished our ice cream, and even though the light wasn’t optimal for photos of the back of Notre Dame, I started to set up a shot of the back, with all of the buttresses. And then Meg Ryan walked into my shot.
Notre Dame and Meg Ryan

So after that excitement, we headed for La Tour Eiffel and arrived a little early, but that gave me time to hover around the railing in front of the Palace de Chaillot until someone left. I wanted one of those classic night shots, where the sky is sapphire blue and the lights are golden. Since I didn’t have a tripod, I knew that I would need a railing to set my camera up for a longer shutter speed. I hadn’t done any night photography like this before, so I wasn’t sure if it would turn out like I wanted it to, but I figured I could give it a shot.

La Tour Eiffel
Well, it took a few tries to get the white balance right, but I ended up getting a shot exactly like the one that I saw in my mind! Next time, I will need a tripod and a neutral density filter so I can get the shot with the long trails of lights from cars.

I started to pick up my camera and was about to relinquish my spot when a couple came up to me and asked me to take a photo of them. They had a Canon Rebel and when they saw me with my camera, they figured that I could handle it. So I took a photo and then they asked if I wanted them to return the favour. I had them take a photo of Mom and me, but it turned out that Jim wasn’t really so great with cameras.
Mom and Me
So this is the best one…not sure how he managed to get that weird shadow in the shot, but hey, at least I finally have a photo of my mom and me at the Eiffel Tower!


Entry filed under: Churches, Europe, France, Paris, Photos. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Pink Bliss. Classy in Paris, feat. Opéra Garnier

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Anne Coffman  |  December 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Just thought that I’d corroborate the Meg Ryan story. Since I’m most certainly not “star-struck”, and generally clueless about celebrity-type things, I had no idea of the identify of the person in front of us in the line. Melanie quietly pointed it out to me after listening to her voice for a few minutes. The other tourists around us were much more intent on talking to her, etc. We could tell that she just wanted to get her ice cream and have a quiet evening, so although it would have been fun to chat, we declined. All in all, being in Paris, with a crepe, Berthillon, and the general ambiance was definitely enough!

    As for Meg and the kid, we hope that you enjoyed your time in Paris as well!


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A serial road tripper chronicles her adventures.


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