Sunday, January 17, 2010

Good Morning, Paris

Parisians are not morning people. Many shops in Paris don't open their doors until sometime between 10:00 and 11:00, and most of my Paris-based friends don't need to be at the office until 9:00, 9:30, or even 10:00. For a morning person like myself (and for someone who has spent time in the very morning-oriented city of Washington, DC), this can sometimes be a frustrating reality, as waking up at 6:30 ready to start your day only works if the rest of the city has the same idea. I once shocked a French friend when he discovered I'm always at my desk no later than 8:00. The expression on his face could have correctly been translated into the words, "Crazy Americans."

But there is one advantage we crazy morning people have over all the others in Paris: We're the only ones who ever get this city to ourselves. Venture into the streets at the crack of dawn and you'll enjoy empty sidewalks, quiet boulevards, and deserted parks; a welcome change from the often overwhelming hustle and bustle. This works especially well on weekends, when Parisians are under no obligation to present themselves to the outside world until lunchtime.

With that in mind, I left my apartment at 8:00 on Sunday morning hoping to take photos along the Seine and in a few of the neighborhoods. Without having to deal with the usual crush of locals and tourists I could easily get all the shots I wanted. No stray pedestrians walking in front of the camera and no stares from Parisians as I crouched down to capture the city from different angles. The only other people I saw were a few like-minded photographers getting their own perfect morning pictures.


Cancemini4 said...

I noticed the same thing! You feel silly laying on the ground to get an amazing dawn shot of Notre Dame until the serious guy with his tripod shows up too :)

Zhu said...

You'd love Ottawa, it's a morning city too. Me, not so much!

I remember going to school at 8am in France, the only people in the streets were kids and students. Nothing was open... if the first class of the day was cancel (like a teacher who was sick in high school), the only place opened where we could go wait was... Macdo!

Zhu said...

"cancelled", of course. Moi fatiguéee. :-D