Sunday, January 13, 2013

How to fete in Deepest Winter?

There are any number of wonderful ways of celebrating winter around the world.

Place Vendome ~ la traversee de Paris 2013

You can celebrate Samhain, Guy Fawkes Night (oh, now this is a Good One), Diwalii, a good 'ol fashined Nativity Fast, Bodhi Day, Winter Solstice (what's not to like about building a bonfire and dancing the night away while completely nakkid?), Mondraniht, Saturnalia (with a tip to Old Rome), Hogmanay (I'm sorry I sold my kilts, really I am, but the world is a safer place for it), Pancha Ganapati, Imbolc, and, of course, Christmas in America (where you are encouraged to spend, spend, spend as a spiritual exercise of keeping the Top One Percent firmly in their place - at the top).

Here in France, there are the traditional Lighting of the Lights each night down the Champs Elysee, and the very important Sacrifice of the Sapin (Christmas Tree to normal folk) in Your Livingroom.  Yet, the whole season somehow seemed less festive than I imagined it would be.  Even New Years Eve was a surprise.  The French are a reserved lot after all, right?


I simply did not understand how Winter was to be properly celebrated.

Place Vendome ~ la traversee de Paris 2013

Up before dawn with breakfast in the belly and my big cameras slung around my neck, I was out the door and into the metro before, um, what's this?  Clouds?  Drizzle?  Rain?  Ugh.  Well, there was nothing for it but to soldier on.

Popping up out of the metro at Concorde I made my way over to Place Vendome.  This is where began my education into how the French really celebrate Winter.  Avec du vin, du fromage, et un petit morceau de pain.  Zut!  Il n'est pas deja 09H30!!  On doit de la nourriture, n'est pas?

Vintage Bicycle ~ Place Vendome ~ la traversee de Paris 2013

Oooooo... wot's this then?  A two seater Bugatti?  And over there, a Jaguar XK120 OTS?  And, OMG!, a full blown Ferrari F40?  Jesus Christo! and here they all come!!  Automobiles.  Vintage automobiles.  Of all manner of marque and stripe and condition of the "silencers" on their exhaust systems.  Heavy American Iron.  Old British High Carbon Content Steeled Beasts.  Bright Eye Searing Red Italian Slippered Gorgeous Supple Leathered Hand Hammered Aluminum Bodied Race Cars.  Piles and Stacks and Generous Helpings of French Goodness on Four Freak'n Wheeled Art Works.

Voici la traversée de Paris deux mille treize.

la traversee de Paris 2013 ~ pont Sully

Now this, my friends, is a party.  A party worthy of Fun.  A party worth celebrating avec la Bruit et la Vitesse.  In other words, a party to welcome the Full Onslaught of Winter.

After several hours in Place Vendome, I made my way over to Pont Sully.  There are two bridges there that feed automobiles off la rue Saint Germaine de Pres, across le Seine, and sends them past the old Sully Armory and into the former prison at la Bastille.

Alfa Romeo ~ Place Vendome ~ la traversee de Paris 2013

Kilometer after kilometer de voitures anciennes.

A l'isle Saint Louis Local stopped me and asked pourquoi est-ce que vous prenez les photos de voiture?  Knowing Parisians HATE to have their photo taken, I had to perform a rather quick mental calculation.  What I came up with was a mixture of Franglais and the Complete Unknowable.  Still, I was able to convey il y a 600 voiture qui passe pres d'ici.  Aujourd'hui est la traversée de Paris.

The questioner gave me a quizzical look and asked six cents de voiture anciennes pres d'ici?  C'est formidable, ca!

Place Vendome ~ la traversee de Paris 2013

A more complete accounting of my photographic adventures from la traversee de Paris are found here (simply scroll down through 100+ images).

1 comment:

  1. this is wonder ful! the additional photos are impressive. seems i have seen a few that are near the end.