Paris En Panoramique

Over New Years in 2010/2011 (more than 4 years ago) I went to Paris with my lovely wife - then fiancé. Here are some photographs shot on my Horizon Kompakt lomo film camera. I love the little weird characteristics of the camera including the softness on the right side of the film. The one thing I want to fix is whatever is rubbing the film and causing the horizontal lines. Anyway, the reason you’re seeing this is because I bought a film scanner and this is the second roll I found :-). Enjoy.

1. You are now a sommelier. A wine connoisseur, if you will. You have developed an enlightened sense of taste while galavanting around Paris, exploring what its many wine stores have to offer. You open the bottle like a champion, highlight the importance of smelling the cork and swirling the glass. What type of wine you ask? Bordeaux. Always. “Darling,” as you give a fake smile, “the Moscato will be served with dessert, I would know…I lived in Paris…”

2. The smell of cheese does not phase you any more. It could smell like a pot of golden fondue or the equivalent of a three-day old TV dinner, but it all tastes amazing. Plus, you’ve smelt stranger things on the streets of Paris.

3. Baguettes will never be the same. That buttery crunch, that flakey goodness. And the fact that you finished half of it before you got home.

4. You’ve seen very unique ways of sneaking on to the metro. From the quirky limbo dance to impressive ballet moves, not even the transportation security will stop anyone from sneaking on.

5. PDA doesn’t phase you. They call it the city of love for a reason. Couples will lock lips just about anywhere, including right in front of your face on a crammed metro.

6. You can justify an all black wardrobe. The only time “Well everyone else is doing it!” is justifiable. Parisians always sport their favorite color, no matter what the season. Black will always be the new black.

7. The frustration that ensues whenever you hear an accordion playing. Accordion players are no joke in Paris. Those little spawns of satan are everywhere, and were conveniently on the metro whenever you were. The worst part was that you had to stop your music since there was no avoiding the unpleasant sounds that were about to follow. Another dear memory is the “singers.” Their 1980’s speaker blared at extremely high frequencies, enough to pop your eardrum.

8. You feel pretentious when you start sentences saying, “When I lived in Paris…” But at the same time you know how awesome it sounds, and say it anyways. (See #1).

9. 100 euros is 100 dollars, right? No, unfortunately not. Now let’s go shopping!

10. No matter how many times you’ve seen it, when you see the Eiffel Tower lights up at night your heart explodes. Drinking wine on the Champ de Mars with good friends, avoiding the crazies, just a typically ethereal night in Paris.

Honorable mention:

Drinking wine in public is a privilege and a right!

Unofficial Map: Paris Métro Map by Constantine Konovalov

I first came across this project last November, and wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. An obvious work-in-progress with a lot of half-finished ideas and only part of the map visible in the preview image made things very hard to judge properly. 

Fast forward six months and the finished product has been unveiled at last. It’s definitely been worth the wait, as I think this is a very polished, well-considered map. The central conceit – that Métro lines 2 and 6 should form a perfect circle around Paris – is not a new one, but this is a particularly well implemented interpretation of that idea. 

The use of 30-degree angles instead of the standard 45 allows more versatility, but care has also been taken to minimise the number of directional changes along routes. Indeed, Constantine reckons that there are half as many “bends on the line” on this map as there are on the official RATP Métro map. It is this straightening out of routes that helps prevent the central part of the map – that contained within the idealised circle – from looking like so much spaghetti in a bowl. A lot of work has gone into creating harmony and space between all the many and varied route lines, and I find the overall effect very pleasing. The path of the Seine orients the reader nicely, as does the inclusion of the Canal St. Martin and some delightful line icons of major landmarks throughout the city.

Mode differentiation is good, with Métro, RER, Transilien and tram services all looking quite obviously different to each other. Interchange station symbols have been greatly simplified from the earlier draft, which helps them stand out much better now. Destinations reachable via a short walk are indicated with dotted lines: a very welcome touch! Finally, future expansions are also included as dotted route outlines, showing just how much thought has gone into this map… I do love a map that’s future-proofed!

If I have one tiny complaint, it’s the way that the outer edges have been compressed and distorted to allow the inner part of the map to work properly. In real life, if you stand on the Arc de Triomphe, the Place de la Concorde is in one direction, and the Grande Arche at La Défense is in the exact opposite direction. It’s one of Paris’ grand axes and almost as much a landmark in its own right as the buildings along it. The official map honours this axis, but Constantine’s map has to bend the path quite substantially to keep the even spacing of stations around the perfect 2/6 ring. It’s not a deal-breaker by any stretch, and I think that the change of background colour at the urban boundary almost acts as a signifier that the map is switching from simplified geography to pure diagram at that point.

I also think that the map could have relied a little less on the established look of the official map (despite the presence of their logo, this project is not endorsed or supported by the RATP). While the similar look creates an instant sense of familiarity, I do think that Constantine could have pushed the envelope a bit and created something with its own unique look and feel.

Our rating: The lure of making a perfect circle out of Métro lines 2 and 6 is almost too great to ignore, but there have been many failed and downright ugly attempts at it over the years. This is easily the best effort I’ve seen, if perhaps a little overly reliant on the design themes of the official map. Four stars!

Source: – take a look at the incredible process video at the bottom of the page: you can almost see Constantine’s thought processes and ideas evolve along with the map. Well worth watching!