Thursday, 13 October 2011

Sab's Top Ten Wayward Paris Bridges: No.8 ~ "Pont du Carrousel"

POSTED IN:  ~ PlacesTop 10 ~ Bridges

Sab's Top Ten Wayward Paris Bridges
No.8: "Quirkiest" ~ Pont du Carrousel - Introduction
by Sab Will,  wannabe offbeat Paris street guru

Forget your most beautiful, forget your most romantic (with one or two notable exceptions), here I offer you an alternative take on the age old problem: how not to end up writing unpalatable, purple prose-tinted, nauseating gush when talking about Paris and its good old Mère Seine.

The approach I’ve taken for my Top Ten Wayward Paris Bridges may not be new, for all I know, and I've certainly seen another list or two of the Top Ten Paris bridges, but the angle taken, bless them, is invariably eulogistic. Homages to hurl to, if you will.

I wanted to try something different, so I took a bunch of Paris bridges with what I considered notable characteristics and ramped them up to the giddy heights of ‘most’.

Whence the list below, where I offer you the most artistic, the most pretentious (go on, guess before looking, I’m sure you’ll get it) and yes, I couldn’t resist, the most romantic bridges in Paris, to name but a few. So go ahead and get out there; maybe I'll cross you on the Seine one of these days.

Sab's Top Ten Wayward Paris Bridges

No.8: "Quirkiest" Paris Bridge – Pont du Carrousel

Now why on earth would this bog-standard looking central Paris bridge, with nothing special to recommend it in particular, merit my 'Quirkiest Paris Bridge' title? Well, 'Ah-hah!', you see... That's exactly what I'm going to tell you now :-D

For, anodyne as it may seem (and in itself it is), there's one marvellous quirk which stands the Pont du Carrousel apart from all the others. Only having discovered this after nearly 20 years of fairly vigorous city scouring and curiosity seeking, I'm assuming I'm not alone in being delighted by the fact.

Now you don't see it...
So what happens (because something does indeed 'happen')? Well, around about sundown a marvellous event takes place, unexpected and somehow gently magical. you do!
You may have noticed the four rather majestic lampposts at the corners of the bridge. Of standard height, one might say. But as the sun sinks behind the Eiffel tower, and unnoticed if you're not looking out for it, the lamps slowly but surely start - to - grow!

The first time I tried to consciously capture this phenomenon I almost gave up and went home - I was half-way down the quay when I cast one last look behind me just in case, and then started running back to get the shot!

There's a mechanism inside each structure with extends the lamps up to almost twice their original height, the aim being for them not to obstruct the view of the Louvre during the daytime, I believe.

I've yet to witness this event from the neighbouring (and somewhat romantic?) Pont des Arts, which is curious, because I must have been there tons of times when this happened, but I'm sure it would only add to the charm of the moment. I'll let you know.


* Sab Will runs Photo and Curios Tours in Paris, and also manages a variety of Paris and photography-themed sites and blogs. He writes an illustrated Paris Chronicle every day, runs a Meetup group for Paris lovers, interviews Paris personalities and reviews Paris books (on this blog), and even contributes to the city's street art (shh), so feel free to browse some of the links below and in the right-hand column to find out more about what he gets up to out there...

© 2011 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Suggestions, questions, requests and offers always welcome!

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