There exists in my city a small group of individuals sharing a singularly original and possibly unhealthy passion: Paris draincovers.
In fact we may not be as few as I'm imagining, and we can even start sub-categorising these low-down individuals into those who decorate the things and those who photograph the results.
Not that a Paris draincover, nor any other functional metal street plate (electricity, gas, phones, cable TV, metro air vents, quarry entrances, prison escape tunnels, ghouls' and goblins' lairs...) needs to have been chromically enhanced in order for them to be interesting. You can often conjure up funny faces and pleasing abstract patterns from the most mundane of materials.
Is my condition serious? C'est grave, docteur? Perhaps, but for those of you who are also enchanted by such frivolity, welcome to my Top Ten Daring Paris Draincovers, including some of my favourite smile-inducing street finds from all over the city. Will the Paris streets ever stop serving up surprises from the depths, I wonder? I certainly hope not!
I was so sad when the first version I saw of this, near the Saint-Germain-des-Prés church, got washed or cleaned away.
So imagine my delight when I discovered an even better one on a walk around the 14th the other week!
The original version is white I think, I can't remember how much I messed around with the colours - but the inventive genius of turning this particular type of drain cover into a skeleton's rib cage is just... Read more
Although I didn't know it at the time, this shot was the precursor to all of my street-based Paris Top 10s. I was delighted by the way this perfectly functional structure, with a cheeky twist of the imagination, makes a wonderfully funny face to cheer up the pavement and turn a weary walk into a trail of discovery.
And I bet I'm not the only one to have amused myself by finding faces and figures in manhole covers, drain pipes, leaf shadows and even trials of fresh... Read more
* Sab Will runsPhoto 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...