Today felt like the last blush of summer sunshine on the city that always shimmers, both in shadow and shade. These are some photo highlights I took this morning on my morning potter through the 5th arrondissement; heralded by Hemingway, the sunflower filled Jardin des Plantes and the touch of autumn rainfall on my shoulder along the Seine wth the rose windowed eyes of Notre Dame upon us all…

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


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Starting at top left with a Jeu de Paume exhibition advertised at Cite Metro station on Ile de la Cite, La Tour Eiffel seen from Le Mur pour la Paix (The Wall of Peace), a bench in Jardin du Luxembourg, the back roof of the Saint Sulpice church in the 6th arrondissement, Notre Dame seen from the terrace of Institut du Monde Arabe on Quai Saint Bernard.

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Autumn revealing its colour on the hills of Parc de Belleville in the 20th, looking at reflections on a glass wall of the George Hermant swimming pool in the 19th, plant pots on Rue Mabillon in the 6th, La Tour Eiffel and the champ du Mars, graffiti on columns in the Maison du l’Air in Belleville, mosaic panelling inside the Institut du Monde Arab.

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A man sitting in the Jardin des Tuileries, a winding side street in the 6th, metro line at Pasteur in the 15th, a bridge in the Parc Bercy in the 12th, trees along the road side in Neuilly Sur Seine, a house in Parc Bercy.

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 A black and white shot of the Nassim de Camondo Museum in the 8th, the bridge again (I like it), a tree yellowing at Parc Montsouris in the 14th by Cite Universitaire, polar ice melting at the Pantheon in the 5th for the Climate Change conference, a chandelier in a glass ball on a lake in the Jardin des Tuileries and a deserted railway line in the 14th.

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Boat houses opposite Ile de la Grande Jatte in Neuilly Sur Seine, the Louis Vuitton Foundation museum in the Bois de Boulogne, the entrance to Parc Monceau in the 8th and finally a leafy lane in Parc Bercy.

The featured photograph is a hot air balloon (Ballon GENERALI de Paris) hovering over Parc Andre Citreon in the 15th arrondissement.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


Amid a city of grey slate roofs
I had painted my slate white,
Washing everything I had been,
Had seen, had loved and lost.
Those old fears fell from me
Like Fall’s gentle snowflakes
As I stood on foreign soil,
In a foreign land, with foreign rain
Covering me and foreign words
Falling all around me and fearing
Nothing more than the possibilities
That lay await on front of me.

In a fantastically foreign taxi,
I sailed across foreign streets,
On the foreign side of the road
With that same foreign rain
Washing down the windows
As we rushed past shop fronts,
Sidewalks and sleepy streets,
So much to take in, so little in focus.

I remember that very first morning,
Opening windows and seeing you
In morning fresh, bathed in shiny dew.
Those famed rooftops, chalky grey,
Your buildings, creamy white
And your sky of brilliant blue.
Nothing was blurred anymore,
Nothing any longer a suggestion,
In that morning, everything was.

I walked you south to north that day
As morning fell to afternoon
Amid rays of October sunshine
And rested by your banks,
Gauloises in hand, Notre Dame in view,
And took you in, forever.

You ingrained yourself into me-
As deep as that rose window
In your Cathedral I gazed upon
On that very first day. And yet,
Today, so removed from you,
I still feel you, fall drawn to you,
Like a familiar call from home.

I got lost amid your left banks
That afternoon but you guided me
Back to the right path though I felt
No turn could ever be wrong
Least I missed a part of you
As yet unnoticed, like a sly smile,
Double take or a furrowed stare
Caught afresh on the face
Of a lover known so well.

Eventually, I passed Notre Dame
Every night, as a thousand taxis
Whisked me home
And I reminded myself, always,
To look at your Lady and rejoice
In the luck I’d found to be mine.

I may travel away to lands and rains
And taxis foreign to you but
There will always remain,
Inside us both, the boy
On the bridge, that day,
With cigarette in hand
And possibilities in mind,
Looking at you and falling.