Like a seduction, night in Paris falls slowly. An excellent seducer, she draws out the pleasure for as long as possible. Twilight here can last for hours. It is called l'heure bleu and is a magic time for photographers and painters and lovers and in the summer the smell of flowers is strongest at this time of transition from day to night. Paris often overwhelms me and sometimes, like tonight, I choose to just walk along the Seine with my thoughts. I cross from the apartment on rue Maître Albert to a set of old stone steps that lead down to the river. Notre Dame seems to rise and become more majestic as I descend to the river. Here, down by the water it is quiet with only an occasional solitary walker or a couple embracing on one of the concrete benches. I am alone with my thoughts.
I don't know how far I'll walk tonight, I am at ease and happy to be here. There is an air of mystery as I walk under the bridges – Pont au Double, Petit Pont, Pont St Michel. At street level I would be in the scene but down here I can reflect on it, hearing the music from the piano bar at Petit Pont, picturing the terrasse of Le Départ. There is a peace to it that envelopes me. It is not quite dark yet and the sky is a deep luminous blue that I have only ever seen here in Paris. The large iron mooring rings set into the ancient walls seem to invite me to tie up here and never leave.
Before I know it it is past midnight and I am beyond Pont Neuf, facing one of the most romantic spots in Paris – the Pont des Arts. It is a wooden foot bridge across the Seine connecting the Louvre to the Académie Française, kind of a connection between art and logic. Even at midnight there is still some reluctant light in the sky and I can see clouds behind the couple on the bridge. I stop here and take my first, and my last picture of the night.