Paris : Finale

All the hype and wait, It is about time that we moved on – finish this french business. It has taken me a lot longer while there has been plenty more to add from the recent life. World has moved on, I have had two more trips in between – the next one is already coming along in less than 3 weeks – where in the world is Mani lost ? Good question, but I can only answer once I know because I do not know where the time goes and how quick it goes. It just flies past me and leaves me in lot more questions.

So from the last point we left, Carried on my journey to the Paris Automobile show, which for certain reasons can’t be added into this post or else I will never end this chapter but would conclude the girls of Paris in another post sometime in future. For now, I must head back to Paris in night gathering my last few hours in this city.

Moments of joy and celebrations - Life is to live.
Moments of joy and celebrations – Life is to live.

Colorful people, lovely music and journeys to bring these memories.

Out from the station

Walking out from the last station, the drizzling water spots of the rain disappears into the chilly weather.

Night "Instagram" style in Paris.
Night “Instagram” style in Paris.

The weary night of Paris in the cold and chilly conditions wears an empty look. Nothing really compared to this when you talk of cities and how impressively they show that they are meant for businesses only. By the day – they run, they soak you in and fall the night – nothing, not even a bird wants to flock its wings in this emptiness.

Spot the traffic and the alienated emptiness.
Spot the traffic and the alienated emptiness.

The invisible little water drops from the drizzling rain form an impressive view at this moment. The little light above the fountain makes it look it an Alien zone.  It just shows, the cold and empty Paris to you.

Love Love Love... in Paris
Love Love Love… in Paris

Humans always seek a reason to run away from the crowded affairs of life. Somewhere in the world, someone is kissing someone away from the busy crowds and someone like me is surely waiting for it to caught. It is funny how life looks when you are on the other side of the camera. You see life from a perspective other than being a cameraman – it becomes like a part of your life – something you cannot miss – something you cannot live without.

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Paris, sure wears different colours in the night. A view from the end of Champs Elysees – Considered to be the most expensive high street of the world under The Arc of Triomphe.

The momentary pause in the middle of the road does shows that life is moving, the time ticking and shutter clicking. Not the best way to do the night shots of the city with a hand that is frozen and trying reasons to be steady at all.

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While walking away from the emptiness towards the most expensive Champs Elysees I come across this house decorated in the colours from outside ready to welcome its visitors. The inside roof of the house looks even more amazing than outside. The night brings its own colours.

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Somewhere down the Elysees – the busy scene displaces the calmness with sirens and noise from the police cars. Someone tonight is not going to be happy to know that their car was not parked by the roadside but in the no parking zone that soon shall be causing them the despair for their parking. Colourful night in its own tones.

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Doesn’t really have that need of words to give the justice to what your eyes can already see. Better words stay away for next few minutes while you browse through.

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“Pomme de Pain” – Something which is only for my desi counterparts (Anyone knowing Hindi would relate to the words – “Pomme di pain”) ha ha haa .. Just a joke for those but this is what Paris, France and French life is all about “Pomme de Pain”.

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The busy Circle of life, the Galleries of paris with shops, sellers, food stalls – it all  happens in here if you are one of those looking for shopping in Paris.

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Does it not show ! Pace of this place even when it is empty, like any other cities from the world. I relate the Arc de Triomphe to “India Gate” similar architecture standing in the memory of lost lives during the WW1 &2 in India. Interesting but these all architectures have such a huge importance in the life of cities. These are all that make the real cities to remember – give them a character – give them their essence of recognition.

Closer and Closer
Closer and Closer

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I, the Freebird welcome you to Arc de Triomphe in the night.

Exits and entrances !! Does get bit exciting when you have so many directions to choose from and you don’t know where you are going because it all is in French. Experiencing France in a French way is one way of seeing it, other way is to get lost without knowing where you  may end up.

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The last bits of underground existence on a Sunday night – All of the tourists, mostly Americans, mostly mid-aged – you do get to see the way and know who travels where in which part of their lives. I may be wrong here but getting to sit, stand and listen to someone for 5 seconds does give you a good idea of where, what and how they have been travelling.

Cutest shot in the city.
Cutest shot in the city.

A curious little friend 🙂 I am sure he was more eager to see what this silly guy is doing digging into the floor with his black little round thing in the front – I find this the cutest shot but I knew there was one more which was going to come along. I am sure this was about to make me feel so happy.

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Give or take, the emotions of life does not only relate to humans – even the pets sometimes show the emotions of their families where they belong. I simply could not stop enjoying this picture and not sharing this one will be injustice to the moment.

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Pin drop silence to the effect that you can hear every single footstep – sounds bit creepy – That’s Paris my friend for you.

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We are just seeing the last busy bits of this place before it all settles down and kicks again with the morning rush hour for which I will be on my way to London. So with this I say good night to the last night in Paris and I shall finish my last few shots back into the Life of London again.

Next morning, I am heading back to where I belong – the so called heart/home experience. There are rarely places that makes you feel so close to how you feel at home. I can’t say where my home but I can certainly relate to where my heart wants to go – A place which no cities offer me.

This journey of photos, memories, work, shoot and friends must come to an end so I commence my return with the final goodbye to the Paris stations early in the morning @ Haussmann Hazare to switch for my London Return Eurostar.

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To say my experience in the double decker train has been quite interesting as we do not get to see them anywhere in the UK  – it is something more French that I have been introduced to on my this trip.

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To all that we have seen so far, the next destination awaits me – The journey of return begins, early in the morning at 0630 through the crowds of people who rush to catch their return via Eurostar train. It was interesting to notice how many people commence their weekend journeys working in London,  living in Paris and family somewhere farther out in France.

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Although Eurostar is one of the fastest trains with plenty of facts around it.  Eurostar train connecting London to Paris has the longest sea tunnel anywhere in the world – the facts are plenty to read and see. But I must find my way to get into one of these fast speed carriers.
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The early morning rush is just getting to build up while I still struggle to find which way is the check-in. I was seriously confused with how there was no direction markers until I asked someone who pointed out me to the right direction above the stairs.

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Its true, the higher you get the lonelier and better it becomes. Whether you talk of your status or of heights – there is only one risk – if you fall you may not survive 😀 – Just a joke but enjoy the views of the old Paris, Gare du Nord station.

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The final immigration security check for the Schengen visa and formalities before you board the train – the funny thing was I can seriously see there was a need for more window counters to be opened. Same story as any other UK airport – Not enough officers for the duty.

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I make my way to the platform and to the right door to reach my seat. The good part is it is not like a cheap ryanair/aerlingus/easyjet flight where you do not have seat numbers assigned and you tend to be treated like sheeps in the end. Ha ha haa – I guess that is the gift of cheap travelling. Although even cheap travelling was never the same 2years back. These transporters wanna suck every bit of money they can out of your wallets.

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The royal way back – it surely is a world of difference when you leave London expecting a great same way back into Paris but that is not the way it welcomes you.  Through the smell of piss, beggars, sellers and lot more dodgy scenes – it appears to be a third world for a while. It is not a travel magazine but rather my blog where I can express what I feel like, I see and I experience.  My journey back to London does bring me through lot of wonderful memories so I take my seat in the very plush large seat and doze off for the next 2hours till I wake up in London just like a dream.

Ah, but before I can settle in – my opposite seat businessman has spilled his coffee – had a cross with his neighbour and invited himself to some wild corner on the pair of seats. I preferred to say none as the arrogance people reflect is really a great way to piss off others. I am not even out of Paris yet but this shows me the last taste of the wonderful business minded crowd. Minding my own business, I am falling asleep for I need to get back into the studios.

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Suddenly, the world changes as I open my eyes under the roof that offers the light, the air that is not stinky anymore ! The St. Pancras international station has something to offer that sure not many stations around Europe do. It has that bit to it which separates itself from the rest of European counterparts.

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Collecting my last bits of the morning pick pack shots, I enjoyed this weekend.

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Welcome to the bit, THe LONDON ! Its 0939hrs on Monday morning.

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This is when life returns to the normalcy of daily life.

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To the world with bags, packs and morning stress.

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I say goodbye to all you lovely readers. People whom I know &  I don’t. Life is a journey – which we all do but depends what we want out of it. My next adventure shall take you away into the nature of England Countryside away from the cities. I have already finished two more journeys but I am always a tad behind with pace of blogs. Life is different when you have multiple jobs, endless journeys and plethora of shots.

Keep coming back.

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Paris : An Experience – Part III

To begin with, I must say that I am really sorry that I do not want to cut this experience short due to lack of time and lack of unavailability. I know I will have my cappuccino waiting for me somewhere once I finish this Paris experience. It sure is a little bit of a work but I hope this justifies to keep you coming back. I promise to finish it quickly once I have more time to myself.

Special thanks to a special friend, for the Cappuccino and the chocolate 🙂 experience.

Continuing from where we left in our last experience of Paris – Part II

Back in Paris from one station to next – the journey is a bit of fun in Metro. Just like other cities in Europe the fastest connection between the two ends is Tube(underground) and being a non speaking french person – my ability to pronounce any of the names is just about crap. Don’t either expect it to be anything else other than crap because I cannot – just cannot say the french names correctly – blame it all on the default language (english). So from the last hop on the train I was about to do few more hops.

Concorde – Not a plane, just a destination.

This journey is a beginning to the underworld of Paris – the world which has its own pace, defined through the past years in the way it takes people from A to B and B to D or anywhere of those destinations. So my journey from Concorde has started and finished in a corner called Abbesses. Sounds like a pretty horror place. Apologies but I cant stop thinking of darkness  – as is Abyss.

Metro in Paris – Underworld

And, to notice it is not very different to any other huge technological garage – people stuck on their screens – the slaves of modern age and life. There is no doubt we the humans are slaves of technology and it is not far that we will soon be idiots without our little screens as we pledge to lose our knowledge and identity in being virtualised – may be all should be codes on the Virtual clouds, jumping from one to another program. Who knows, but I am very angry to see how our lives are shaped by technology – becoming too much finger’y all the time.

Dark Abyss in ABBESSES

Not that is all but even the walls of our modern day existence reflects the mode of our moods. All tarnished and abandoned by the masterpieces of modern day advertisements. Ah, seriously who needs billboards or posters these days – we enjoy the visual experiences. Hence, to prove it all we frame to frame them for seriously nothing in it.

Frames of modern day framing.

Not all is lost yet, the age old architecture and hundred years old staircases still survives away from the technology. At least there are few things untouched and still preserved which make you feel like – may be there is a hope that something will be left for future generations to observe.  I think I am too old in this body to complaint so much but this all that I see – I can’t stop writing about it. Some of it does seems like parody but it actually isn’t – it is my heart felt apologies to say – we will soon be lost in our existence.

Sortie

On choosing my “Sortie” / Exit – I landed to find something quite interesting. The wall art of Paris. Something I really admired to see – that someone was creative here to explicitly agree to display something very interesting and artsy.

Walls of Spiral staircases

It does take more than few seconds to really see and understand art. It may sometimes be as simple as it seems and simply meaningless – you just need to enjoy it.

Takes time to see it with an artist eye.

It does becomes interesting but you need to put more than a quick look. It has something behind it – the feel of Paris – that rush and the busy streets and the same staircase which has no place to stand or shoot once it is in full rush.

For all is not lost yet.

I noticed a lot in this last one than other two but it is indeed very creative of someone. Unaware that more than half of city dwellers never have an eye on what lies in the city just like what happens with me when I am so engrossed in my daily routine of life. I still try sometimes 😉 there are even hidden corners in my City too 🙂 that I notice now.

Montmarte

Out of this little underworld, the life outside suddenly springs to life. It seems like a little ghost town down under. Have you really noticed how quiet it is indeed – wow – quite unlike any other rush and work day. I do love this silence and quiet feeling but then it does not fits for Paris. I was bit lost for the direction of where I was headed but I know the human radar of my real navigation is quite good with directions. The sense of direction and outside crowd makes me quickly figure out my directions. I was headed to the Basilic of Sacred Heart, Paris.

Before I reach there I have a direction hunt to do. Well, it is quite interesting that life is still active – mostly tourists and mostly couples.

Windows of Paris.

I like to see these windows, which are almost outdated but still stay in use across most older cities and towns of Europe. Observing how our life has little things we don’t notice.

Lonely Heart

Someone lonely left his or her heart here for me to capture and bring it to all of you. Enjoy the night life with the colours and Purple and greens. It is all that is there to life – little things that we miss as we grow old … or older or.. simply busier.

Hangout lane

If only I had spare time but I was on a mission with a timeline before it starts raining again and gets too late that I have no train left to go back – I must hunt Basilic. Something with a very special value to christianity -the firm belief of all those who live by its authority.

Pole Hugging

Atleast there is always something interesting to see from a different perspective “Pole Hugging” for motorheads. It is a good obsession to have keen interest in motorcycles otherwise you won’t know what a “Pole Hugging” would mean. My one generally doesn’t do it because she is kept away from poles.

Stairs to Basilic

It suddenly becomes quite crazy this place is full of people and lots of them “Americans” – The french suddenly disappears and no one really is keen on speaking french. All the way the stairs to the Basilic is uphill steep climb. As I walk along the stairs, the conversations of people become quite interesting around me. Most of the women – generally girls in groups – hmm… I better not wanna share it all. For some of the things must be left for diary notes only.

Night view of Basilic, Paris

After all this uphill climb and interesting conversations – the life springs back to England (Just joking), it springs to America – there is no one french up here. The rain is still falling in drizzle but the crowd up here is seriously in party mode. It is a first day of Wine tasting on the Basilic. A huge party and celebration feeling which I was completely unaware of till I climbed all the stairs. It appears now – where all the Paris is hidden. Busy Busy Busy…  wow…. and it has started to rain as we enjoy the views.

City views in night from the top of Basilic

It does makes it all looks so different from the top. Indeed, I am starting to enjoy it but not for long as the rain drops starts to come down heavy and the I must not forget to check in the times for my last train. But before, I go – there is a time for a night pano stitch shot still.

Busy night at Basilic, Paris

Something I quite like – making huge, huge stitch shots. Love it in the full resolution but for all this is just an idea of what it looks with your vision of eyes. I had to make my way down back to the train station and it won’t be easy since the rain started to push most of the crowd down from here.

A night view of Basilic from streets

This was seriously quite a challenge to make my way through the streets full of crowd. Something that happened for the first time since I have been in Paris. Also, not to forget that please take caution with your wallets, expensive phones and shining jewellery. In such places things don’t take long for them to disappear. Most of it was quite interesting and I was finally in a german speaking crowd where I could use my 2bits of basic understanding. Feels more like a known turf down here.

METRO in Paris

Time never really stops and I must also not stop unless I want to end myself on the streets of cold, wet and rainy Paris. I have found myself a train station and trains to tread back into my night shelter. Citylife wears a totally different colour in night as we can see it now.

Magenta – RER E line – Station.

Ah, I am not really going to stop this huge big wide views of Magenta. I am tired, bit cold and want to go get some sleep. Waiting for trains is really annoying ….

Finally, Train is here.. Pink Line.

Finally, the train is here and I am heading to my bed.  This brings an end of my first day(washed out in rain), and remaining evening in selected above few shots.

With much anxious return, I shall bring you the “Sunday” experience of Paris too. A very dull, rainy, cold and dark day washed in rain. I still managed to step out, shoot Notre Dame, capture the girls of Paris, the Paris Autoshow and finally the last of the goodbyes from Paris.

More in next part….Part IV

Paris : An experience : Part II

So after two weeks of being away from my typical PC corner I knew there was lot waiting for me. I was out in the meanwhile snapping and shooting my friend with his daredevil skills but that shall follow a little bit later. I know I kept you all waiting for more to be followed on from where we left with Paris : Part I

Starting from where we left – the falling rain and the skyscape of the evening was making every moment interesting and very colorful. Let’s go back to Paris in the night world.

Night in Paris

Though it was good enough for couple of shots as there was more to be capture so here we go go ..

Eiffel in the distance with its evening Sparkle all over it.

It does not deter people to be out even though the weather is really amazing but the pretty thing about Paris is its architecture. I do love seeing the lines, the curves and the shapes but it is not all about the statues. Even the living statues adds to the value of the tourism in Paris.

Geometric compositions

Paris is not all about the shapes but also about the fashion. At least for the female population this is one city on their ever loving list of the shopping diary. Paris is much to do with the ode of spending and making you fill all your shopping dreams.

 So I am going to take you shopping now, even more shopping with Apple store – ah just in dreams 🙂 Dream on….

Mac Shopping in MiniPad 😉

Ah forget all this, there is something more interesting for women, I am sure they love it to be at the best of their wits. The makeup I mean, the world goes round the mirror. The magical “Mirror” that is ….

That magical “makeup” mirror.

But this was not the end of my evening, I had plenty more coming my way. Although the weather was getting quite cold and chilly but that did not stop me here. I had lot more to see, travel and capture. It was about time to hop hop hop the stations to find somewhere I can see this city from the top.

Paris Metro – Tuileries

This brings me to take you to a little extreme Paris as well – the walls of Paris dominated by Bloody warriors. Some cool and some scarry but this one surely was an eye catcher.

City warrior

Till I can find my next stop, I take your leave for today. I shall carry the Paris hunt in next installment. Can’t give myself a status of the machine 🙂 so more in next part. Watch out for Paris : An experience – Part III . Thank you all for dropping by and viewing the Paris from different perspective.

Paris : An experience : Part I

For travelers, Paris is just another historic exotic city that has its own charm attached to it. It for no matter should not be confused with anything else you see or come across in other cities. Life is vivid all across from architecture, history, colours and people that make this city. Lot of changes in the last century has changed the way this place actually must have been one time. For a minute – let’s give it a polished note before I write more about it in further details.

London to Paris

Paris – A city of love, A city of attraction, A city of architecture, A city of unending long queues, A city full of tourists, A city with crazy traffic, A city with oldest Metro in the world, A city with most expensive shopping stores, A city with youth kissing, A city with couples looking for excuse to uncork their wine bottle, A city with pebble streets, A city with oldest Renault cars, A city with endless list to do things, A city with history and the list is endless.

Pen and its lovers

There are things which do not tell what else this city has which I shall also not tell but should offer enough for you all to figure it out yourself. My journey was smooth and to say it this way that Eurostar operates on precise minute to minute service in terms of both arrivals and departures so do not expect anything less than a great service from Eurostar. Nothing on this front to offer besides you may get a good neighbor or a couple sitting opposite your seat who will either be indulged in their phone screens or two hours of cuddle sessions to keep you either shy or totally entertained – the choice is yours to make. I had a reason to choose the middle seat with the table so I can play a movie to keep myself engaged. Found that I had a boring selection of the movie with Scarlett Johansson playing in Girl with a Pearl Earring

Almost with darkness surrounding there was nothing to view out of the window. Getting off at Gare Du Nord, Paris was quite rush like everyone trying to leave and run away but why not – it is  Friday evening. Everyone had a reason as the train seem to be full with usual weekly commuters doing London – Paris regular weekly routine dressed in their business casuals. I had to take a RER E (Pink – girly line) to get into Zone5 where I was to spend my next few days(/nights).  Gare du Nord had a old classic look which somewhere reminds me of the renaissance roof from Frankfurt railway station. A bit of modern extension but still quite classic in its own way. I managed to get my ticket for RER on the counter after a long queue where some Japanese students had a bulk tickets to buy. The guy on the counter understood my english quite clearly and without any delays I was on my way to find RER E line. For my dismal shock it smelled like a smell of piss as soon as I crossed some of these blocks and alleys going down to the platform 53. I couldn’t believe for my sake that it can be anywhere like this outside India and somewhere in Europe – that too it in a capital city of France. Well, that was my first shock to be surprised with – how can Paris especially Gare du Nord be so stinky and carelessly un-kept. Anyways, it was the first time in Paris via train so I was bit in a surprise. Last time I visited Paris was on  a motorcycle so it does appear to be a shock. Getting down to the Magenta station where I can take the Pink line the train was in general words quite the same I would come across in England. Not much of a difference except it was the first time on a double decker train which is not so common or rather I have not at all seen in UK at all.


Interesting enough it is Friday evening and the city seems so quiet and all dull. Am I sure this is still Paris or am I just too lost in this illusion of comparison or expectations. Ignore my words if you cannot take the criticism but this is how it all is – may be you should read Lonely Planet guide for polished words. Train was largely empty at 2100hrs more like a ghost train running from Paris. I reached Émerainville – Pontault-Combault and just another two minutes walk from there I was in friend’s house.

The significance of religion.

Size-wise Paris is a bigger geography compared to that of London and its english counterparts. I let the rest of the evening watching TV and being a couch potato with my friend’s daughter. Kids really get me to nerves especially when all they wanna tell me is – “Patoush” – A word that went down my vocabulary list quiet well which means “Don’t Touch”.  Kids needs a lot of energy to deal with – one is 3 and the other one 6 – so both gave me hard time but it was fun besides there was another third one who was a part of the house crash party. Three kids and one soul to handle the hassles of three children. I am sure parenting would be a challenge when it happens but I hope that it would be in a language where I can deal better.

I was well sure I am going to be a bed crasher this night and will not be willing to wake up anytime soon. Beside the next morning it is one of the girl’s birthday so there was a certain feeling of happy birthday around this home. kids and Birthdays are I suppose the biggest thing for them in the year so.. a lot of Balloons filling and decoration and helping them set it up for the big thing. I am always at home when it comes celebrating with kids – just become one of them and forget the age of how time has made me grow older – time never stops.


Going back to my trip, the weather is really horrible. Heavy rain and it feels drastically chilly for this time. I had no mood stepping out but to wait till this rain would eventually settle down – would it settle or would it not – I think it possibly will not but I should still step out. For most of the way I would be in train (RER),  and Metro so it should be just about fine.


I decided I wanted the Louvre in this weather. Rain had settled down but not completely stopped. From Gare du Nord, I hopped onto Metro to get off at Palais Royal – Musee de Louvre. As the name suggest Louvre – it was good to point me in my direction. Metro has a very well connected like a web network across most of the major cities in the world. Stepping out at the Palais Royal – it lands you into this shopping mall where you see the inverse Louvre with the hanging base tip of it and people just do not want to leave it 🙂 something quite interesting for tourists to be at this spot.

A bit further as my excitement to shoot the louvre was getting a bit bigger. I step out to find myself on the right side of the mini Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. Splendid views with Eiffel in a distance and a mild drizzle. At first I would think – oh come one, it is just a drizzle then I forgot it all very soon as I started to indulge myself in the pictures and made the rain soon a thing of the past. Wooh – rain is not a big pain 🙂 I have a weather sealed kit – what for – abuse it. Yeah so  here for your eye candy some of the louvre shots. I really feel sorry for people who think photography is everyman cuppa tea but how can you use a flash for something like louvre from 80mtrs away. I think I need to share some more on that account but on the next blog post may be.

& here comes my master piece of a picture.
I call it real emotions – for some it is just a shot but for those who have eyes will look into the details of this makes it to my faves of the shots. This shot has what it calls for – emotions, love, solitude, music, expressions, hugs, kisses and above all the views from beyond inside but even outside.

Paris by Mani Babbar Photography

Reverse or Inverse Louvre.

Finally.. all that I was waiting for !

Great Louvre of Paris

More shall follow in the Part II …