Friday, 20 May 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Turnstile Tantrums'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Turnstile Tantrums ~

Turnstile Tantrums, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

BONUS: For Street Photography Fans!

I don't want to put a downer on things or anything, but just in case you weren't aware of it, today is the end of the world.

Isn't there a song about 'circles of the mind', or was that windmills. Anyway, here's a strange circle in the middle or a rather famous place; a road builder's flight of folly on a boring street-spreading afternoon, or is there a deeper significance?

That's right, it's the latter, and in fact there are a whole load of interesting stories about this place and the various curiosities it holds. I was chatting to the director of the medieval Tour Jean Sans Peur the other day for a forthcoming interview on Paris If You Please, and he told me about the possibilities of reopening this thing to the public.

He told me that access was one of the biggest problems. In other words, how to get people across what is an undeniably busy and complicated road junction to actually be able to start climbing the column in the first place.

Options would include a(nother) pedestrian crossing, but blatantly stopping the entire volume of traffic just to let a few column climbers saunter over to it. I mentioned a sort of zebra flyover, but immediately realised that the chances of that being built in image-conscious Paris would be next to none.

The final possibility would seem the most logical: an underpass, otherwise known as a 'tunnel', taking people over from the edges, or why not simply a direct access from the extensive underground network which runs all over the place, well, all under the place in this case. After all, they've done it at the Arc de Triomphe, and if it's good enough for the Big Arch...

Indeed, and this is where it gets interesting, given the labyrinth of tunnels under the place, (and if you've ever needed to switch from line 1 to line 5 or line 8 in a hurry you'll know what a painful reality that is), it turns out that the difference between being in the metro system and being in the sort of museum under the column is a question of... a brick wall.

That's right, all they'd have to do would be knock down a wall and they'd have a ready-made entrance into one of the most impressive columns in the city. With no disruption to traffic whatsoever and extreme convenience for all concerned. With one exception.

Apparently the entrance would be well within the hallowed confines of the metro station, which would mean that in addition to the entrance fee to go up the column, visitors would require a metro ticket... even if they didn't have the slightest intention of taking the metro. And therein lies the rub. No metro ticket = no column visit, and the proverbial spanner in the works strikes again, as no-one seems prepared to budge on this point. So you'll just have to enjoy my picture for the time being, and dream of revolutionary days gone by, and perhaps to come.

P.S. Did you ever work out what that circle's all about then? And no, it's not where the tunnel to get to the column's going to go...

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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