Paris Vignettes: Picturesque Passageways

Paris Vignettes: Picturesque Passageways

As you wander through the diverse neighborhoods of Paris, you’ll stumble upon intriguing passageways and meandering narrow streets. I find this to be one of the city’s most compelling attractions. Particularly with the light of the low winter sun, you can photograph some magical scenes in these secluded areas. Sometimes glancing down one of these passages you see people doing everyday things but with the light and shadows, it looks artful (as depicted below in “ceci n’est pas un artiste”). Always appealing are the courtyards near the Bastille (“cours pres de la Bastille”), where every 10 steps you’ll immerse yourself in unique places, some passageways even a bit green during mid-winter. I also enjoy the perspectives from the main streets like rue Saint Antoine or the “quai” towards the small side streets with their pavés (cobblestones) which form spectacular images that seem frozen in time.

Following this thread for this edition of Paris Vignettes, I also captured restaurants hidden in courtyards (“cour du resto”), and ateliers such as “espace des femmes,” which invite you to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy Parisian streets. Elsewhere you can stumble across a table and chairs enticing you to brush off the leaves, sit down and relax (“un table caché dans Belleville”). Add some rain and evening light and those pavés glisten (“pluie dans le quartier juif”) as one walks back home after a day of being a flâneur.

Vue de Saint Antoine, photo by William O’Such

Vers Saint Germain, photo by William O’Such

Pluie dans le quartier juif, photo by William O’Such

Pénétrer le quartier latin, photo by William O’Such

Les pavés de quartier latin, photo by William O’Such

espace des femmes, photo by William O’Such

Cours pres de la Bastille, photo by William O’Such

Cour du resto, photo by William O’Such

Ceci n’est pas un artiste, photo by William O’Such

Au Coeur du Marais, photo by William O’Such

Lead photo credit : un table caché dans Belleville, photo by William O'Such

More in black and white, Paris Vignettes, passageways, photography, Photography by William O'Such, streets of paris, William O'Such

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William was introduced to silver halide photography by his father, Chester J. O’Such, via the family’s Ansco reflex camera and home darkroom. After college, William worked as a photographic engineer at Eastman Kodak, where he began to learn the art of photography. With his first SLR, a Canon AE-1, he photographed his inaugural voyage to Paris in 1982. This early spark turned into full passion when William became a Kodak expatriate in Paris from 1995-99. Before returning to the USA, William and his future wife Ineke bought an apartment in the Marais district. Inspired by Bresson, William continues to visit Paris at least twice a year to wander the streets, camera in hand, looking for the next vignette. His photos are available for sale by visiting