Street Photography | People in Paris

A collection of street photography: portraits of strangers on corners or through windows.

Some people people-watch, sitting on street corners or at cafe tables. A select few reach for a note book and sketch away, creating characters with stories and adventures imagined. Yet, I find there is a frustrating sense of inactivity involved in this process, feeling stuck and still with one single frame in which to capture.

Thats why I take to the streets. I walk and delight in the split-second moments that a 50mm lens affords me to capture. With street photography, I’m no longer observing but stumbling upon a moment – an exchange and interaction. Some of my subjects notice. Others will maybe never know. All are captured with the intent of dignity.

The French, I find, are more expressive of their personality. Each individual follows a fashion of their own style and lives out their unique moment, perfectly intertwined within habitual routine.

All street photography images subject to copyright –  © Eleanor Hyde 2022

More from France here.

More street photography: ‘Humans of Japan’ here, or Camden Streets here.

A French artist wearing a beret sketches a portrait in the street
a woman in a pink dress walks a large grey Great Dane dog through a large French square

*Disclaimer: One or two of these were shot in Bordeaux, although the majority were from the streets of Paris.

Pompidou | Paris

Graduating Architecture via the Pompidou

picture of a red road sign and the Pompidou Centre on the right
photo of the Pompidou Centre eco-skeleton with a zig-zagging staircase hanging on the exterior

Home to a large public library and the Centre National d’Art et de Culture, the Pompidou Centre in Paris is well worth a visit. An artistic statement in itself, this high-tech influenced piece of Architecture is a must see on anyone’s Paris bucket list. Having just finished my Architecture degree, I headed to France as a well-earned break, whilst awaiting results. I made a B-line for the Pompidou.

About the Pompidou

Designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, the Pompidou Centre 1971-77 is revolutionary to this day. To state the obvious, this high-tech statement was a successful expression of an ‘inside-out’ concept. All the structure, mechanics, circulation, vertical cores and ducts were placed to the exterior. This colour-coded system of pipework, structure and access encased an open interior, free of clutter and perfect for functional program. The result was a cocoon-like array of fabricated scales.

It was not just the form of building that launched its presence in Paris and global fame. The building houses more than an art museum: a library, theatre, music venue… As a result, the building became an exciting hub transforming the idea of what a museum could be. The Pompidou was and is the precedent of a museum that engages with the city on diverse levels, offering social and cultural exchange beyond the idea of ‘museum’ in the 1970’s. The Pompidou had ‘everything,’ and could not be defined as a single type of building – it had multipurpose.

Image through the structure of the Pompidou. On left Sid of image, you see an external view of Paris. On the right, the image looks internally through a glazed viewing corridor

Views from the Pompidou

Image of view of Eiffel Tower from Pompidou
Image of view of Sacre Coeur from Pompidou

Today, many visit the Pompidou and entry into the art museum’s exhibitions only costs you €16. Additionally, due to the building’s diverse range of function, the concourse is publicly free to enter. A grand open centre inclusively offers bookshops, toilets, information and temporary displays. More so, ascending the famous exterior escalator is free to all and arrives at a public viewing terrace.

The corridors stretch along the same line, one floor above the viewing terrace. Along this axis, you are given one of the best panoramic views in Paris. Along a single linear route, you can see both the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur. It really is a must see! Although on a hot day, I advise finding the external terrace quickly, because the 1970’s glass tubes are really nothing more than unpleasant greenhouses…

The Backstreets

The backstreet regions around the Pompidou are also worth a stroll. Located adjacent to Le Marais, you will find colourful pocket galleries, street art, artisan shops and more! Perhaps you’ll spend an evening strolling avenues or enjoy a bite in one of the many Brassieres or Creperies.

Heading to Paris? Add it to the itinerary!

Want more French inspired blogs? Check out the France series over the next month or so.

Previous Travel Series: Japan; Canada; Italy