I returned this past weekend from another three week trip to Paris. On the second Saturday, I woke up very early, about 5 a.m., took the RER B line to Châtelet-Les Halles, then the RER A line to Charles de Gaulle Étoile. It was still very dark when I arrived above ground and the Arc de Triomphe was lit up at the center of the large traffic circle, l’Étoile.
On a previous trip, I had scoped out a place to shoot a panorama, the center median at the end of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. But, when I arrived, I realized that the median was not raised at all, making me wonder what would keep a driver from trying to cut the corner a little short, hitting me. The tunnel access to the Arc de Triomphe does not open until much later, so to get on the center island required crossing several lanes of traffic. So, I stood and waited, studied the traffic patterns, when the traffic was heavy and when there were pauses. I saw two guys run across the lanes, screaming at the top of their lungs as they did, so I was confident that I could do it. And, I did.
I shot two panoramas, the one I show here, which is centered on the archway and on the side of the Champs-Élysées, and another closer and not centered on the archway but with a better view of the eternal flame of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The exposure for each shot was long, 30 s, so that the lights from cars and trucks leave long trails. It was a somewhat misty morning, too, so the lights illuminating the monument light up the sky above it, and there is a shadow of the monument in the mist.
Every year, on 11 November, the anniversary of the Armistice, there is a ceremony here to honor the soldier in the tomb. So, it seems fitting to post this picture today.
I show the proof of the cube sculpture along with two stereographic projections. You can click on any of the images to see other projections as well.