Published on March 14, 2014 | by Daniela
The Quiet City, a Portrait of Paris in Winter
“No future, no past, just the eternal present.” This is how Andrew Julian sums up his way of experiencing the intimate and charming side of some of the most enchanting cities in the world. Sharing these experiences is his way to feel alive, the way he’s chosen to play his part in the World.
In this video, he goes back to Paris in winter, in order to portray it beyond the stereotypes usually offered to tourists. The biggest challenge has been convincing museum keepers to let him shoot the works of art and to let him work in the least busy hours of the day. Julian wants to thank Elisabeth for allowing him to enter the Ecole du Louvre and take an exclusive tour.
To get the inmost soul of a city, we have to overcome its commercial aspects, with all of the crowds, rush and nice weather implications, as in this way it would be impossible to know Paris beyond clichés. Andrew Julian and his wife Claire actually try to go further, deep into the intimacy of the picture, more like protagonists rather than just spectators. Theirs is an original vision of Paris, beginning with the choice of a different season and a slower pace, a wintertime perspective, exploring the city in times that are not suited to tourists.
Rather than with the usual Parisian postcard with the Eiffel Tower in the background, the boulevards and pink clouds at dawn, Julian prefers to start with the feeble light of a cold winter morning which seems to almost drench the boulevards. The few cars that slowly cross it, recall the laziness of any ordinary winter Sunday. The pavé reflects the morning lights, the same which illuminate the palaces of Montparnasse and the sky seen from beneath the Arc de Triomphe is crossed by clouds that seem to run faster than our steps.
We love this slow pace, very spleen, very Baudelaire style, which pictures a very different and peculiar Paris. And perhaps it’s just the same Sunday, certainly the same time in the morning, when he walks along the Seine in front of the Sainte Chapelle, as beautiful as it was a small Notre Dame, when he walks across a deserted Place Charles de Gaulle in front of the Arc de Triomphe and explores the beautiful Notre Dame that seems to come out from its Disney movie when viewed from behind the large windows.
Julien is not satisfied with the first light of the morning only, he also wants the charm of a Parisian winter night for his video, in the rain. He leads us inside the Ecole du Louvre and the Sacre Coeur, but also to the discovery of the Louvre surrounded by an almost surreal atmosphere, with no queues and confusion at the entrance.
Rodin’s Thinker statue introduces the final stage of Andrew Julian’s Paris story. It’s snowing on the Tuileries gardens and the Bois de Boulogne, on the two cherubs who seem the prelude to a grand finale. But Andrew delights us with a movie quote: Marlon Brando, with his disheveled look walking under an elevated train platform to go towards Maria Schneider, or perhaps towards his fate.