Special places archive
Les Photos de Villes
This website offers photographs of every building in the 19 districts of Paris, and nine other French cities. Each photograph sits on your computer screen beside a street map showing exactly where you are.
Above is a typical view in Paris (42 Rue Quincampoix, in the 4th Arrondissement). Each photograph is taken from across the street and shows the whole facade. In some cases you have a choice of several views of the building.
Also on your screen is a navigation widget — you can manouvre from building to building along the street in either direction, or turn around and see the building behind you. Having reached an intersection you can choose which street to follow. It’s a pleasure to mooch along a street to see where it leads, and see the fine grain of the city.
Another website has noise level maps of Paris that will help you imagine being there. Careful map reading will reveal whether the streets you traverse in Les Photos de Villes are quiet or noisy. For example, Rue Quincampoix enjoys a moderate 55 dB, much quieter than the rowdy 79 dB of the nearby Boulevard de Sebastopol. Ahh, hear the deux cheveux, smell the Gauloises.
(See also: Paris photographed and rephotographed.)