‘Paris by Night’, abused as a slogan by the tourist agencies, could never lose its meaning altogether. For the tourists it meant a few cabarets round Place Pigalle where you could dance and drink till dawn. The Seine under the stars, the narrow streets jutting off at curious angles into the darkness, the glowing ‘ox eyes’ of mansard roofs, the multiple bridges with their mysterious arches, the parks locked up, only ponds and plants alive there, assuming marvellous dream-shapes under the moon – when one tries to gather so many images that keep on multiplying, one realizes the folly of the tourist agencies’ pretensions.

Harold Acton in Memoirs of an Aesthete, published in 1948
Advertisements