With just one night in Paris I had to think carefully about where I wanted to see the sunset. A bright blue sky throughout the day and a lack of clouds didn’t have me very hopeful, but I opted for a spot I had visited at sunset around 12 years ago during my first trip to Paris – the lovely Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre.

My memory of this place was great; with a wonderful, moody, cloudy sky and bright colours being cast over the church and indeed the city. After seeing the sunset back then I took a walk to the Moulin Rouge to see that, and then jumped into a taxi to go on a romantic boat ride followed by dinner.

Alas, this trip did not live up to the memory.

Near to where I took this shot was a shed that many, many men were using a toilet. The stench of pee hung in the air as visitor after visitor attended this area to relieve themselves, a steady stream of urine working it’s way down the street and cascading down the flights of stairs.

I had a little colour for a few minutes, but not really any cloud, and the harsh light I had throughout the day stuck around on the city with little chance of improvement.

After grabbing this image I took the walk along the path I taken a dozen years ago towards the Moulin Rouge, alone this time and with no boat ride or dinner to look forward to.

A lot has changed in 12 years, but Paris felt the same. This time it smelt of piss instead of roses, but it’s the memories and not the smell that linger.

  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Focal length: 24mm
  • ISO: 50
  • Shutter speed: 240s