Welcome to the Hell Walk, also known as le trottoir roulant rapide (the rapid moving sidewalk) at la Gare Montparnasse. It was installed in 2002 and has mostly been en panne (out of order) since —which is actually a good thing. Why? Because the super minds who designed it thought that it would be practical if the 180-meter-long trottoir rolled very quickly, at the pace of three meters (9.84 feet) per second, in order to save busy commuters time.
I rode it once, on the one occasion in seven years that I've witnessed it working, and nearly fell backward onto mes fesses (look that one up). According to the French press, I wasn't the only person to lose my footing on the thing, which was designed so that passengers first stepped onto a slow-moving belt and then were jetted onto the fast-moving trottoir. Grannies, children, even able-bodied young men fell victim to the infernal contraption, which ran (and looks) like something out of a Stephen King novel.
Soon, though, the Hell Walk will be replaced by a slower-moving trattoir roulant — if, that is, you consider 2011 soon. In the meantime, you can enjoy the non-moving rapid moving sidewalk at your own pace.
Brassaï had it right — there is no better time of day to photograph Paris than night. After dark, the city comes alive and all you have to do to experience it is get out there and walk. Wear a comfortable pair of (chic) shoes, tuck your camera in a bag, and bring just enough money for coffee or a glass of wine at one of the outdoor terrasses. As summer deepens, the nights seem to last forever.