Living in London means that I have the luxury to travel to Europe at a very reasonable cost, only if time allows. France is a place that I always love, the culture, the people and the food. Yes, I love French cuisine. I guess if I speak fluent French then I may just move to that city for a few years and experience the buzz and love of this magical place. Like London, this city is full of history and lovely architecture.
This wasn’t my first time to Paris but this trip was the ONLY trip that I had the opportunity to take some proper photos of Paris. I must confess that I didn’t think I stayed long enough to see this fantastic place but I really got the taste of what it could be in terms of photography. Paris has so much going and a great place to practice street photography. Henri already showed us pictures from the past. In fact, modern Paris is quite different to what Henri used to see but the good part is that Paris still has lots of historic elements that remain ever so refreshing to see. A word of advice though, it will be more beneficial to learn a few words in French and it will go a long way. (I am learning now indeed)
During our few days there, we literally ‘walked’ around Paris. We set off from St. Pancras in London and took the Eurostar high speed rail to Paris’s Gard du Nord. Because it was my birthday present to my wife so I decided to travel light and wanted to enjoy this romantic place with her, I took only my film Leica M6 with a 50mm and 90mm prime and my 5D and the 16-35mm 2.8L, oh yes, and the Gorilla pods instead of my usual tripods. Everything fits in my Kata Bumble Bee 222UL with lots of spare room for our essentials too. Since our China travel, I’d been using my lovely Garmin 62s GPS for tracking our daily routes so we would never get lost. I could also use the logged path to geotag all my digital photos too when I got home.
We’d booked our hotel very close to Gard du Nord and that’s pretty central to everything else. Travellig around Paris was pretty easy if you are used to any kind of train or underground system. All the lines were colour-coded just like our London Underground and Hong Kong’s MTR system. As with London, Paris’ system is fairly old but everything was very well labelled and easy to use, even with a family. Getting some travel vouchers was also well worth it because buying tickets individually would cost more and these little ticket vouchers saved time from getting them from the machines during peak hours.
So we visited almost all the famous landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe, , Cathédrale de Notre Dame, Tour Eiffel, Avenue des Champs Elysées, Basilique du Sacré Coeur, Montmartre, The Louvre and we also took the train to Chateau de Versailles. One of my favourite places was the Paris Flea Market. However, the market itself has become a tourist point and the prices were inflated. However, if you do speak French and you could get the ‘local’ price by using a bit of your charm and language skill.
And make sure you visit the famous Galleries Lafayette on the Boulevard Haussmann for some very nice classic French interior designs or perhaps some shopping.
It’d been a while since I last took a film camera on holiday so it was actually very refreshing to ‘not’ to see the images I captured on the day. I took a mixed bag of colour and black and white rolls and hoping to capture Paris to match my vision. Black and white was definitely my choice to photograph Paris and my favourite for this trip was the cheap and cheerful Agfa APX 100. Coupled with the lovely vintage Leitz Summicron 5cm, which produced one of the best vintage rendering I’d ever seen, really captured the lovely scene of Paris.
I am fortunate to be living in London and Paris is just a few hours train journey so I could simply go there for a few days whenever I want. One thing I forgot to mention, French cuisine and patisserie, just like heaven!
Before I stop writing, I will leave you with this gallery highlighting some general snaps from my wife and a few more photos from me. Enjoy!