14 April 2014

Springtime in Paris

River Seine and Eiffel Tower at night

Two weeks ago, Steve and I were in Paris. In the springtime. With buds starting to appear on the trees. Visiting our friends.

What can I tell you about Paris? I can tell you that one couple we know love it so much they go back there every single year on their anniversary. I can tell you that a lot of people warned me that they hated Paris on their first visit but "got it" after that. I can tell you that my reaction to it wasn't particularly strong either way; I utterly loved both Prague and Copenhagen, but Paris made me give a Gallic shrug.

But that might be because we were trying to cram an extremely large city into just three-and-a-bit days. I would have loved to have spent whole days exploring just one area (the seedy ones; the crazy 80s one); I would have loved to have slowed down and taken thousands of photos; I would have loved to have spent a month crashing in my friends' spare bedroom and wandering the city on my own (or with Steve, of course, but, as patient as he is of my photography, I think that might have made him reach breaking point).

Still, we managed to cram a lot in. We, at the very least, walked past all of the main tourist sites - the Arc de Triomphe; the Eiffel Tower; Sacré-Cœur; Notre Dame. We stood in very long queues and visited the Catacombs and a Cartier-Bresson exhibition at the Centre Pompidou. We passed through Jardin du Luxembourg and ambled along the Promenade Plantée (where naturally a ballerina was doing stretches). We drank lots of wine and just about mastered the Metro and watched thousands of people on rollerskates zipping through the city at dusk. We giggled at the fish in the aquarium.

And I did take 400 photos. But I've picked out only my favourite... oh... thirty-odd to share with you today:


Graffiti saying "Vous etes ici et maintenant" / Jellyfish
80s architecture
Boat in a pond
Bridge over River Seine
Cat sticker
Graffiti of chickens
Sticker reading "Crepe City"
Burnt out building
Eiffel Tower lit up at night
Lots of hearts painted on the ground
Paris rooftops
Lion statue
Loads of padlocks
Notre Dame / a creepy sticker of eyes
Derelict building
Graffiti reading "Love Me"
Metro train shooting out of tunnel
Pigeons on somebody's hand
One pink fish amid school of white ones
Huge queue
Paris rooftops
Sacre-Coeur
Shark eggs
Parisian window / poster of a hand holding a rose
Tiny vineyard
Green shutters on windows
Roller skaters
Optical illusion
Tourists at Eiffel Tower
Steve and me hugging at Wall of Love
Picture of Steve and me at the Wall of Love (on our fifth anniversary) by our friend, Bruce.

23 comments:

  1. YESSSS awesome photos! This post made me sad because my camera is broken, and jealous of the traveling, but still happy. You've elicited a trifecta of emotion.

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  2. No matter how many people try to convince me I'd love it, Paris has never really appealed to me. And yet... these photos! So much awesome.

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  3. Did you find that you had to speak French in Paris? That's always been part of my fear of going there (especially with the whole gluten-free thing). Looks like you guys had a great time, and your photos are lovely!


    I read in Mental Floss that there's actually a "syndrome" for people that are disillusioned/disappointed by their visit to Paris when it isn't this magical land of love and romance (and is, you know, just a normal city). I thought that was interesting.

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  4. I feel like an American stereotype asking if I can speak English there...hopefully you know what I mean. haha.

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  5. You guys are so cute. Love your photographs as always.

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  6. Basically my exact thoughts - I wasn't fussed on Paris at all but the pics are gorgeous! :)

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  7. Love these pictures! I was just thinking about Paris recently and how much I'd love to visit it again. (I was only there a few days myself.) Such a beautiful city. No pictures of the catacombs, I see. I don't blame you--it's so hard to get good pictures down there! What did you think of them?

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  8. Chiming in here, as someone who visited Paris and doesn't speak French. I got by just fine, although I was with a group so I didn't have to take care of the accommodations aspect. In the city it seems that most people speak enough English to sell you stuff, and pointing & politeness go a long way. (I find that if I can least say "excuse me" and "please" and "thank you" in a foreign language I don't seem too rude at least.) The worst is Americans who assume everyone speaks English. I sometimes wonder if this is why there's a stereotype about French people being rude.

    As for the gluten free stuff, you'd have to maybe research gluten free eating in Paris...I'm sure you wouldn't be the first one to look into it! :)

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  9. Realized after posting this I sound kind of know-it-all-ish--not my intention! I was only in Paris for a few days, so I'm no expert. I was also stressed about not being able to speak the language. :)

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  10. Lovely photos Sarah! I am torn when it comes to Paris, I've had some great trips there but last time I went with Tom we found it very expensive, and some of the people were quite unfriendly, then we got a train to Amsterdam and felt more at home! X

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  11. Yes, we'd been warned it was really expensive. We spent less than planned but only because we were staying with friends so ate in a couple of times.

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  12. I got pictures but it didn't seem right to share them - they're real people's skeletons and that just seemed a bit off... I don't know... Steve found them quite fascinating but I found it a bit depressing, the sheer scale of the place. It seemed inconceivable that ENOUGH people had died in just that one area to fill so many corridors.

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  13. It really depends what you plan to do while you're there. In the touristy areas, everybody seems to speak (generally very good) English and would switch as soon as they heard our accents - there were English menus in almost all the restaurants and the Metro signs and announcements all had English translations. When we went exploring, we had to use French and spent a bit of time typing menu items into a translation app.

    Personally, I think Edinburgh is a better magical land of love and romance. Paris felt a bit too big for that.

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  14. I think if you're smiley and talk to the person as if they're actually competent in English, you're okay - it's when us native English speakers assume we need to bellow very, very slowly to make ourselves understood that we wind people up!

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  15. It's very photogenic. But that's not necessarily enough.

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  16. Oh man, I loved Edinburgh so, so much. Such a gorgeous city. I could definitely see it being a place of love and romance, though that's not what I thought at the time. (At the time, I was more perplexed by how cold & rainy it was in the middle of July.)

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  17. I love these photographs, but especially the last one which is just too cute! I adore Paris, but I've been so lucky that each time I've been (3 times over the past 15 years) I've been blessed with glorious, sunny spring weather. My trip last year was especially wonderful as we'd both been before and done all the tourist stuff, so we had the luxury of just wandering around and soaking up the atmosphere of a few small arrondissements.

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  18. Aaaaaaah, that's exactly what I want to do next time (assuming there's a next time!).

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  19. These photos are gorgeous, and I think you are the first person who has made Paris seem vaguely appealing to me. It's a city that definitely brings out strong reactions in people. I've never been to France and LF is French so we've been talking a lot about going recently, mainly Montpelier and Normandy but I kind of want to add Paris back into the mix now. Happy anniversary xo

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  20. Thank you!

    Hmm, yes, the photos are lovely but it doesn't all look like this. I'm still not 100% sold on Paris but I WOULD give it another shot...

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Please play nice.