This bank holiday weekend (29th April – 2nd May) I took a long weekend away for a city break in Paris. Something I have wanted to do for many years but the timing was always off. BOO!
In 2012, I was invited to head over to Paris to photograph a fashion event for Paris Fashion Week. I was so overwhelmed with the opportunity arising and super excited to visit one of the most beautiful cities my heart had always been captivated by. However, due to unforeseen personal circumstances my trip was cancelled close to the date I was due to fly out. My heart sank! After shedding a few tears, I promised myself I would one day go to Paris, even if alone, to explore the city’s beauty that is much loved by people around the world.
In 2012, I also started conversion work on my studio and shaping my business, spending a small fortune on turning my dreams into reality. This meant I had to sacrifice so many things I wanted to do in life and put many things on hold for the next few years while I worked hard, grafted, earned and saved.
Four years later, with a rebranded business in full swing and generally being in a better place in life, I finally got to tick Paris off my bucket list. As this trip was purely for leisure, it was even more incredible than I could have imagined. Luckily, I have some friends who live out in the heart of Paris that directed me to all the beautiful hidden places as well as the more commercially known places. The metro system was super easy to follow but I tried to avoid using it too much. To really SEE Paris, you need to walk and find your way around this beautiful city on foot. Every corner you turn has such beauty hiding behind it.
I stayed in an AirBnb in the 10th district of Paris, which was within walking distance of 2 main train stations and many metro stops. This is the district where the attacks took place in November 2015 but the apartment was located in a safe quiet environment. On the first day of my visit, I was eager to visit Place de la République, only 10 minutes by foot, to lay down flowers for the Charlie Hebdo and the November 2015 attack victims. Here, my friend and I shared a teary heartfelt moment, as an elderly couple maintained the flower arrangements and various other tributes that had been left on monument of the square. Paris has been experiencing various riots over the past few days that saw many of the candles and other monuments damaged in the process. The square was heaving with police but it was very safe and still very welcoming. I don’t think any trauma to the city will ever take away its beauty. Parisians are very much about celebrating positivity and good, never allowing anything to defeat their beautiful city. This was felt throughout my visit.
This little trip to Paris opened up my lust of wander for sure. Through the work I do, I have made friends for life out there and each one of them inspired me and taught me life lessons in different ways. Something I will always appreciate and cherish! I’ll definitely be back there soon as one trip won’t be enough to really appreciate the hidden beauty of Paris. Here’s a short video of all the places I visited as well as some of my favourite snaps.
See you again soon Paris. Je t’aime!
Paris in snaps
Laying down flowers at Place de la République, which was then displayed by the elderly couple maintaining all the tributes.
So many messages and tributes still there. So very sad.
“Fluctuat Nec Mergitur” is a French Latin saying for “tossed but not sunk”. At the time of the Paris attacks, this little cafe opposite the Place de la République statue was boarded up while it was being built. As part of the tributes after the attacks, a graffiti artist had written “Fluctuat Nec Mergitur” across the board in graffiti art writing. Upon completion and opening of the cafe, the owners had then named it exactly that latin saying to show solidarity and strength for Paris. Right outside the cafe is a flat water feature, which acts like a mirror to show the reflection of the Place de la République statue monument.
The Eiffel Tower during the day and evening.
Remaining “love locks” close by to Pont des Art bridge. Parisians were never a fan of these locks and many saw them as vandalism to their beautiful foot bridge and river.
I couldn’t visit Paris without having a Ladurée Chocolat Chaud. Literally melted, hot chocolate in a mug!
Arc de Triomphe
Musée de Louvre
The sun setting over the Eiffel Tower in the distance. View from Pont Neuf, Châtelet.
Thanks for reading.