I decided to go on a three week European solo holiday for the first time, sounds exciting right? But then I asked myself: "Who's going to help me take photos?" Let's be honest, we all want to have Instagram-worthy snaps that are often taken by our friends and we want to have photos in iconic landmarks posing like nobody's business, right? It proves that necessity indeed is the mother of invention, let me show you some of the shots I took:
Before continuing to read, please be sure to check first what I wrote about MASTERING SELF-PHOTOGRAPHY for an introduction of how I shoot photos.
The Louvre was a challenging backdrop as it was bustling with tourists,
but there are ways to get those postcard worthy shots.
If you are lucky enough to find a quiet corner far from the crowd it's pretty easy to blur them out, but sometimes you really can't avoid a crowd.
Shooting at low angles help silence the crowd.
You can SHOOT AT A VERY LOW ANGLE, ground level helps to make the people behind you smaller and puts you in the foreground of attention, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GET RID OF PEOPLE LIKE MAGIC IF THEY ARE REALLY THERE, but you can minimise their presence:
See the difference...
When taking photos at a lower angle it emphasises subjects like buildings, mountains and makes people in the background smaller and easy to cover with another element in the foreground. Makes the photo cleaner and aestheticaly Postcard-worthy.
Inside & Outside the Notre Dame de Paris
Cropping out people in the background is also a good solution or simply shooting a tighter frame creates a very cinematic effect.
When Asking Someone to take a Photo...
CHOOSE WISELY, for practical reasons of course.
1. Choose fellow tourists as they are not likely to run away with your gadget.
2. It's only polite to ask those who are not in a rush, learn to read situations.
3. Ask from someone who has a DSLR as they are likely into photography than people using ordinary point and shoot cameras. They will instinctively take good photos.
The photo on the right was taken by a Japanese lady, her framing was excellent, she took two shots and I could not have done it any better. This is my favourite photo from this set so far. Taken at the The Pont Alexandre III bridge.
Wishing you safe travels whoever and wherever you may be, arigatou gozaimasu!
When Taking a Photo in the Streets!
The cobblestone rues (French for streets) are simply gorgeous, if you appreciate these simple things then find a quiet rue with no traffic, position your tripod and take a photo. This street in particular is 2 Rue des Frères Périer located near the Palais de Tokyo.
Tour Eiffel Up-close and Personal.
You've probably seen many photos of people WITH the Eiffel Tower but rarely UNDER it, interesting to see things from a different perspective no?
Beware of Sacre Coeur
Great elevated view of Northern Paris but be careful about the area around it, there are hostile street vendors at Montmartre so avoid them, call the police if they approach because they will physically force you to give them Euros, they can be quite a headache.
Now more about Paris.
Other than taking photos in Paris, I also want to share my experience in this lovely city full of charm and flooded with the most delicious croissants ever.
Where I Stayed
I booked myself an AirBnB room at a typical Parisian apartment building near the Gare De Lyon
which was very convenient as I arrived in Paris from Geneva via rail.
Taking trains in Europe is highly recommended when travelling to many places in a short span of time as you typically arrive at the central station of the city which is already in the center as compared to airports which can be quite far. You save time also as you don't need to bother with check-ins and baggage scans, all you have to do is arrive on time get in the train and it leaves PRECISELY according to schedule, so never delay!
The apartment was not lavish but what I loved about it was it was very authentic I feel. There was a boulangerie (bakery), brasserie (restaurant), cafes, convenience store nearby, it was super convenient. Ahmed, Guillaume and Clothilde were lovely hosts, only had a brief chance to speak with them but there was no problem, do check out their AirBnB here.
I arrived in the summer and the week before that was apparently really warm and take note that typical apartments in Paris do not have air-condition. However I was lucky that the whether was much cooler during my stay, it gets really cold at night if I leave the windows fully open actually.
Another thing to take note of is that typical Parisian apartments have NO LIFTS so I basically dragged my luggage up to the 6th floor, which is actually seven floors high as the ground level doesn't count. It was an intense workout that almost felt like forever, but i'm proud of that achievement. Three weeks worth of clothes and shoes all the up the 7th floor, ouch.
My room was THE MOST CHARMING I would say, lovely view outside the window, not grand but utterly charming.
Places to Chill
The first night I simply took a walk near the Bastille, there were nice places to eat and drink but I continued to explore on foot and led me to the art galleries in Le Marais which was very amusing, though I imagine it would have been lovelier during the day. Many interesting decors of varying design flood Paris and it was wonderland for me.
I would also recommend briefly walking to Palais de Tokyo after you're satisfied with the photos you've taken at the Eiffel Tower, it's an artsy-hip and casual place to chill, eat and refresh yourself with a drink.
After spending the entire afternoon at various tourist attractions I decided to visit the Panthéon which unknowingly offered a great view of the sunset with the Eiffel Tower. It was the summer solstice so you can expect to have lots of daylight which is ideal for tourists, you'll be very productive. (Sunrise is at 6AM and Sunset will be at 9PM)
Many young professionals who just got off work gathered outside the Panthéon basking in the sunlight, as the temperature was cool, the warm sunlight felt pleasing. I wanted to eat at a fine brasserie in Paris that night but I saw some Parisian yuppies having McDonald's along the sidewalk so I too decided to have a Parisian sunset fastfood. How can you resist Mcdonald's?
Public transport may look very intimidating in Paris, but there is an efficient solution, YOU MUST HAVE DATA and I strongly recommend using the app CITYMAPPER which you can download for free in the app store.
It was my first time in Paris and Europe actually but this app is superbly accurate that I NEVER got lost and saved precious time in finding my way from place to place.
That wraps up my short and sweet few days in Paris, which was the 3rd leg of my #EUROSUMMER three-week holiday.
I'll be writing about another city soon, so follow me on instagram for regular updates about my blog!
Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions about Paris, I will be delighted to share whatever insight I can offer.