I'm a few weeks late but I thought I'd share some of my pictures from a lovely jaunt to Paris I had in June. Better late than never? Well we'll see.
I went as part of my old university choir so the trip involved some brilliant concerts in amongst the wine drinking. If you read this, thanks again for both these things, Nick. Our first 'performance' was in a mass at Les Invalides, a truly impressive edifice to the French army that still functions as a military hospital, and houses the tomb of Napoleon.
Our other outings consisted of a concert in the Church of Saint-Séverin, one in La Madeleine, and an outdoor concert in the grounds of Notre-Dame de Paris. Overall, a fairly comprehensive tour of the churches of Paris. We were staying in the Belleville area of the city, which was brilliant for students on a budget.
Our hostel was nice and clean & handy for the Metro. Most lunchtimes, to save a bit of money & be extra "French" we'd get a baguette, a block of cheese and a bottle of wine from a small shop and sit and have a picnic in whatever park we were near. The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont was particularly beautiful, and filled with Parisians relaxing in the sunset. It's not a bad life.
On one of our choral 'days off', we took a trip to Versailles. We intended going in to the palace, but it was closed due to strikes (*cough* quelle surprise), so we spent our time in the gardens instead. Luckily it was the day of the fountain display so between that, the mazes, and the sheer scale of the place, it was still an impressive day out.
Another day trip took in the Montmartre area of town where my friends and I spent a bit of time grave-hunting in the cemetery. It's a fascinating slice of history - they even have visitor maps with a guide to the famous gravesites - and it certainly satisfied my slightly morbid curiosity. More than the Catacombs, which we couldn't go to, because they were closed for strikes. Ah, Paris.
With our careful tourist strategy of aimless wandering, we took in the site of the very-much-alive population of Paris, the Moulin Rouge. I had a macaron from a nearby shop, before we travelled down to the Seine and did a river tour; if you were to condense it down, it was really Paris-in-a-day. Maybe I'll write a guidebook.
One of my favourite aspects of Paris was the opportunity to play around with some street photography. Wandering down side-streets, I'd come across little scenes outside cafés that were perfect for a quick snap. Sometimes it does pay to be *that tourist* and have your camera round your neck - but only if you can disguise it a bit. I find it comes apart at the seams a bit if you overly stage a photo - it sounds a bit creepy, but the last thing you want is for people to notice. There's definitely an adrenaline buzz to the speed of spotting an opportunity, aiming for the shot, and checking the back of the camera to see you've got it. Hopefully with a bit more practise I'll get up to speed. R x