Paris through another perspective

Last weekend, as some of you may remember, I went to see my family. This is a process all of us have to go through every now and again now that we are students. I don’t know if you look forward to these moments or if you can’t wait until they are over, but they happen and that’s that. Personally, I can never wait until I can return to Edinburgh. Not because I don’t love my family or the place they live in, but because I cannot stay with them for more than two days without conflicts driving us apart.
However, I’m not going to talk about my family troubles; I’m going to talk about the town we have them in: Paris.

Everytime I mention that my family lives in Paris, I either get jealous, confused or slightly disgusted reactions (depending on the nationality of the person I’m talking to). Personally, Paris is one of my favorite cities around.
The atmosphere, the architecture, the language and to some extent the people have always touched me in a strange way.

When I used to live there, I hated to go to the centre because this mostly involved taking our guests on a very standard tour of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Grande Arche, Champs Elysees, Louvre, etc. Don’t get me wrong, the places all continue to have their magic, but I believe after climbing the Eiffel Tower 7 times or walking up and down the Tuileries enough to have walked a full on marathon, the beauty of it slowly fades. For a while.
I realized that since I bought my camera, I tend to see in pictures. Details that would usually escape my vision would now attract my eye. Maybe some amongst you who have an interest in photography or have any kind of camera can relate to what I’m talking about.
I thorougly enjoy this, because I feel like you can enjoy anything in a completely different way, eventhough you have done or seen it a few times before.

Paris is great for taking pictures of the great monuments (like the Arc de Triomphe above), and I think anyone can take a decently romantic looking picture of anything in Paris, because it just has its charm. However, I think it’s the alleys arround the big touristic places, the markets a few metro stations away from the Notre Dame or Sacre Coeur which are truly worth visiting and capturing.

One of my favorite places to walk round are the bookshops along the Seine. You can find these mainly around the Island the Notre Dame toward the Louvre. They sell second hand books of any kind, as well as paintings or posters and postcards. I like these so much because they slightly remind me of all the illegal tourist stuff sellers you find around the main touristic places, but with more authenticity (let alone legality). This is a picture of a woman just opening up her shop.
I’m sorry the editing is so overly dramatic but I think that I might have felt slightly dramatic at the moment^^

 

Montmartre is one of the most artistic places you can find in Paris. This is also where the Moulin Rouge movie is set. It’s an area full of sweet little (overpriced) restaurants and caffé’s. If you walk further away from the Sacré Coeur, you get the small places the locals go to. Just strawling along these romantic old streets is something I find myself doing for hours every time I come to visit.

The picture here is a woman just off the Place du Tertre (known for it’s dozens of painters who sell their art. This used to be a very quiet place but has now been flooded with tourists as well) who always stands to sing her very very french chansons. It’s a hate it or love it thing, but I mostly stand and listen for a while 🙂 The picture below is one of the painters.

Last weekend, my family and I went for a walk on a street I couldn’t remember from my childhood at all, but it was one of the greatest I have ever walked on so far in my life. It was full of food marketstalls, musicians, pubs, anything to make anytstreet seem typically parisian. It ended in a Mosque where the Islamics could go for a pray and what not, while others who are not into Allah could go have an Arabic tea and lunch. It is a beautiful place where tiny birds fly around your head. It’s so peaceful you’d forget you’re in the centre of one of the busiest cities in the world.

That is also one of the main reasons I decided not to live in Paris. Yes it’s beautiful, yes it’s historically rich and has and architectual background many cities can only dream of, but it is SO busy, all the time. Tourists literally flood the streets just makes it so much less impressive than it all really is. Edinburgh doesn’t have that. I think that this city has the same kind of charm Paris has, without losing it to the millions of tourists who come visit the Fringe or any other event which takes place here. I actually think the tourism in this city compliments the features of the city itself. And that is why I’m happy.

I’ll always return to Paris enthousiastically, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy any other place.  So yeah, if you ever decide to go to Paris and want to know some of the less touristy places which are totally worth visiting, I can try and direct you, help you out so you can truly enjoy your Paris experience.

Eva Deckers

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9 Responses

  1. I love Pairs, I was there in Febuary for my birthday! We went to Disneyland and the Palace of Versailles, but tried to see more of the less touristy stuff too!
    I will hopefully return soon and check out everywhere you reccomended!
    I loved the book and painting stalls along the left bank, I got an amazing painting of the Moulin Rouge!
    Great pics!

    • its a lovely city! where we live is close to Versailles so that’s always one of the places we ‘have to go’ as well, but for some reason I always like it, no matter how often I go there:)
      and thanks:)

  2. This is one of the best blogs I’ve read on NSM so far, very factual, very engaging and the fantastic photos were brilliant too. It’s great to get a feel for a place from someone who has experienced it by living there, like you.
    I’ve been to Paris once and did enjoy it, although I wasn’t too keen on the almost never-ending amount of people who would attempt to pressurise you into buying their stuff – especially outside the Sacre Coeur – I suppose you just have to kindly refuse and walk on. Having “Why you walk like you scared?!” shouted at you wasn’t that great, but the Eiffel Tower, random car showrooms in the centre of the city and the general hustle and bustle made up for it. 😉

    • haha, thanks so much george! I know what you mean. This is why I like to remoove myself from the tourist attractions and go on a hunt for more authentic and less touristy sites:)

  3. This is so well written, Eva… really gives a fantastic image of Paris. I’d love to visit one day soon, (as we were discussing today!) but to do some of the less ‘tourist-typical’ things as well.
    Nice one, Deckers!

  4. Prenez moi à Paris!

  5. I really liked this blog, Eva 🙂 well done 🙂 x

  6. Loved this blog eva! I think you should write an ‘alternative guide to paris’. I am also hopefully getting a camera to take proper pictures of the places I visit. However i’m not sure if pictures of my home city (Glasgow) will be anywhere near as lovely as yours of paris haha. Great read x

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