Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Trip to Paris

This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for over a month. I have no excuse for my tardiness except that I've been both busy and lazy. So I decided to sit down today and finally write about what I did while in France.

Remember the ever-expanding wish-lists I made before I left? I'm sort of embarassed to say I got to do barely three things out of my entire list. I was there for 6 days which I thought would be more than enough to do and see everything I wanted to. But I wasn't counting on how time-consuming my photo workshop would be and how little time it would leave for other things, especially because I had to go back to my apartment and do some (unrelated) course work before turning in for the night. We finished with the workshop around 7 p.m. which meant there was no time for museum visits or many of the other things that I had planned. .

However, the plus point was that I got to spend 3.5 days walking around Paris with 7 amazing women from around the globe who are all now friends. Despite the fact that the workshop around 10 hours a day, the pace was perfect and & we all had fun while seeing the city and learning about photography.

Sophie is very charming, extremely personable and a very encouraging teacher and I came away with a lot of practical information on technical aspects as well as a new perspective on composition.

At least I can now finally move away from the 'auto' modes on my camera and play around with more features. The workshop was definitely the highlight of my trip and I wish I could go back and do it all over again!

On my last day in Paris I took an early morning train to Vernon with a friend from the workshop. We reached at 8 a.m. and decided to walk the 7 k.m. from there to Giverny because we had read so many rave reviews online about how wonderful the walk is.

I wouldn't want to disagree because the village really is charming but we didn't have a lot of time to stop and look around given our intention to get back to Paris on the first train in the afternoon. And, for us, the long walk just meant we would have less time seeing the village and Monets' gardens.

On the way we stopped to talk to this lovely old lady here who told me how she brings apples for this horse every day. . .

When at last we reached Monets' house it was early enough in the morning that hordes of tourists weren't yet there and we could walk around and photograph some of the many, many beautiful flowers.

The house tour itself took no more than 20 minutes & looking out of the windows on the upper floor it was easy to imagine how inspired he must have been by all the colors in his garden.

My favorite rooms in his house were the sunny yellow dining room and the little sewing room on the upper story. The latter offers a broad view of the entire estate and I assume Monet's wife kept an eye on their eight children through the windows while she sewed.

We could have spent the entire day in the gardens photographing the many varieties of beautiful flowers. But an hour after we arrived the place was hit by an onslaught of tourists and it became impossible to walk without bumping into someone else who was stopping to pose for or take photos.

We spent a lovely morning there, regardless, and only wished we'd had more time to explore the gardens at our own pace. We decided then that we'd just have to come back next Spring and spend all day in Monets' gardens, taking photos!

Once back in Paris, time flew. I had just enough time to meet Paule of Promenades Gourmandes and then rush out to buy gifts for my kids before shops closed for the day.

I took a walk to Rue des Rosiers for the second time that day to get some famous Fallafel but was finally rewarded with a sign that said the restaurant would remain closed for another week. There was nothing to do but walk back and grab a quick meal at a small Vietnamese place around the corner from our apartment. My plans to take a last trip down to Trocadero & photograph the Eiffel Tower at night fell completely flat since I lacked the energy to do any more walking that day.

There's always next year . . or the next. I'm sure I'll go back. I must!
 I love Paris - just walking around the charming, winding streets and seeing the old with the new. Or the unexpected ...

This is a love affair that's not ever going to end. I can't wait to be back there again . .


Beth said...

Isn't it a wonderful city? It's an amazing place to explore and to photograph. I'm glad your workshop was so great. The Giverny photos are terrific!

Kim said...

My favorite room was his upstairs bedroom and how the huge windows overlooked the garden. I LOVED visiting Giverny. I'm so glad you went! I can't wait to go again. I usually do a cooking class but I'm intrigued by your photo workshop idea-- and what a perfect city to study through a camera lens!

Grapefruit said...

@Kim - I loved Giverny but disliked the crowds :(
You must explore the photo workshop option when you are there next. I found Sophie to be an amazing instructor and had a wonderful time walking around the city with her and the other women from the workshop. Check out for all the details.


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