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OCTOBER 27, 2023


The last time I was in Paris was 20 years ago.  I was five, and there are only three things I remember: The bonbons from the hotel receptionist, my grandpa getting pickpocketed, and how disgusting Vittel water tasted. Also, I know from my parents that on the day we flew back, the Tour de France was coming into Paris and we missed it by a few hours. I don't remember why that would have made me sad, but apparently I was whiny enough that my parents bought me a big yellow t-shirt with the words "Tour de France" on it. It was a midi dress at first, became a t-shirt, and finally, I grew out of it. That was my last contact with Paris - until now. 

I've been living in France for almost two years now, and I've seen quite a bit of it - but I hadn't made it back to Paris yet. Enter Juju - she had lived there for years and was willing to show me her favorite spots. Luckily, we've been getting along quite well (I'm being a bit silly here). When the opportunity presented itself and we both needed vacation, we took the train to Paris and spent a few nights. In the tradition of the great French street photographers, I thought it was appropriate to shoot a roll of black-and-white film -  so I put a roll of Delta 100 in my camera, and hoped for the best.


Paris presented itself dark, cold and rainy. Where Toulouse had been a sunny bliss, Paris was grumpy and uninviting. Besides me having cold ears, that had me shooting at the edge of the film at all times. But because I was playing a risky game anyway, I just shot the film in every situation - inside, outside, with the little sun we had, and in the rain. It turned out to be a reliable partner for all the things Paris had to show us. The Montmartre was surprisingly empty, and on its backside, we found Berliner Kebap (that will always get me). On a stroll through the Southside, we had a cinnamon roll at the Boulangerie Moderne - you might recognize it from Emily in Paris - and some mint tea at the mosque. There were good crêpes, flowers, and some solid views.  I bought a nice vase and some very cute cups. The time it rained, we spent in cafés and museums. All in all, we had a grand old time.


Two years ago, I had the choice between Paris and Toulouse for my master's degree. I chose Toulouse, and I'm so glad I did. Paris was really great for those few days, but I'm not sure Paris is my kind of city on the whole. Also, and more importantly, I met Juju in Toulouse (we're still getting along quite well). And while it's great to have the memories of the city, I much prefer the memories of Juju in the city. When I hold the negatives against the light, I see a curly-haired silhouette on a good amount of them, and I like that.

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