So I have finally got my photography back from Carmencita Lab (I could barely wait in the end and was constantly checking my email for like every half an hour just to spot the letter immediately and I feel like now this is the right time to start telling you about my recent trip to Paris. I've had some doubts about bringing my beloved Contax645 there as that is not really one travel camera at a glance. Due to size and many other convincing reasons. But in the end I just couldn't resist as I thought it might be better to get less shots, take the effort to drag it everywhere I go, but end up with a bunch of really great shots.
We have traveled to Paris by car as it takes only about 5 hours to get there. Yet we have made some stops as we have a little baby on board and Mira wanted to take a little walk, eat or just hang around sometimes. When we have passed by the Provins we googled it and thought it would be really nice to drive in for a while before we actually get to Paris. It is a nice old town, that became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001, there are quite few monuments to see, but we have been caught by a really nasty thunderstorm so we didn't get to see much.
We have stayed in two different flats (as we have gone for two weeks and there was no flat that would be available for such a long period of time at once) yet managed to choose therm quite close to each other. The firs one was located in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, near the Jules Joffrin metro station, which is quite close to its margin. And I have read some freaky touristy reviews right after I rented a flat that told about that area being criminal and dangerous to live at. Yet I have took my risk just cos I couldn't believe it might be true, and now that I lived there and can tell you that its really fine and safe. I wouldn't plan any late night walk to the Porte de Clignancourt station though as it gets quite busy with some suspicious business going on, but that part of Paris just didn't involve me or touched me in any matter.
And this is the really nice park near our first living location, that is really cared of and is just a beautiful place to take a rest and the architecture surrounding is really lovely there as well:
Our first day full in Paris was Saturday and we have went to explore the city without any photo gear on, just looking around and having some really fun time in the downtown. Then on Sunday we didn't plan anything in particular, but then we found out that the only lively area of Paris during this time of the week is Marais, so we have gone there in a search of some life, activity and food.
And we were not disappointed at any matter! We fell in love with Marais as it seemed the most suitable place for young and progressive, with all those hipster bars and shops, the jewish area with delicacies and falafels, the endless flower boutiques and people just having a great time and enjoying their lives.
And if you are just about to ask now "and how did you manage having a little child with you and still spend a good time in such a busy place?" I would say that we tried hard :) And you can really have a lot of fun when taking a baby with you, but to be honest without my husband's constant care it might have been a disaster.
First of all you don't get to see a lot of babies and toddlers carried around the city in their ultra light weight buggies and there is huge reason why. The city is absolutely not suitable for handicapped and mothers with strollers. I mean I saw a brave woman out there in the street fighting her way up the Montmartre hill with three slightly different aged children packed on board of a fairly small baby carriage, but that is quite an exception.
As you might have heard that the best and the most convenient way to bring yourself to any point of Paris is by taking a metro. Now that is really true, but not if you have a stroller in your charge. You basically never have a chance to get down by elevator. And there are some few stations that are equipped with a special elevator for handicapped yet I see no clears reasons for their existence as in 95% of the stations you would not have the same lucky opportunity to get out. And Parisian metro is huge and ramified. If you have been there, you know you will face a lot of stair spans going up and down with narrow tunnels connecting the stations... And don't just think you can get away by using your car. You would spend tons of time in traffic and loads of cash for parking. And you will most likely get your car window smashed out as well, even in paid underground parking slots as we did, just because it's really obvious for the local robber to be seduced by your international car plate.
But no time for talking sad stories! Paris is not a straight forward city at all, yet we love it for it's complicated rhythm and charming lifestyle in one flacon. So getting back to the "Baby" subject, we did manage to reach any place we wanted, but you definitely need a strong manly hand (or two) to support the coach with a precious passenger and a few shopping bags on board.