Originally, I’d planned a 5-day jaunt; half a work trip, half Parisian ‘me time’. I’ve wanted to live in Paris practically forever, and will, I’m sure, at some point – I love the city so deeply. I’ve been lucky enough to have been to Paris quite a lot now, and have ‘done’ various sights and museums, so my plan for part of this trip was to simply ‘be’ there; to write in cafes, pretending I was French.
Alas, these plans were not to be, as the week before I was due to leave I suffered a bout of ill health (after almost 2 months of feeling ‘run down’) and fainted for the first time in my life. The swollen, cut lip, bruised chin and concussion had me swiftly cancelling my trip, feeling very sorry for myself and desperately disappointed not to be boarding the £34.50 outbound train from London to the city where beauty reigns and everything feels like a fairy tale escape world.
Yet, as much as I resented the extortionate last-minute prices of Eurostar, I couldn’t resist zipping in and out in the end, going in at lunch time and returning the following evening on my original ticket. I had worked out that if I didn’t go, bearing in mind things already paid for, I would be down £84. If I DID go, bearing in mind things paid for and the ticket to be bought and money to be made there, I would be down £94. It was a lose/lose situation, and therefore a win/win situation; I was going to go to Paris!
And then the Eurostar website didn’t work, giving my (absolutely in no need of encouragement) bank an excuse to block my card, after 5 failed attempts at purchasing a ticket. Every single time I go abroad ANYWHERE, Barclays, in the perennial prudent manner of an overly cautious parent, blocks my card. It’s a running joke in my family that I have to use cash abroad. However, this time, I’m blaming the malfunctioning Eurostar website (Barclays merely blocked my card, gamefully, for good measure); I bought a ticket easily by phone on the morning of the journey (yesterday), having packed in the hope that a slice of Paris might be a possibility after all.
Oh, Paris. It isn’t a place, it’s a state of mind. It’s one of my favourite states of mind.
As with two previous visits to Paris, I got to work with wonderful Jeremy Howitt, who managed to arrange a coinciding visit when I mentioned to him that I’d be going (he’s written a bit about the trip here if you like to read things from another perspective). This time we were joined by Jessica Taylor, a sweet, friendly model I’d not met yet but had spoken to online, for some shots Jeremy had in mind somewhat inspired by Helmut Newton. We all took it really easy, especially as I was a bit ‘dazed’ still, so there was no pressure.
The next day, we had lunch at a cafe often frequented by Hemingway, amongst other impressive literary and philosophical characters, and stopped at a cute chocolaterie (I, of course, had to try the ‘Earl Grey Tea’ chocolates, but have to say I much preferred the raspberry hearts). I’m already thinking of planning my second visit for this year, which will hopefully allow me to work with the other photographers I’d originally arranged work with, and do the ‘pretending to be French’ thing, but that will have to wait, probably, until I’m back from my ten-day trip to Scotland. Other trips to be finalised for June/July involve Switzerland, Holland and Germany, and possibly Iceland too.
Disdain and desire:
A ‘behind the scenes’ shot (while the shot is being framed)…
(Paris wasn’t all that warm… but luckily Jess and I had coordinating purple coats. :-))
My new red ball gown; perfect, we thought, for a red cafe scene. I love the background details in these – the reflections, the handwritten chalk menu, the chairs put away for the night…
Thanks Jeremy and looking forward to the next one! 🙂