Paris in a month- travel photographer

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Paris in a month- travel photographer

Last year I travel to Paris, France to live and work completely alone. It was the most eye opening, incredible, terrifying and beautiful experience of my life. I had made the decision to go, buying a one way ticket and booking an apartment.

I will add some excerpts of the journal I kept while there.

April 18th, 2016-
Paris started to feel like home yesterday. I became more comfortable. It helps that the Parisian sun is brightly beaming as I sit on my balcony overlooking the morning streets. My little apartment has some issues. The floor and the ceiling have major cracks. But it has light, and light is all I need from my shelter. Plus there is this handy furnace on wheels that I can crank up and sit near to keep me warm. There are 4 full length mirrors as well that make the studio seems larger. My kitchen sits inside one of these mirrors, which is actually more like a closet.
I am still experiencing jet lag. I want to fall asleep at midday and cant rest easily at night. It doesn’t help that the streets are filled with drunkards at 3am heartily singling french anthems.
Now to find some food I can eat. Until then, pan et fromage.

April 24th, 2016-
I am sitting at Cafe de Flore drinking a Flore de chocolate. It cost 7 euros, which makes it the cheapest thing here. I made the trek over to Saint Germain today on the metro before it started to pour rain. It’s a lovely place. Apparently I am in the fancy part of town. A single drop of liquid chocolate slides down the top lip of the silver kettle. An English girl and her mother sip tea across from me. White sunlight makes the window sill flowers glow.

May 1st, 2016-
I have resigned to wearing headphones while I am out in public now to get men to leave me alone. I want to be invisible and explore the city without being bothered or talked to. The gross guys that make those awful kissing noises Id like to beat in the face. But with headphones, which aren’t ever attached to anything, all that goes away. I have some control now.
I can live alone happily. I am completely content and comfortable being alone.

May 2nd 2016-
Ive gotten so used to cigarettes, I almost feel tempted by them. The small has become familiar and the taste is also a normal street delicacy you subconsciously breathe in and for a moment lands warm and smokey on your tongue. It’s such a social thing here.
There are so many moments here. Intimate moments,sweet and casual moments. Moment of stress and tiredness of normality. Everything lives in its own moment which is segretgated and cohesive to everything all around it at once,. A thin layer of clouds has come in. I wish it could be warm all day.

May 7th, 2016-
Ugh. I am eating the freshest, warmest traditional baguette. I just bought it from the boulangerie down the street from me. I buy one almost everyday now. I smile at the girl behind the counter thinking she will finally recognize me but she continues to just look annoyed. Still… great bread.
Nothing will be better than drinking exceptionally cheap wine from a balcony in Paris. I don’t want to forget.

I was alone almost every single day, but didn’t feel alone. I discovered I really love being alone, walking the streets, stopping to photograph things, wandering and adventuring. I found so much of myself and felt SO free. I quickly got into a routine of waking up to Parisian sunlight streaming into my french doors, spending evenings on my balcony, and nights lounging on my bed with a bottle of Bordeaux listening to the partying youth drinking and singing. I sat at cute outdoor cafes with my Cafe Creme, people watching and surviving off of what french I could. I visited monuments and museums, climbed the steps to the top of the tour Eiffel, studied masterpieces, dangled my legs above the Seine, took myself on a date, translated for tourists, navigated and rode the metro all over the city, shot with so many models and lived every moment. Everything has it’s bad sides as well though. I experienced being followed home by strange men and being put into what could have been an extremely dangerous situation. I spent way too much kindness, time and energy on an emotionally unstable photographer. I was subjected to constant harassment by aggressive french men. But all of those bad things ultimately had positive outcomes and important lessons to be absorbed. I’m glad these things occurred and I’m glad I fought through them alone. Paris showed me I can do anything completely alone. It showed me how strong I am. Living in that city reminded me to be who I am, do what I want, and to not let my comfort be second to anyone else. Maybe someday I can have plans to be in Paris more long term, but for now I have my thousands of photos to feel, hurt, smile, and sigh through. My little Parisian apartment was my life for a little while, but has created a lifelong impact.

Xoxo,

Michelle

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