During a recent trip to France, with a few days on my own in Paris, I decided to try out an Airbnb Experience. I liked the idea of meeting a local, getting an insider’s viewpoint, whilst still indulging in the fun of being a tourist. So, I booked my ‘Snapshots of Montmartre’ photography tour and went to the designated meeting point to catch up with Paulette, a local Parisienne photographer, who provides visitors with an alternative experience of the area.
It was an overcast, drizzly morning, but we met at a cosy café for introductions over coffee, and a short lesson on digital SLR photography. I was lucky enough to have a one-on-one session with Paulette, and so I could ask for specific advice on ways to improve my photography. But even with a small group, there would be plenty of scope to receive individual assistance, regardless of your level of experience with a camera.
After the lesson, we headed out onto the streets to practice. Paulette focuses on the street art of the local area, and knows all the key spots where the local artists are continually updating their work. As you walk she shares information about the area, and you get a sense of the artistic heritage of this historic part of Paris.
Over the course of 3 hours, we slowly wound our way through the streets, and up the hill towards the famous Sacre Coeur. Paulette challenged me to consider new angles and subjects, to give a fresh perspective to my work. The rain held off, and we made the most of the overcast light to enhance the colours in our images. And even though the low clouds blocked the usual view of Paris sprawled out below, it provided us with a softer image of the beautiful city.
As we reached the top of the hill and the end of our time together, it started to rain. She kindly walked with me to the nearest metro station, and we said our goodbyes.
In the end, I didn’t see the Sacre Coeur or spend much time in the surrounding famous squares, but I had a heap of fun, improved my photography and made a new friend. Besides, I need to leave something for next time, right?
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