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Author Topic: Paris  (Read 3112 times)
Frere Jacques
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« on: March 25, 2005, 11:45:34 AM »
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I have lived in Paris now for two years and have yet to tire of grabbing my gear, hopping on the Metro and exploring an unknown part of the city. What a place!!! Do you shoot something in particular? Let me see what geberal suggestions I can muster...

They don't call it the City of Lights for nothing -- bring your fast lenses and some film you can push. Great nightscapes can be found all over.

Le Marais is lively on Sundays (great falafel sandwiches, too!) and is also one of the oldest sections of the city -- great crowds & buildings. Chinatown south of Place d'Italie in the 13th Arrondissement is lively on Sunday too & has very few tourists. The architecture is nothing special, but it is generally lively all day long & has some good photo ops. I like the back side of Montmartre (north of Sacre Coeur) -- its winding, steep streets set it apart from the rest of the city. There is also a fantastic area around Rue de la Gaîté in the 14th, close to Montparnasse -- the trains from Brittany arrive at Montparnasse, so the neighborhood is filled with crêpe shops, bars and people. The 5th & 6th Arrondiseements are well known, but they have a lot of charm & interesting things to see -- don't miss the Jardin de Luxembourg, a favorite of Parsiens. Check out the Institute of the Arab World both for the bulding and the museum. You may want to take a stroll along the canal St Martin on the eastern side of the city. The area has become popular in the last 5 years & has lots of life. Hmmm...let me think a bit more on this...and I just realized this sounded more like the food tour than the photo tour! Sorry...

I you shoot landscapes, try to get out of the city for a day or two. It doesn't matter in what direction -- once you clear the suburbs, get off the autoroutes and just pick a few small towns. Hidden treasures are everywhere!

FYI, there are several good labs in the city that can do same day processing of negs & chromes & stock a good supply of pro films.

Bon week-end!!!


ps- the best way to first experience the Eiffel Tower is to take the Metro to Trocadero, exit and follow the crowd. La Tour is directly across the river, perfectly framed by Trocadero. Go early to get the light behind the tower and to beat the crowds.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2005, 02:37:08 PM »
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One of the world's most photogenic cities - love it.

If you and your family have the stamina, and if you like photographing urban overviews from high places, climbing to the top of Notre Dame Cathedral (several hundred narrow steps up a tower) is actually much better photographically than getting such views from the Eiffel Tower, because the E.T. is very high and unless the weather is crystal clear you get alot of haze. Also the foreground of the cathedral helps give depth and additional interest to the pictures. Likewise, photographing from the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre provides some interesting over-view cityscapes.

Anywhere you walk, keep your eyes open for interesting details on buildings - there are all kinds of sculptural and various architectural gems on numerous buildings that otherwise aren't designated as anything special.

As for streetscapes, Dave Plummer mentions above Ile St. Louis - it is particularly charming and photogenic.

No-one has yet mentioned the Flea Market (Marche aux Puces) on the week-end. This is an incredible few blocks of Paris for the sheer amount of off-beat and interesting merchandise - anything you can think of, atmosphere and volume of people. A true and unique urban experience. To get there, you take metro line number 4 north to Porte de Clignancourt (last stop on the line). When you exit the metro you just walk north along the main boulevard, cross under the overpass, keep going for a few blocks and you are in it - deep.

The Quartier Latin is photogenic, with alot of interesting shops and restaurants. See in particular Rue St. Andre des Arts and the streets feeding into it.

No-one has mentioned l'Hotel des Invalides. (It isn't a hotel, it's a church). This is one of the most splendid and architecturally "perfect" religious buildings in the city with gorgeous stained glass windows. When I was last at les Invalides some years ago interior photography was allowed with a permit obtainable on the spot.
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eitanwaks
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2005, 04:57:49 AM »
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Thanks for all the replies. I never thought I'd get so many. The only subject I didn't get a clear answer or recomendations about is which lenses to take - it would really be helpful to get some ideas on this subject. I am leaning towards taking the following: My digital point and shoot, 80-200 2.8 (because I just love its quality) and the 28-105 to fill in the rest of the gap - however, the Tamron's quality is pitiful. I would really like to exchange it with a Nikon 28-70 2.8 but the price is inhibitive. Does anyone know why the Nikon costs twice as much as the equivelant Sigma's and Tokina's? Is there a quality difference? Any suggestions? Thanks for the input!
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Graham Welland
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2005, 11:20:19 AM »
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Quote
Thanks for all the replies. I never thought I'd get so many. The only subject I didn't get a clear answer or recomendations about is which lenses to take - it would really be helpful to get some ideas on this subject. I am leaning towards taking the following: My digital point and shoot, 80-200 2.8 (because I just love its quality) and the 28-105 to fill in the rest of the gap - however, the Tamron's quality is pitiful. I would really like to exchange it with a Nikon 28-70 2.8 but the price is inhibitive. Does anyone know why the Nikon costs twice as much as the equivelant Sigma's and Tokina's? Is there a quality difference? Any suggestions? Thanks for the input!
This is heading off topic but the Nikon 28-70 2.8 is one of the sharpest lenses Nikon make, is 100% pro quality (built like a tank) and will produce fabulous results. It's certainly not a lightweight travel lens but the results are second to none. For this, you pay a premium for the pro quality glass.

For general use with a Nikon digital I found that this lens wasn't wide enough at 28mm (42mm equivalent). For film it is ideal.

It's an investment but you'll SEE the difference with this lens. The construction quality is excellent although you'll know that you're carrying it.
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eitanwaks
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« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2005, 09:35:58 AM »
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I will be visiting Paris between the 24th of April and the first of May.  This will be my first time in Paris.  I very much looking for doing.  Because this trip is not only about photography I will not have all the time in the world to indulge my hobby.  I will however have enough free time to roam around the city searching for those little gems of moments and locations.  Because I'm traveling with family I will inevitably see all of the tourist attractions.  What I would like to get suggestions about are the lesser-known areas of the city, and other suggestions of the like.

Apart from locations, I have too much equipment to take with me.  I have the following arsenal at my disposal, what would you take and why?

Cameras:
Canon powershot A80
Nikon N8008
Nikon N90s
Mayima RB67 ProS

Lenses:
for the Nikon,
Zenith 16 mm f2.8
Sigma 20-40 mm f2.8
Tamron 28-105 mm f2.8
Nikon 28-105 mm f3.5-4.5
Nikon 50 mm f1.4
Nikon 80-200 mm f2.8
Sigma 135-400 mm f4.5-5.6
for the mayima,
50 mm
90 mm

I also have a SB-80DX flash that I will be taking along with a tripod.  If I decide on taking the Mayima then I will take along my Sekonic 580 light meter.

Thanks for taking your time to read an answer,
Eitan Waks
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DiaAzul
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« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2005, 12:49:41 PM »
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If you are here for a short visit with the family then I suggest that you stick to the core tourist attractions in Paris. In no particular order:

Eiffel Tower, Champ De Mars, Palais Chaillot, Pont Bir Hakeim. These are all in the west of the city and suitable for a day out. If you are planning to go up the Eiffel Tower get there very very early (the queues start at 8:30 even though it doesn't open till 9am). If you are waiting in a queue it will take a long time to get both up and down the tower. After covering this area then a walk along the Seine River toward Le Grand and Petit Palais provides some nice views. If you don't walk along the river then you can walk across to Invalides (Napoleons tomb) which is quite photogenic.

Ile De La Cite, Il Saint Louis. On and around these two areas is the heart of Paris and where most of the picturesque opportunities lie. I would strongly recommend Saint Chapelle for its stained glass (can be combined with the Concierge, last resting place of the condemned before the guilotine). You also have Notre Dame. Crossing to the left bank (south side of the river) you can visit Odeon/Mabillion (where the Parisians hang out in the evening, and if you are desperate for home coffee there is a Starbucks). Also close in this area is the Saint Sulpice (Did anybody mention the Da Vinci Code?).

Another day out is the Louvre, Jardin De Tuilleries, Place Vendome, Jardin Du Palais Royal. You can also tie this in with a trip to the Musee D'Orsee. Given the timing of your visit I would plan for at least a bit (or lot) of rain depending on how the meteo is feeling (so a planning a bit of indoor activity may not be a bad idea). If you are feeling energetic you can walk up the Champs Elysee to the Arc De Triomphe (about 2Km).

There is also La Marais (2/3rd Arrondissement). In this area there is a good selection of very good restaurants and bars. Also, the Pompidou centre, Musee Carnivalet (Paris Museum), Place De Voges.

To round things off there is the Sacre Coeur and Montmartre (including the Moulin Rouge).

I would also strongly recommend a river trip as this gives an interesting view of the city (my preference is Bateaux Parisien which goes from just outside the Eiffel Tower).

Off the beaten track there is Cemetry Pierre LaChaise which makes a nice day out if the weather is good. Further affield is Versaille, which is relatively easy to reach by train.

As you are with the family and it is your first trip I would suggest travelling light(ish). The Canon A80 is a must (if only because you can give it to others to take happy snappies). I would forget the MF - you don't/won't have time to do anything particularly innovative in Paris that hasn't already been photographed thousands of times before. I would pick three lenses from your selection that roughly cover the range 24-200mm and one body (though possibly add the 50/1.4 as an addition if necessary) and call that a sensible travelling pack. Keep it light and find a comfortable bag. From the descriptions above you will be moving from bright outdoor situations to dim interiors (no flash allowed). The light can change rapidly. Your best time to shoot in Paris is around sunset when the light takes on a rich colour.

I can go on for days talking about places to go - but my best advice is keep your equipment as light as possible, watch out for pick pockets and thieves (Paris has high unemployment and poor economy), and for a first visit stick to the main attractions/ areas.
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Graham Welland
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2005, 06:04:36 PM »
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I was in Paris at the beginning of March amid snow & freezing cold conditions - hopefully your spring visit will be somewhat warmer!

Recommendations: Travel light. Paris isn't a small city. In many of the tourist areas the use of large tripods is restricted and enforced by the police. I find that a small travel tripod worked ok as you can setup and break down pretty quickly and is easy to carry.

All of the recommendations here have been excellent. Mont-Martre is a neat area wit Sacre-Couer and the panoramic views over the city if the weather is fine. The artists market is good for candids and the old streets are very photogenic. Some of the churches frown on photography inside.

As mentioned, the Trocodero is the best place for the Eiffel tower, particularly at dusk as the tower is lit on the hour and is also currently decked out with banners for the Olympic bid. If there's some low cloud you can also caoture the beam of the beacon. Watch out if you're using a tripod as the police enjoy enforcing the no-tripod laws.

Les Invalides is a magnificient building although it is subject to some external construction work at the moment. Similarly with the L'Arc de Triomphe.

I'd recommend using one of the hop-on/hop-off tour buses and take advantage of the tourist areas. These are good value and tickets are good for two days.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2005, 10:34:12 AM »
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I don't know much about the relative quality of various lenses, but make sure you do have *something* wide angle (down to about 28 mm) to be able to get street scenes in picturesque narrow lanes and the like.

Another vote for the best view of the Eiffel Tower being from the Trocadero fountains (and they are fine fountains, too).    

Only one person above briefly mentioned Versailles.  It's an easy train ride from Paris, and is one of the "don't miss" sights (the immense gardens as well as the palace).

If you or anyone in your family loves Gothic cathedrals and stained glass, Chartres is an easy train ride from Paris too, and has the more beautiful stained glass anywhere (obviously, bring a tripod).  It makes a good day trip.

Lisa
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Madness
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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2005, 01:24:55 AM »
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Canal st. Martin & La Villete, Jardin de Luxembourg in the morning, Barbes, Montmartre away from Sacre Coeur, Parc aux buttes chaumont, botanical gardens (near Gare de Lyon I think - it's been a while), Versailles gardens in early morning (immediately after they open the place - Trianon, Petit Trianon etc.), just about every other park but I don't remember the names anymore  ,
la Defence, Institute du Monde Arabe, Centre Pompidou, Champ de Mars, Pere Lachaise....  I remember somene telling me about abandoned viaduct near Bastille, supposed to be nice

BTW Try not to piss off people that might hurt you  
I did, three times in fact (not always my fault though) but it always turned out ok for me. It can become pretty scary.
Keep your cameras in a backpack if you ever feel unsafe or seriously our of place. Being chased by junkies, weird shop owners or a group of nervous teenagers is interesting
Keep a low profile on the metro as well, especially at night.

too many things, not enough time  Cheesy
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