Street Photography Tip: Paris

Photography and Photographers come in many shapes and sizes. The one thing that every photographer has in him/her is an almost voyeuristic experience of its hobby or profession. My favorite spots tend to be cities or remote outdoor spots.

In decided to visit a city, the French capital Paris, for a day and try to capture a bit of the spirit and dynamic of the city. Paris is often marketed as a city of love, romance and intimacy. Oddly enough reality is a bit different. The French have a saying for a person from Paris: Parisien tete du chien (Paris people are dog faces freely translated) and it is in some way true. Paris isn’t as romantic nor intimate as Woody Allen makes us believe or the French Tourist Board for that matter. However Paris does have everything a photo enthusiast like me desires. From Classic to Modern Architecture, Urban and Street scenes, Extravagant and/or Flamboyant people.

I traveled to Paris by train (only a lunatic would drive to the city centre of Paris) and got of at the Gare du Nord in the 10th Arrondissement. The station was build in the 18th century but has gone through a number of renovations since then so it is a clean and modern station.

The newly renovated historic entrance of Paris Gare Nord

Once I got out of Gare Du Nord I rented a pick up bike and cycled off to St-Germain and the famous Notre Dame. I am not much for the typical photo’s most tourists make, but I still couldn’t really escape the Notre Dame. Armed with my tripod and the Lumix G-7. I had ordered the Lumix 25mm f/1.7 lens unfortunately it arrived on the day I was in Paris, so I had to shoot with the lenskit that came with the camera: 12-60mm which is a petty but not a shame to be honest.

Wasn’t the best weather and this isn’t the best shot either

I’d spend some time around the Notre Dame and the guardians and got somehow fascinated with the way the trees are being sculpted, for lack of a better term.

Shot with the G-7 and the preset hard Monochrome Filter, that said those trees are just heaven!

I quickly realized that of all the big cities I have been, Paris and Berlin are the two European cities which have a certain authenticity over them. After my love for those trees became an obsession I had to make a mosey to meet up with some friends on the other side of town.

Beside the fact that Paris has about every type of architecture available to be watched, enjoyed or cursed, cities are made by people and Paris has some millions of them!

Sometimes you just get lucky I guess

The more I drove around with my bike the faster I started to realise that Paris is treasure cove for Street Photography the challenge is how to capture them all. The above shot was a lucky, almost close up but the guy didn’t notice me or the camera.

That said Paris has it fair share (understatement) of art and history… yes it does so I decided to visit the Opera National De Paris commonly referred to in English as the Opera. I am a sucker for old building, especially ones that are derelict nothing of that in this Opera. Packed with people which was a petty but than again it did provide me with one or two great shots of people.

One of the ballrooms. Also one of the few shots I took as I was asked to leave for using a tripod without a license, which I wasn’t aware of existed. Anyways I did manage to get the stills I needed.
Guided Tour all wearing masks. I do love the expressions on people’s faces and the fact that all have masks but only some are wearing them

Since I only arrived @11h in the morning and was leaving @19h. I spend a fair amount of time on my bike not shooting but taking in the city. Which was actually the most useful time spend as I really got a good feel of the place.

That said as I mentioned Paris is somewhat of Street/Urban photography paradise. Below I’ll share some of the shots I took and comment

It’s a bit messy, It’s a bit busy and chaotic, but it is Paris, I love the feel of this shot
Side entrance of Gare Du Nord. Lady in the Grey Overcoat (Fashion Week at the time of writing) barges through. Again a very busy scene.
In Paris I did notice a lot mopeds, e-Steps. A father on his motorized e-Step holding his kid, skipping a red light sign at a pedestrian crossing. A common scene apparently
Young lads hanging around the station.
Paris is a great city for urban and street photography
Boarding The Thalys Train isn’t as easy and stress free as it seems… I love the three completely different facial expressions of the female passengers.

If you read what I am writing now it means you have gone further than 95% of the people visiting my blog.


  1. I have enjoyed reading this post. Hope next round in the city we ‘ll have the time for “un p’tit crème”.

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