“Paris.”

Day One’s photo travel-diary – This being quite possibly my eighth visit to Paris, I find myself skipping over the usual attractions and obsessing over the little glories that the city seems to offer up on almost every street corner.

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On Rue de Seine, all good stories begin with passionfruit, myrtle and pistachio meringues.

 

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“C’est moi,” they all said.

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A quick lunch at Bistrot Earnest on Rue de Seine did not turn out to be quick at all. I was indifferent to the lasagne, but almost overwhelmingly charmed by the atmosphere of the place – small, cosy, filled with warm chatter and an eclectic mishmash of posters and photographs lining the walls.

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And on a bridge – one of many bridges I’ve unthinkingly crossed and forgotten about – a weather-beaten tourist family huddles on the sidewalk next to a slumping Christmas tree while a cello rolls past. The quintessential Parisian evening.

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In Paris, Black Forest cakes dispensed behind a protective glass window attracted a large, curious crowd, who pressed up to watch them being picked, boxed and bought by bemused customers. When I whipped out my phone and positioned the screen to take a photo, a man pulled his gaping wife aside. “Make room for her,” he murmured in her ear.

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I visited the lovely, cosy Maison Européenne de la Photographie, and while waiting and stamping my feet in the cold, a wonderful member of staff came out with steaming Rooibos tea for us. “Merci,” I said in my best un-French. “Thanks very much,” said a young woman behind me. “You’re from Cape Town! So am I!” the lady said.

I’d come here for an excellent group show on family photos, but in an adjoining room I stumbled upon an arresting portrait series by the peerless Andres Serrano, unwittingly reminding us of the impending new era.

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A fellow MEP-per admires a Cuban choreographer. I love these larger-than-life portraits – their invasiveness, their boldness, their implicit intention “We will show them everything we are, and they will have to handle it.”

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As I was leaving, I walked past the surreally-quiet library of the MEP, that reminded me both of a Dali painting in which heads meld into lamps, and a Japanese horror flick in which those lamps then turn around and come for me.

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Back on the street, I wandered past a silent courtyard which promised quite a lot of naughty fun.

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The rhythm of the day was punctuated by so many le vin rogues, drunk in a huddle, standing, at any number of bars at which the bartender is almost literally a blurry whirl of bustling activity.

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 The day ended in the best way possible – more wine, and an excellent onion soup, shakily photographed as a result of cold and creeping inebriation.

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