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Paris: Through the Lens

Through the Lens” is a series of posts I am writing about my favorite locations around the world to visit and photograph. Intermixing location information with my photos and links for more information on the locations for a travel photographer.

Paris, known as the “City of Light,” has long been a sought-after destination for photographers seeking to capture the essence of its enchanting streets, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the must-visit locations for photographers, from iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the recently restored Notre-Dame. Additionally, gems like Madeleine and the romantic Pont de l’Alma Bridge, adorned with love locks that symbolize eternal devotion. I will also share some of my favorite images that I’ve taken from these landmarks.

He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo. Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic. Nothing is more sublime.

Victor Hugo

Paris: Locations and Photos

Paris and the surrounding areas contain so many photo opportunities, and you should never limit yourself to the standard fare. If you do, try to turn things on their heads a bit. Don’t aim for that postcard photo. Instead try a new perspective or angle, try a funky fisheye lens or long exposure. The City of Lights is your playground and the only limitations are your imagination.

The Eiffel Tower:

Standing tall as the emblem of Paris, the Eiffel Tower is a must-visit destination for any photographer. This iconic iron lattice tower, designed by Gustave Eiffel, offers breathtaking views of the city from its observation decks. Its intricate structure and impressive height make for stunning photographs. Whether captured during the day or illuminated at night, the Eiffel Tower is an unforgettable subject that showcases the beauty and innovation of Paris.

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The Louvre:

Home to some of the world’s most famous art pieces, including the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and of course Phyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss. The Louvre is not only a treasure trove of artistic masterpieces but also an architectural marvel. The museum’s iconic glass pyramid, designed by I.M. Pei, offers a striking contrast to the historic palace that houses the vast collection. Photographers can explore the museum’s exterior, capturing the interplay of modern and classical architecture, or venture inside to immortalize the exquisite works of art that grace its halls.

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The majestic Notre-Dame Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, has long been an iconic symbol of Paris. With its intricate façade, soaring buttresses, and remarkable stained glass windows, Notre-Dame offers many opportunities for photographers to capture the awe-inspiring beauty of this historic monument. Although the cathedral is currently undergoing restoration following the 2019 fire, its exterior remains a must-see for any photographer visiting Paris.

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Église de la Madeleine, or Madeleine Church, is an often-overlooked gem tucked away in the bustling 8th arrondissement of Paris. This neoclassical church, modeled after an ancient Roman temple, boasts a striking façade adorned with columns and intricate sculptures. The church’s majestic interior, featuring a magnificent organ and awe-inspiring frescoes, offers a serene and atmospheric setting for photographers to explore the beauty of religious architecture.

L'église de la Madeleine
Madeleine, Église de la Madeleine altar

Paris’ Love Locks:

Without a doubt, a symbol of enduring love and commitment, the Love Locks on the Pont de l’Alma Bridge offer a unique and heartwarming subject for photographers. Couples from around the world attach padlocks engraved with their initials to the bridge’s railings. These keys are thrown into the Seine, immortalizing their love in the heart of Paris. The colorful array of locks, combined with the picturesque backdrop of the Seine and the Eiffel Tower, makes the Pont de l’Alma Bridge Love Locks an unforgettable destination for photographers seeking to capture the romance of Paris.

Paris: Locks of Love on Pont de l'Alma
Locks of Love on Pont de l’Alma

The Grand Palais:

Equally impressive is the Grand Palais, a Beaux-Arts masterpiece built for the 1900 World Exposition, is an architectural marvel that showcases Paris’s commitment to art and culture. Its imposing façade, adorned with sculptures and intricate details, is a testament to the opulence of the Belle Époque era. The expansive glass roof, the largest of its kind in Europe, allows for an abundance of natural light, creating a dreamy atmosphere that photographers will adore. From temporary exhibitions to the stunning architecture, the Grand Palais is a testament to Paris’s enduring allure.

I was lucky enough to catch an exhibit of Jean Paul Gaultier while visiting Paris in July 2015. While there I was able to get some amazing images of his work, as well as the venue itself.

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Paris Photography Tips:

  • Plan Your Itinerary: Research the locations you wish to visit and create an itinerary that allows you to make the most of your time in Paris. Keep in mind that some attractions, like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, may require advance ticket purchases.
  • Capture the City’s Essence: Paris is known for its charming streets, quaint cafés, and romantic ambiance. Take the time to explore the city and capture the essence of Parisian life through street photography and candid shots.
  • Golden Hour: Like any city, Paris is at its most photogenic during the golden hour. Make the most of this magical time by capturing iconic landmarks in the soft, warm glow of the setting sun.
  • Experiment with Perspectives: The city’s diverse architecture and bustling street life offer numerous opportunities to experiment with different angles and perspectives. Get creative and seek out unique vantage points. For example, capturing the Eiffel Tower through a wrought-iron gate or the Louvre’s pyramid reflected in a puddle.
  • Respect the Locals: When photographing people in public spaces, be mindful of their privacy and personal space. Always respect local customs and be considerate of the people who call Paris home. If someone doesn’t want to be included in a photo, they are not being rude and respect their wishes. Don’t be an ass.
  • Pack Light: Navigating the busy streets and metro system can be challenging with heavy gear. Bring a versatile lens and a lightweight tripod, if necessary, to make your exploration more comfortable and enjoyable.

Paris is a photographer’s dream, offering a rich tapestry of architectural marvels, historic landmarks, and vibrant street life. From the iconic Eiffel Tower to the hidden gems of Madeleine and Saint-Denis, there is no shortage of inspiration to be found within this captivating city. As you explore the City of Light, remember to embrace your creativity, experiment with new perspectives, and above all, enjoy the unforgettable experience of capturing Paris through your lens.

Paris - The Louvre - Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss

Shameless Self Promotion

Check out the Gallery for more images from Paris and surrounding areas. There are also a number of prints for sale on my shop.

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