A Tale Of Two Cities: London & Paris In Polaroid
I realize this is terribly cliché. Really, I get it. Most Americans are obsessed with Europe, and I happen to be one of them. Of course, there are zillions of other incredible places worth visiting all over the globe; in fact, I’m pumped to be checking off the Philippines later this year. That being said… having a background in art, with writing and photography making up a good chunk of all the things I think about and talk about, it makes sense why I love Europe so much — many of my favorite artists and authors walked the same cobblestone streets I did a few weeks ago in London and Paris.
It was not my first time to Paris — I made sure to check that one off the list a long time ago. But it was my first real time exploring London (layovers don’t count) alongside my husband Nick. We decided to make it a family trip, and invited Nick’s mom and sister to join us for the week — their first time across the pond. Alongside my regular cameras (both the professional and the iPhone variety) I brought a Polaroid Original 600 Camera, recently acquired from Wayward’s Bellevue store. Loaded up with film (both traditional color film and the ice cream edition) I challenged myself to see things from the perspective of capturing a single instant — not unlike the heart behind the Impressionist movement and its famous founder, Claude Monet.
Falling In Love With London
London was magic. As we meandered along the Thames, hopped on and off brilliant red double decker buses, cheered for Chelsea at a football match then celebrated their glorious win over foaming pints at a proper pub afterwards… I fell in love with London, just as I hoped I would. I got the giggles at the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, I photographed street art in Shoreditch, we dined like royals over high tea, and I may or may not have wept during a performance of Twelfth Night (my favorite Shakespeare play) at the historic Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. We even took touristy pictures at Platform Nine And Three-Quarters (any other Harry Potter superfans out there?). Just typing this makes me want to purchase another plane ticket and head right back! If it weren’t for the wicked jet lag, I’d probably do it, too.
Fish ‘n Chips
We celebrated the birth of Prince Archie at Poppies Fish & Chips in Camden, which was hands down the best I’ve ever had, and one of the best meals of the trip. Not to be missed.
Every London blog post I ran across on Pinterest urged me to drop everything and run to Borough Market, which is basically the Pike Place of London. A must if you’re a foodie, or just a human. We had lunch at Padella which I can’t recommend enough — don’t be dismayed by the long line, it moves fast.
London’s Specialty Coffee Scene
Paris, Mon Amour
The charm and allure of Paris is difficult to explain unless you’ve been. My favorite area of the city is Montmartre — picture Owen Wilson running around in Midnight In Paris. “The place where all the famous artists and writers used to hang out,” I explained to Nick’s family as our cab rolled up. Sure enough: the first thing we see is a Van Gogh placard on a crumbling wall adjoining an old building, explaining the history of Van Gogh’s short-lived residency in the area, and how he was too intimidated by the more well-known artists of the day to stay long (joke’s on them). In Montmartre, you can dine on escargot while having your portrait done, or meander into a local abbey and happen upon the oldest artistic relics in the entire city (outside the Louvre) from the Gallo-Roman era at the Church of Saint-Pierre de Montmartre.
Well, I didn’t need to tell you that, of course. But looking at this architectural marvel is not enough: I highly recommend you pay to get up to the tippy top! I did not do this the last time I was in Paris, and while I was expecting a decent experience reminiscent of the Space Needle, this was far superior. Do it!
Whether you’re an art history buff or not, you simply cannot miss the Louvre. It is the world’s museum. You could spend an entire week here and still not see everything. Tickets are surprisingly reasonable which I love — anybody can afford to see the world’s treasures! Buy online ahead of time to save a buck or two. Your first time going? Allow at least 3-4 hours and wear comfortable shoes!
This hole-in-the-wall cocktail lounge has made the rounds with my friends and I for years now. Don’t let its nondescript appearance fool you; the cocktails here are topnotch.
Slanging my Polaroid camera through London and Paris had all the charm you might imagine. I love the perfectly imperfect shots I collected — true momentos I’ll look back on forever from that one time I fell in love with my favorite European cities all over again.