In my early days of living in Paris fitting in was a struggle. The city and my new French friends seemed like a puzzle to be solved as I stumbled through the steps of navigating Parisian soirées and metro lines. With limited control of the language and no experience living abroad, I depended on my love of all things French to get me through awkward moments and bouts of homesickness.
I quickly learned that a camera and a notebook were this introverted expat’s best friends. It’s easy to get smiles from even the most blasé Parisians while out and about if you simply point a camera at them, no language necessary (though it is polite to ask before taking photos of people!)- just point and click at a party or café and you’ve made contact.
Framing the city through a camera lens also brings it to life in a new way, with a photographer’s eye you see details and discover parts of the city that you may have left unexplored otherwise.
A piece of paper and a pen can also open doors. My all time favorite thing about being a writer is that researching an article or exploring a story brings me out of my shell and gives me an excuse to talk with people I would have been to shy to approach. Thanks to writing, I’ve met amazing and inspiring people in the Parisian food and drinks scene- people I wouldn’t have started a conversation with otherwise.
Whenever new arrivals in Paris talk to me about their struggle in adapting to their new home, I suggest they document their experiences as a testament to the life changing experience they have undertaken. Writing and photography are such easy and fun ways to do this, especially since we know all carry a phone that is also a camera and notebook in one!
Even if you’re not an introvert, or if you’ve been in Paris for years, you may be looking for a new way to see the city. If you’re interested in rekindling your love of writing or taking your photography hobby to the next level, we want to hear from you!
At HiP Paris we love to hear the stories of our adventurous readers and curious expats (as well as natives and experienced world travelers, too). Whether you’ve been in Paris for two weeks or ten years, your point of view is important to us, especially if it takes us off the beaten path and into new territory!
Are you an amateur photographer or budding freelance writer? Or an experienced Parisian ambassador looking to reach a new audience? We are currently looking for original contributions and unique pitches from skilled writers and photographers looking for assignments that will whisk them around our beautiful city. If this sounds like you please send us an email [email protected] We look forward to hearing from you!
- Read about one expat’s early days as a new transplant to the City of Light.
- Emily Dilling learns the ropes of social life in rural France.
- Paris is a city a lot of tourists do wrong; here’s how to get it right.