France: A VINTAGE JOURNEY (1)

Every time I remember my first travel to France, I always smile and feel a bit proud. Sure, I did see all the landmarks and fell in love with the country, but I also had such an alluring agenda (made one for myself!), that I would probably do all over again if I were to visit for the first time.

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One of the most recognizable landmarks in the world

I was so excited searching for apartments where the famous French artists lived in Paris in the 19th century, chasing spots which got painted by Vincent van Gogh in Arles and tried to escape that unusual tropical wave (that Europe was hit by back then) rushing along Cote d’Azure… It was 2003, seems like ages ago!

It’s true that so many things can happen in almost a decade and a half. But the thing that I love about Europe is that (unlike Dubai or Singapore for example), you can be sure that significant places remain in their spots. Surroundings might change, but the location stays the same!

Bulky camera and films
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Strolling the streets of Paris

And so, as often as I thought nowadays about describing my trip to Giverny or Arles and other places to visit in France, as impatient I got, since I knew it is going to be so special, one genuinely vintage series! Guys, I was still using one huge camera, that was heavy and so cumbersome to carry around. It also had the external flash unit, which was also big and heavy. And I had my camera films developed!

Hence, there were a lot of beautiful photos, but also some totally unusable after developing, with yellow spots or they were just too blurry. (And I seem to have been especially fond of the vertical ones for some reason!) And you know what? I am just going to scan them now! It will be one original journey to tell stories about, not just around France, but the journey through time!

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Famous hotel in Nice on the Riviera

I have spent almost a month in France, being in Paris for couple of weeks and then hopping all around the country with a dear friend of mine – who got impatient from time to time and didn’t want to take the train along the Cote d’Azure and hop on and off to see “one more lovely French village” on the coast, but rather waited for me at the beach in Saint Tropez. And I just couldn’t miss the opportunity! Just imagine: you are at the French Riviera and at the time a daily train ticket was 10 euros, you could have hopped on and off as often as you wanted.

“Who knows when I am going to come again”, I was thinking, and so, “why not just see it all now!” Pretty ambitious, I will admit, but so doable. Believe me, I know, I did it!

Poetic and romantic
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Lovely town of Rouen north of Paris

Anyway, being a journalist, I made sure to write about all those things I have seen in Paris, pointing out how thrilled I was to see that beautiful Rouen’s cathedral Claude Monet was crazy about, and to stroll along the Roman heritage sight Van Gogh was once passing by every day.

Still cherish those articles which I am going to quote through out this series. And believe me, I am having so much fun writing these lines and can’t wait to see how this French series is going to get all poetic, romantic, and – vintage!

Next: TROPICALLY HOT PARIS (2)

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18 thoughts on “France: A VINTAGE JOURNEY (1)

  1. What a lovely walk down memory lane! My first international trip and what made me fall in love with Europe was also to Paris. It was right around the time digital cameras starting coming out, but I think we still shot with film. I’ll have to try and dig up those photos just for fun!

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  2. I love your vintage photos! It’s funny to think that now we try and replicate that classic look with Instagram filters 🙂 Rouen looks particularly charming. It would be so interesting to go back and recreate your itinerary from your first visit, I’d love to see the similarities and changes. Some of my most treasured photos are ones I printed from disposable cameras. I feel that photos aren’t printed nearly as much anymore with the digital age.

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  3. I think my first European trip was to Paris. I was ten and took part in a short exchange program (about a month). I remember the sites, but what stands out more was the people and my feelings. I can clearly remember, even now (it’s been a long time since 6th grade..) playing soccer in the small park outside my host family’s apartment. The park was unreasonably small and on a hill. We had to chase the ball a lot but soccer was the sport of choice. So many memories are floating back once I uncorked that bottle….

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  4. My first international trip was to Paris with my BFF, and like you, I am a journalist by trade. You’ve brought back so many fond memories. My BFF also gets a bit fed up with me wanting to take one more picture or stop in at one more location.

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  5. Did not know about the hop-on-and-off train in the South of France. Great shots and it is so amazing to see the rich history through your shots! Looking forward to more!

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  6. What a beautiful post! My very first trip across the pond was to France! I even still had a film camera! (Which is crazy because it wasn’t THAT long ago; my times have changed). I was opposite of you. I didn’t take enough photos because I was afraid of using up my precious film. 😉

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  7. What a lovely reminiscence from the yester years. You have written about Paris like no other post that I have read in recent years. Going around the fashion capital searching for the artist’s homes sounds so romantic. Are all these pictures from your trip back then? I ask because they really look vintage.

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    • Oh, thank you, so kind of you to say that you haven’t seen similar post recently! 🙂 Yes, those are all my photos from that first trip to France I’m writing about. They were actually the reason I’ve marked the whole journey as a vintage one. 😀

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