Cottage Hill Travels :: Paris

Cottage Hill

Today Silver Cup Artist Alyssa Valletta of Alyssa Joy Photography shares some of her favorite moments in Paris. Her tips and photographs have us dreaming of an early spring vacation! You can purchase some of these lovely photographers here.

In July 2014 I spent a weekend in Paris, France with some friends. We had just spent a week in a small town in Alsace as a part of a larger group volunteering at a kids camp, and we stayed in Paris before flying back home. With such a short time in this huge & busy city, we really didn’t do much of the typical tourist stuff - all of us had been there before, so we decided to spend most of our time just walking around, soaking up the sunshine and taking in the beauty of the city. Rather than buying a lot of souvenirs, I spent money on good meals, transportation, and then getting my film developed once I got home. I also made a beautiful photo book of all my photos from the trip with Artifact Uprising which is now one of my favorite belongings. As a photographer it can be so easy to hide behind your camera on a trip, and not really be present and take in what you’re seeing - so the past few trips I’ve taken, I’ve chosen to limit my camera choices and focus on capturing a handful of images I really love and am proud of, rather than snapping a shot of everything I see.

Here are a few things I love doing in Paris that are inexpensive & give you a great experience:

- Walk around the Jardin de Luxembourg (the largest public park in Paris), buy a crêpe or ice cream from one of the food stands & choose a bench for some people-watching.

- Explore Montmartre & visit Sacré-Cœur. I didn’t stop at Sacré-Cœur on this particular trip, but it’s a wonderful choice and one of my favorite places! Walking up all those stairs is so worth it for the view you get of the city. Montmartre is the area of Paris where the film Amélie was shot. It is very quaint, full of small shops and restaurants, and wasn’t very crowded on the rainy Sunday afternoon I was there.

- Buy some snacks from a local market and walk along the Seine river, choose a spot to sit & eat and watch the tour boats float by. We had such a fun time eating peaches, cheese, and carrots by the river and waving to the boat passengers - we probably looked pretty silly, but it was one of my favorite parts of the weekend. 

- Pick a random sidewalk café for each meal - they really are everywhere and are so quintessentially French. I’m pretty sure I could be content with a Nutella crêpe from a café for breakfast every morning.

- Take a boat tour of the city. The tours are fairly inexpensive and start near the Eiffel Tower, lasting about an hour. This gives you a a chance to sit down and rest your legs while still seeing some important and historical spots along the Seine. It’s especially lovely at night as all the buildings are lit up, and in the summertime it stays light so late - I shot all of the nighttime photos from the boat, well after 10pm.