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Faubourg Saint Denis

F intro

 

Welcome to Paris, the city that pretty much inspired this entire project. Why? Because – Francophiles, avert your gaze – I’ve never really ‘got’ Paris. On the two times I’ve visited, the last one 10 years ago, I’ve just never fallen under its spell. I thought perhaps if I left the tourist trail, explored the neighbourhoods and met the locals, maybe I’d feel differently.

As to the choice of our first Paris neighbourhood, I assumed I’d have to hit the real suburbs of Paris, the banlieue beyond the arrondissements, to find the non-touristy. But turns out that ‘Paris proper’ inside the périphérique has a handful of pockets that aren’t on the typical tourist trail. One such pocket exists in the 10th arrondissement, around Rue du Faubourg Saint Denis. After much deliberation and flâneur-ing, that’s where I ended up.

Which was lucky because last week I hit a wall and just didn’t have it in me to venture far. Three months into the project with no break, I found myself exhausted and overwhelmed. Having just got my head around Istanbul, suddenly we were in Paris. Each time we land in a new city it’s a steep learning curve, one that this project doesn’t allow time for. As soon as we hit the tarmac, I need to be out there, exploring and photographing, but instead I’m inevitably held up just trying to orientate myself at the same time as sussing out the nearest supermarket/chemist/laundry.

It doesn’t help that we’re staying in what must be the noisiest apartment block in town and I haven’t been sleeping. Nothing like tossing and turning at 3am worrying about, well, you name it – the blog running late, money, Coco’s (lack of) home schooling.

And while I’m on a roll, sorry to confirm the rumour, but Parisians by and large are not a friendly bunch. Elegant, tick. Polite, tick. But friendly, non! As a consequence, I’ve found them the toughest so far to photograph. They’re not curious or interested, just wary and mildly irritated.

All this ‘blah’ reached a climax mid-week when, struggling to settle on my first neighbourhood, feeling the pressure to produce and so exhausted I was kind of swaying as I walked, I wondered if this was ‘it’ – the point at which I broke and said, very sorry but no more. It’s gonna just have to be 12 Suburbs Around the World.

But like a bloody-minded chien with a bone, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and waited for something to change.

Thankfully it did…

 

Part 1: From old French to new

Okay, so we’re in the 10th arrondissement, in an area that was once outside Paris’s walls, marked today by a grand arch called Porte Saint Denis (on the right in the first image below). Not that I knew that – in fact, until I turned a corner to walk down rue du Faubourg Saint Denis and saw the 25 metre high beauty, I thought the only arch in Paris was the Arc de Triomphe. Which makes it my kind of arch, the one you stumble upon, sans guide-book or anorak-clad tourist queue.

Named after Saint Denis, a Bishop of Paris in the third century, the neighbourhood has had many lives, from Turkish/Jewish/Armenian clothes manufacturing to the dot com crowd. And just 10 years ago it was super dodgy. A no-go zone filled with drugs, crime, etc.

It still has an edge about it, with Asian sex workers draped over motorbikes at one end and a vibrant African community who run the hair and beauty salons at the other.

I found the vibe quite full on around these salons. African guys dressed New York style hang outside the shops, waiting to swoop on potential customers to get them in the door.

But I’ve long been a little obsessed with African braiding and wanted to document it. Forget it. Aside from a few who agreed, most of the time when I asked a woman on the street if I could photograph her ‘do, one of the guys would suddenly appear and quite aggressively say ‘Non!’. Even when I was outside a wig shop taking a shot of a mannequin in the window, a guy threw himself at me – same thing – ‘Non!’

A wig. Vraiment?

 

 

the old guard of Fauborg Saint Denis

the old guard of Fauborg Saint Denis

 

 

 

the new guard of Faubourg Saint Denis

the new guard

 

 

 

Paris, past and present

Paris, past and present

 

 

 

it's still all about the clothes and the hair

it's still all about the clothes and the hair

 

 

 

nice job but it ain't no wig honey

nice job but it ain't no wig honey

 

 

 

cool vs classic

cool vs classic

 

 

 

Part 2: A mixed neighbourhood

As I said, the neighbourhood still isn’t squeaky clean but it’s undergone an enormous change and is now quite bobo, bourgeois-bohemian. Artists, architects and ad types have all moved in, either working in former warehouses or moving into the apartments with their young families.

It’s an interesting mix of white well-dressed French families walking cute apartment-sized dogs, alongside New York style Africans and the myriad other cultures that exist around the area.

 

now and then

now and then

 

 

 

different crowds :: 1

different crowds :: 1

 

 

 

different crowds :: 2

different crowds :: 2

 

 

 

ha! you call those curls!

ha! you call those curls!

 

 

 

Eva, urban explorer

Eva, urban explorer

 

 

 

people mover, Paris style

people mover, Paris style

 

 

 

French kids really do wear stripes

French kids really do wear stripes

 

 

 

she's a dish

she's a dish

 

 

 

what have you got on your feet child?

what have you got on your feet child?

 

 

 

Part 3: The built stuff

It’s not hard to see the attraction for the bobo crowd. The neighbourhood is filled with characterful industrial bits from its former life as a manufacturing quarter and charming old apartment blocks.

 

light

light

 

 

 

ooh la la, you look good madam

ooh la la, you look good madam

 

 

 

curves

curves

 

 

 

distribution systems

distribution systems

 

 

 

how the French can eat so many pastries and yet stay so slim

how the French can eat so many pastries and yet stay so slim

 

 

Paris ‘proper’ is actually quite small but there’s so much life crammed in that you can turn a corner and there’s an entirely different vibe and neighbourhood. Five minutes walk from rue du Faubourg Saint Denis but still within the 10th arrondissement is the Canal Saint-Martin. Too picturesque for my camera but I found it interesting how much chic-er and ‘shinier’ everything suddenly became.

 

just around the corner, a shinier world

just around the corner, a shinier world

 

 

 The same goes for one of Paris’s Chinatowns, in Belleville. Although it’s in the 20th arrondissement, it’s actually right next door to the Faubourg Saint Denis area. One moment you’re in Africa land, the next, in Asia.

 

 

right next door to the Asian arrondissement, le 20th

right next door to the Asian arrondissement, le 20th

 

 

 

Part 4: Cafe life

Rue du Faubourg Saint Denis is lined with cafes and shops that reveal the layers of this neighbourhood – Turkish, Armenian, Algerian, Indian and the latest incarnation, bobo.

 

catching up on the news, in whatever language

catching up on the news, in whatever language

 

 

 

from Armenia :: 1

from Armenia

 

 

 

from Armenia :: 2

from Algeria

 

 

 

Chez Jeanette, the coolest cafe on the rue

Chez Jeanette, the coolest cafe on the rue

 

 

 

50 years young

50 years young

 

 

 

pray you don't drink too much at Chez Jeanette's

pray you don't drink too much at Chez Jeanette's

 

 

 

On one of my visits to Chez Jeanette, I met an artist called Laurent and a friend of his. I can’t fully explain what they’re into but it had something to do with starting a revolution and involved eyeglasses with one square and one round. Anyone?

 

revolutionary or just too much caffeine?

Laurent Godard, revolutionary or just too much caffeine?

 

 

 

Laurent's creations

Laurent's creations

 

 

 

delicious shapes

delicious shapes

 

 

And my second to last image, reserved for the friendliest Parisian Coco and I met in the neighbourhood, Sophie. She speaks French with an Indian accent, thanks to spending eight years in India studying graphic design, before hopping on a boat to sail around the world.

 

 

sailor Sophie's swallow

sailor Sophie's swallow

 

 

The Wrap

As someone on rue du Faubourg Saint Denis said, this is a typical Paris neighbourhood. While I don’t know if that’s true or not – there seem to be so many different Paris’s in this intense city – I did enjoy seeing such a mix in such a small area.

And has my experiment worked? Have I become a Paris fan? Too early to tell but I’m warming to the place for sure. And I’m hitting the French dictionary to see if I can come up with a better response to those irritating ‘Non!’s.

 

 

 

R is for reflection

R is for reflection

 

 

On the ‘home front’

My ‘hitting the wall’ last week made me reflect on this project and what it’s all about.

As with my first project, 52 Suburbs in Sydney, you, as in you as well as the collective you, are ever present in my mind. I’m not just saying it. I get excited when I see something interesting and can’t wait to show and tell. But I also feel the pressure to reward you for taking the time to peruse these posts every week with good, strong work.

So, if you feel like it, please spill. Tell me what you like, don’t like or want to see more of. Either here or via an email. Hopefully I can oblige.

Other than that, breaking news on the home front is that I got Coco into a Montessori school here for two days a week. Kid time for her, solo time for me. Things are looking easier already.

This suburb has been brought to you by Guy, Kalinda, April and Gina

I really want to get back to my Friday post days – so hopefully see you at the end of the week.

 

  1. KT says:

    Fantastique! I stayed in an apartment around the corner from Porte Saint Denis when I was in Paris for a month in 2010. Lovely to see it again in your photos.
    Glad to hear you’ve got your groove back.

  2. Marion says:

    I was waiting for your parisian visit since the beginning of your nice and interesting trip. A bit sad to see that you’ve met impolite and unfriendly people.. But yes, this is Paris, sadly. I live in the 10th, near by the canal. Every corner of the every street is different, but i can’t bear Parisians anymore..!
    Parisian suburbs are very differents too. North and east are very popular, south and west are more like “posh”.
    I wish you a nice stay here and a good trip
    (oh and the guy with the jean jacket at chez jeannette is a friend of a friend of mine ! small world !)

    marion / http://homecollection.blogspot.com

  3. Chantal says:

    Wonderful images & text – hope you’re managing to eat lots of (gluten free) pastries, drink well & imbibe all things Parisian – swaying you to fall in love with this beautiful city. Looking forward to the next instalment!

  4. Sue says:

    Ahhh Paris. It’s like meeting a guy you can’t stand that you end up falling in love with. Pics are still good as, but perhaps the eye is tired. Try 24 hrs with no camera and refresh the brain. The French love compliments. Love to you and Coco.

  5. Cate says:

    You’ve done it again kid! Oooh la la. Even though you may have to squeeze a little harder, the essence is so worth it. We can feel that colder, harder edge of Paris compared to where you have been. That’s what makes it special.
    And thank you for taking us on this journey. We don’t feel that you are ever “late” with your deadlines, just excited and grateful to get each one. It is our dream overseas trip (when not having a dream overseas trip) and everything out of window looks fab! so relax…stop to smell the roses…and keep on squeezing…Cxx

  6. Megan says:

    Loving your posts from 52 suburbs around the world! For someone who loves both travel and photography, it has been great to explore new cities through your lens. Can’t wait to see more!

  7. Di @ beachtropic says:

    Louise, to me you are doing everything right. As Cate says, you are never late. If you are feeling blah, we collectively wish you well, there’s nothing wrong with having a bad week, its part of you and we love that!!
    Keep them coming, the smiles that is.
    Di xxx

  8. nirah says:

    oooohhh!!!! tres bien!!!! Beautiful! I love this weeks post….the Paris, past and present is my fav…..I am already falling in love with Paris…and previously I have never “got it” either ;) You really are a talent :)

  9. Natalya says:

    Magnifique! Louise you are doing a stellar job. I love reading all your blog posts, your work continues to inspire me. Looking forward to next week’s post

  10. Shannon says:

    Loving this series. Keep it going… I look forward to it every week.

  11. Wendy says:

    Congratulations Louise, another fantastic blog. I love seeing this side of Paris, having mainly ever experienced the shiny parts. Good on you for pushing on through the pain barrier. And its great Coco is in school for a while – cool experience for her.

  12. Magdalena says:

    i’m loving it! don’t stop! keep on going and stay strong and remember you bring smiles to our faces every week :) ooolala Paris! – maybe one day who knows i’ll visit the places i’m getting to know thanks to you – thank you! xoxo

  13. Wayne says:

    Wonderful images once again Louise…
    “ooh la la, you look good madam”, a fav!

  14. Josh says:

    Louise I’m first in line to purchase your coffee table book. Hasn’t Gourmet Traveller been banging at your door to get you on board?? Keep up the amazing angles and street portratiure .
    Josh

  15. Michael Collins says:

    Great Photos, Louise.

    I think we can allow you to take a week off to recharge and refresh :). Looking forward to the next installment,

    Cheers,
    Michael

  16. Brent Wilson says:

    Funny you chose Saint Denis to photograph because that is the root derivative of your home town Sydney! Also another link to Australia are the flowers in the vase they are Geraldton Wax flowers from Western Australia.My fave shot is Eva Urban explorer and absolute classic!

  17. Sarah says:

    Thank you for persevering! I know it’s tough, but there’s no need to be so tough. I’m sure you have so many millions of photos (or opportunities for photos) we don’t see, as they don’t pass your standards. But to me, it’s a joy regardless! You can do it!

    The French aren’t rude (imo) they just are impatient. I try to think of it like this, if someone spoke Japanese to me (or any other language, save French), in Australia, I couldn’t help them. I wouldn’t know what they wanted or why. And I might just stick to no as a safe coverall answer. (now the truth is that most French do speak some English, and German and Italian, they are much better off the ‘me’ type aussies, who know so little of any language from our short studies at school. But French are shy, proud people, who don’t want to be laughed at, or make a mistake. The number of French I knew that came to speak English in my year in France (only cause there was NO OTHER OPTION with whomever…) well I was shocked they’d let ME struggle in French… I suppose it’s understanding.

    Work with ‘je suis australienne’ – goes STREETS for you to be liked (French tend to not like English or Yanks/Americans). I’ve had someone (drunk, homeless) spit on the supermarket floor and say in french he hated americans… til I let it slip I wasn’t. He was stumped… walked away.

    I wish you luck, you’re doing great. Coco might hate parts of it, but her life will be richer for it (I did 4 months in French school at 8, no idea what they said, but hey… it was fun!)

  18. Charlotte says:

    As a french girl who used to live in Paris and moved to Sydney 3 years ago (I loved your exhibition), I was really impatient to read your posts about Paris.
    And I’m not disappointed: I do think the French are cold people, it’s hard to have a chat with a stranger, to get a smile from them. I feared that you would be too positive about this city. For a french person, a stranger talking to you is either a crazy person either an annoying person. But once you break the ice, they are as nice as any person in the world. If you compliment them or show them you’re not crazy, you should have good results.
    As for this blog, don’t change anything, I LOVE it this way :)

  19. nicole says:

    Lou – on one of those Montessori days, try and treat yourself to a gorgeous bistro in the Marais. Le Coude Fou (crazy elbow). It is full of rustic delicious food and bevs. It was my home-away-from-home when I lived in for a year.
    12 Rue Bourg Tibourg, 75004 Paris, France
    +33 1 42 77 15 16 ‎
    Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories of the 10e. x

  20. Guy, Kalinda, April and Gina says:

    Oh how exciting! A suburb “bought to you by” us!
    And a beautiful one at that. Great work Lou. Beautiful as always.

  21. Louise says:

    KT – Merci!
    Marion – Interesting hearing that from a Parisian. Oh, and please tell your friend about the blog. I think he gave me his email to send a pic but I’ve lost it.
    Chantal – Thanks! And I met the lovely Minh Tam yesterday! Now there’s a friendly Parisian.
    Sue – Je sais, je sais! I am trying the compliment route in my high-school French and yes, it does seem to help.
    Cate – Thanks cous! xx
    Megan – Merci beaucoup madam.
    Di – And merci to you too!
    Nirah – Well, glad I could help convert you!
    Natalya – Many thanks.
    Shannon – Merci!
    Wendy – Yes, maybe she’ll even pick up some Francais.
    Magdalena – Merci!
    Wayne – The woman in that image is classic French to me, in a good way.
    Josh – Merci beaucoup monsieur!
    Michael – A week off, mon dieu! I’d die of shock. But thank you, I’ll see if a day or two will do the job.
    Brent – You are good with your flora! I really was drawn to it, so there you go.
    Sarah – I do speak some French actually and have be pleasantly surprised by how much I can trot out when necessary – I’m retrieving words from deep parts of my brain I never knew I knew! But still, I can’t get into the nuance of anything so that’s frustrating. But you’re right, they do seem to melt when I say I’m Australian.
    Charlotte – Merci beaucoup! And okay, I’ll try not to look so crazy!
    Nicole – I’m not a foodie but I stumbled on the best tagine I’ve ever had in one of the restaurants in the area. I’m still thinking about it! Plump apples and figs with le poulet. If I get to the Marais I’ll definitely stop by there.
    Guy, Kalinda, April and Gina – My beautiful famille! Glad you approve of your suburb.

    Thanks to all you, you are magnifique! – I’ve just woken up and read all these and already I feel recharged. As Sue said, I can imagine Paris growing on me if I stayed long enough and then falling completely for it and never leaving. x

  22. Lisette says:

    Don’t change a thing about your blog! Every post is a new adventure, lived vicariously through your eyes, resulting in gorgeous shots and witty captions, plus great stories to enrich it all and add more flavour.

    Please don’t worry about posting on a particular day of the week – cut yourself some slack and take time to just enjoy enjoy enjoy!

    As for people being reticent to get their photograph taken, I think in Europe that will often be the case, whichever city you are in. We are just less friendly and open-hearted than people in other parts of the world. But if you ask nicely, I’m sure you’ll find people more willing…

    Looking forward to the next suburb, whenever you’re ready!

    Lisette
    http://cutesuite.wordpress.com

  23. ellen says:

    WOW cool mum and dad have been to paris a fewtimes the lourve all that oh i donno if they went into the hoods LOL but i know they used to buy me a particula brand every time they went sonia rickiel and to this day clothese they got like fifteen years ago still fit thank you very much charge syndrome xxx love ya louise

  24. Hyacinth says:

    Lived in Paris from 82-88 and loved those bustling corners in the 10th, 11th, and 20th best ( sadly now a little tooooo hip for my taste). In my day they were run down, cheaper neighbourhoods full of flavour and foreigners! My last apartment was on Rue Titon in the 11th. Thanks for capturing some of that in your images. Hope marche d’aligre/passage brady still hold a few surprises. Can count the number of “francais” I got to know in Paris on one hand even after 6 years (and most of them were from other parts of France:) Enjoy and bisous a Paris. Maybe you’ll be converted yet! Once the place gets under your skin, you’re lost!

  25. Bianca says:

    Don’t change a thing, Louise! I think we all love your style just the way it is. Seeing a new email from you is awesome, no matter what day it is!

  26. Cassie says:

    Feel like im in paris!!! stunning shots. your doing an amazing project! and your doing an even beter job!!! dont stop!! EVER!!!

  27. Jane says:

    Take care of yourself, Louise. We love your eye, so do what you can and take what breathing space you need to keep yourself (and Coco) happy and healthy. Loving the photos this week, as ever.

  28. Peter McConnochie says:

    Hi Louise,

    A superb post with a good dose of honest vulnerability. It gotta be very difficult to keep up the pace you are but the burbs you are documenting are creating a wonderful narrative that will last forever!

    Another series of amazing images….the Laurent glasses are superb!!!!! I love that bohemian chic!

    I managed some street portraits in Paris last year and spent done time in the Rue du Fabourg as well – wonderful!
    Many Parisians seem suspicious of the camera Hugo think they are worried your trying to get money out of them! Persevere – its well worth it!

    Good luck and glad to know your re energising!

    Peter

  29. John Ellis says:

    Paris may seem a bit ‘unyielding’ but it produces great photos despite the stricter code on photographing people but it isn’t, let’s face it, an English-speaking city. London is a bit looser and probably more creative in a modern sort of way.

    Your diptych matches had a humorous touch in this Faubourg take but I would love to see a slightly higher proportion of full photos in future editions. To think that you would be fresh as a daisy for each assignment was ambitious – just going out from home in a benign environment can see an off day: your adventure requires stamina!!

  30. Susan says:

    I only recently stumbled on your blog and can I say it’s fantastic! I always look forward to the next installment :). You have a wonderful eye and a great way with words.

  31. Louise says:

    Lisette – Thanks so much. You know the major reason I want to stick to Friday as a posting day is that it was the first posting day and if I don’t stick to it, my project will run over time – which I can’t really afford to do, in every sense of the word. Unless I can squeeze two weeks into one, which is highly unlikely. But c’est la vie huh?!
    Ellen – Hi there. Yes, good fashion lasts a lifetime. Coco is desperate to go to the Louvre – but I know she’ll tire at the first mile of it!
    Hyacinth – Now those would have been interesting times. And yes, I can really understand that, how Paris could – eventually – capture you.
    Bianca, Cassie, Jane – Merci mesdames!
    Peter – Laurent is interesting isn’t he?! And thanks, even in my most exhausted moments I know that this will be amazing to look back on in years to come.
    John – Okay, will see how I go with the single shots. And yes, stamina is the word. Even my last project, in my home town, was like a marathon.
    Susan – Merci beaucoup!

  32. JO says:

    Great Blog Louise !!! I have followed you since Hong Kong and this Paris chapter is my favourite yet. I rather like your diptych pictures as they are so uniquely you. I find them more effective in potraying your messages than a single full blown shot.

    Anyways. Have fun in Paris !!!

    • Louise says:

      Jo – Hong Kong seems years ago! And don’t worry, the diptychs are staying put – they’re my visual playtime.

  33. Vanessa says:

    Hi Louise!

    Thank you again for showing such an interesting perspective of the world. I really love reading you’re posts – they are a time for me to take a break off everything and escape to somewhere completely different. It’s interesting that a lot of the photos you’ve taken, I recognise them as more like Sydney rather than my idea of ‘Paris.’ I have never been to Paris, or I must admit like yourself ‘got it’ entirely. However, I don’t think it is getting what seems to be everyone else’s ‘it’ that is so important, as finding your own ‘it;’ your own special detail or aspect which you fall in love with; that you’ll remember and will stay with you forever.

    I’m sorry to hear that the pressures are piling on, but just know that you have lots of people who empathise and support you! Sometimes I shoot for a day to the point where I can’t bear to stand looking at my camera (& my computer; that silly spinning colour wheel of doom) for a few days. I can’t imagine how much effort you are putting in and how much strength and courage you muster up every day. Stay strong & stay inspired! I’ll be cheering you along!

    Vanessa xoxo

    • Louise says:

      Vanessa – I agree about finding the thing or things that make a city special for you – and not everyone else. It can be something so vague that you can’t really articulate but just have a sense of. I must say, every day that I stay here I understand the place a little bit more. As for the pressures, they’re so much better dealt with on a good night’s sleep – something that’s proving hard to achieve in this apartment of noise! Goes straight through the ear plugs and into my brain. But there’s always tomorrow!

  34. Athena McRae says:

    HI Louise, my brother has told me about your site. I love it and thank you so much for your wonderful photo’s. I have travelled to some of the places you have taken photo’s of which are sensational. A girlfriend and I are heading to Paris in Sept for 5 nights then onto Italy to meet up with my family so these photo’s of Paris have given us an insight as to what to expect. Take care and travel safe and look forward to seeing your next installments!
    Merci beaucoup

  35. Sophie says:

    You two are just great. I’m glad I met you both. And do drop by again! (and thanks for the sweetest comment and picture:)

    http://poppinsink.tumblr.com

    • Louise says:

      Sophie – I was wondering if you’d check the blog and you did! Coco and I enjoyed meeting you too (and your friendly friend, Benoit, who gave me some great insights into African Paris – please say hi from me when you see him next!) Take care and bon chance with your future plans.

  36. Gaylie says:

    Louisaaaa…man you need a massage and someone to pamper you for a while. Montessori for Coco good start. Can you find a spa to hide in for a day! Your pics never show how exhausted you must feel. They’re always so cleverly framed, your commentary always so interesting. Like so many have said before me you need to cut yourself a bit of slack. Even if the next post is half as long as the one before, we won’t mind! Seriously!
    You’re doing an amazing thing here Louise.
    You’re entering a new season also and maybe the warmth will give you new light to work with and strength to continue.
    Big hug through the ether to you and Coco. GG

    • Louise says:

      Gaylie – Mmm, massage would be good! Not in the budget though I’m afraid. But yes, I’m going to clock off for a few days and catch my breath. Merci!

  37. JESS says:

    Wow. Paris. This is amazing stuff you are shooting, and to think at the beginning you were in Hong Kong. In a year or so, I’m planning on grabbing my sack and traveling around the world, though I’m stuck on how to achieve this I know it’s a must. What are your tips for traveling or just even the planning stage of it?

    Great stuff as always!x

    • Louise says:

      Jess – Travelling tips huh? Well, I’m not a big planner. I like to choose the city at least and then sort of feel my way, enabling serendipity to play a role. I avoid tourist ‘highlights’ as much as possible because throngs of people kind of ruin it for me. If I could visit them at 5am I would, just to avoid the crowds. But the other thing about the ‘Must sees’ of any city is that they’re usually not where the ‘real’ people live. And that’s what I’m interested in. Hence this current project! So my biggest tip would be to focus on what you’re interested in and want to get from a long journey – and then work out where and how to travel to satisfy those desires. Hope this helps and best of luck with the journey.

  38. Jackie Nolan says:

    Louise, your photographs and commentary are so
    enlightening. Where else could one get this great
    insight into real life and people! Great work!
    All best wishes and continued encouragement.
    Jackie xx

    • Louise says:

      Jackie – Merci beaucoup! So happy you’re getting so much from the project. Makes all the effort so worthwhile.

  39. Lydian says:

    Hi Louise,
    I have been following your project since I came across it on Kickstarter and really enjoy every new post. It is great to see how you manage to show the cities from a different angle. I really love the combinations you put together of people, objects, city views. Finding the right colours, shapes, it requires an eye for details, which you certainly have. Your blog is a real inspiration for me and I am always looking forward to the new post. Every post feels as a gift, a joy for the eye, no matter if it is late or not.
    Your last post from Paris was one of the most special ones for me, as I have visited this city a couple of times and as you initially did, I could not understand what all the raving was about. Now -trough your eyes- I am seeing the city from a different perspective and see how this city could grow upon you. Hope it in fact does for you, that you will enjoy the rest of your stay in Paris and will get all your energy back. Remember that small breaks can make a big difference!

  40. Nicole says:

    ah you are fabulous … great photos and honest documenting … i love that arch too – nearly fell over when i came across it :-)

  41. Louise says:

    Lydian – Merci! I’m starting to see what all the fuss is about. And yes, I’ve taken everyone’s advice and am having a few days doing very little. The sun has retreated as have we, holed up in our little apartment eating macarons and chocolate! Next post this Friday.
    Nicole – Merci aussi! I know, the arch was a huge surprise, literally. And there’s another nearby, not quite so nice but still grand and unexpected.

  42. Donna says:

    I can imagine after a week of so of gorgeous French food and a bit of time to yourself your excitement levels will be back to day one. This is an amazing project Louise and it is the highlight in my inbox. Prendre soin et MERCI!

    • Louise says:

      Donna – As much as I consider myself a simple eater, my tastebuds do appreciate the occasional tantalising morsel. I had no idea why everyone gets so breathless about Laduree macarons, for example, but having popped a few in ma bouche the other day, I get it! Instant flavour filled crispy yet soft gooey little delights. And speaking of delights, I’m delighted I’m your inbox highlight! Merci!

  43. Mary says:

    I lived in faubourg st denis with rue d’Enghein, 25 years ago, in its “heydays”; you should have been around then. I was there last September, not half of what it used to be (lost a lot of charm, gained a lot of chic and no longer Al balbec libanese restaurant to marvel at the belly dancers) to name but a few gems. but I can recognise your “sentiment”. Sarkozy has his offices there now, say no more!

    • Louise says:

      Mary – Drat, I so would have loved to have photographed the belly dancers! And I can only imagine what else. I don’t know about you but I always feel incredibly lucky in similar situations that I witnessed a place – or person for that matter – when it was at its peak. And I know it’s not what it was but I can’t believe Sarkozy has offices there!

  44. Mary says:

    Louise, thanks for your reply much appreciated and you did indeed capture the street life around fabourg with the very insistent “non” when anybody tries to take a photographa of the amazing nailpolishing, hair dressing. I tried as well. chez julien was also a treat for sore eyes. Try around belleville on the right handside, above the canal, where all the graffiti artists live; go up rue st denis and into the “rag trade” arcades, you find yourself in a maze of incredible shops and you come out far from where you thought you would be. I live in Barcelona, get here quick as they are destroying everything. You would love Lisbon.

  45. Noni says:

    such inspiring pics and informative posts. We’re away in Namibia at the moment & I really understand the pressure you are under to post every week & find your feet in new surroundings…you capture such amazing people. loving every post, thanks!

  46. Louise says:

    Mary – I’ve been to Barcelona once for 24 hours! Loved it, hate to think of it being destroyed. Population pressure, is that the reason?
    Noni – Merci. Good to know someone understands! Happy travels in Namibia.

  47. Libby says:

    You and your posts are sublime! It has taken me a while to get to this one, as I saved it in my ‘treats to be had when I have 5 minutes to myself’ folder, and it didn’t disappoint. Hugs to you and Coco and your wander-lusting!

    • Louise says:

      Libby, I was only thinking the other day that I hadn’t heard from you in a while in the blogosphere – and then you popped in for a visit! So happy you enjoyed your trip to Faubourg Saint Denis and hope to see you again here soon.

  48. Jim says:

    Marvellous.

    • Louise says:

      Jim, merci!

  49. lynn says:

    Louise. I almost cried when i read the begining of your post. I felt like you put me and my child in your shoes, and i just wanted to give you a hug. Tiredness, and the need to ensure you are always on for your beautiful girl and your art. You really are the true artist. Finding beauty in the difficulty and chaos of this amazing thing called life. I love your beautiful pictures – thank you for bringing them to us. we appreciate it and you so much.

    • Louise says:

      Lynn, thanks so much, that’s so lovely to hear! And I’m thrilled you’re getting a lot from my project and images. Makes all the effort so worthwhile!

  50. emily says:

    hi! this was a fantastic blog post, very informative, I definitely need to know more about the suburb I’ll be staying in, in less than 3months time!
    I would like to say that the favourite aspects were the arc and the coffee shop photos. you probably could have done with more fashion focused photos for the hair and fashion section, as Paris is soo fashion concious.

    Eventhough it was a fairly ethnic suburb, I would have liked to have seen more anglo french locals…I guess thats not how you saw the suburb right??

    congrats and thankyou again on a wonderful insight!

  51. Jean-Paul says:

    Great blog post. I live on that street and am absolutely in love with the area; one of the few areas left in central Paris that is still authentic. As a fellow photographer, writer and artist, congratulations for the great photos and wonderful text.
    I’ve shared on the facebook page of my company.

    • Louise says:

      Merci! Very happy you enjoyed it. It was definitely one of my favourite parts of Paris too.

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