I have a long history with Paris, I’ve been there numerous times – in fact my very first memories of being somewhere abroad are from Paris.
Having said that the experience has always been a different one for me. Paris has changed a lot in the last 15 years, both for the better and the worse, in my opinion.
The benefit of having seen all the important monuments and sights before is that it allows me to do what I like most when behind a camera – getting my eye in and seeing things my way, beyond what all the postcards show.
So yes, I went to the Eiffel tower and Notre Dame and the Louvre, yes the queues were massive (even in December), and yes the famous exhibits were too overcrowded to see; but take a step back and look away from the main attractions and you see beautiful renaissance paintings, amazing stonework architecture or just plain old Paris – but no one is there because their guidebook didn’t tell them it’s amazing or famous or unique….but it is. All these things are, we just have to close the guidebook, turn off the tablets and have a look around.
I was glad that photography is still allowed inside Notre Dame. Whilst I respect the decision of some places of worship to ban photography inside (especially nowadays when taking photos involves waving a bright smartphone high in the air with its glowing screen) I don’t think respectfully taking pictures detracts from the spiritual essence of such places.
Though I have no burning desire to come back soon, I’m sure I will, sooner or later. It’s Paris after all – you can’t stay away for too long!