(Sorry if there is a long load time, I've included a lot of photos in this post)
That's right, Paris all night long! Travel there, take photos all night, then travel back home to Stroud the next morning. This is the brain child of Ghene Snowdon who does these fantastic all night photo meets. Ghene, along with other longstanding members of the London Flickr Meetups Group, organizes these sorts of meets every year. Including London All Nighters as well as Paris All Nighters. Until now I've never been on one, though I have been very tempted many times over the years. But things just didn't line up right for me to go.
This year was no different really, I've been so busy that the meet just passed me by...or so I thought! On the Monday before the weekend of the '2014 Paris All Nighter' on the 7th and 8th of June, Ghene contacted me and asked if I'd like to go in her place as something had come up and she couldn't go. At first I was stunned but then I quickly looked at my calendar and decided I could manage it. Quickly discussed it with hubby and then accepted the challenge to fill Ghene's shoes for the trip. Don't let her small size fool you, she may be a very tiny person but her shoes are very difficult to fill! Lucky for me she had everything all planned out and she sent me her itinerary with maps and even talked me through it on the phone. All I had to do was follow her instructions, manage tickets and lead the group around Paris all night on an amazing photo expedition. Oh and stay awake all night!
I was extremely excited about the trip and more than a bit nervous about being the group leader! I've organized and lead several photographic expeditions over the years myself, but never one this far away or to a place I wasn't familiar with. Like I said before, lucky for me, Ghene had it all planned down to a 'T' and passed all this information over to me to follow. I still had to plan my trip to London though and I begin looking up train times and trying to figure out how to get from Paddington to St Pancras etc. I started my own itinerary with notes and directions for me to follow on the day. My husband Peter was also helping me with this as he grew up in London and knows his way around. He even sneaked a few notes into my itinerary himself which I found later. Like after the notes about meeting the crew at St Pancras by the giant Kissing Statue he added: "Ask who knows Paris and give them the map." Lucky for him I have his sense of humour.
So my journey begins.... On Saturday I left Stroud on the 11:35 morning train to London Paddington where I caught the Underground Hammersmith and City Line to Kings Cross, which is next door to St Pancras station where we catch the Eurostar to Paris. I met Ghene there and she went over things with me again before taking me to meet the group of photographers who were going on this trip. Quick chat then off to catch the 15:31 Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord....where we lose an hour as Paris is an hour ahead of London time. We arrive in Paris at 18:47. (For those not familiar with the 24 hour clock that is 6:47pm)
|Most of the gang at Gare du Nord down in the Metro in Paris (L to R) Ravi, Julie, Jackie, Mike just behind David & Kieron.|
|The Metro in Paris|
|Mike photographing people down in the Metro while we waited for our train.|
|Waiting for our Metro train.|
|Mike never stopped taking photos :-)|
Apparently, I'm told, that the best views of Paris are from the Tour Montparnasse.....as it's the only place in Paris where you can't see the huge Tour Montparnasse! It is a very large building. :-)
I really enjoyed photographing the sunset over Paris...as you've probably noticed from all the photos of the Eiffel Tower. I did take my Lee filters and I did try to use them but I found them too fiddly in a crowd of people all jostling for the few openings in the glass to take a clear shot of the sunset...so I put them away before I damaged or dropped one off the building.
|Back on the Underground...sorry Metro. I really liked their centre poles that split into three. Much nicer when trying to share space. In this photo: David, Ravi, Mike and Julie.|
|Kieron & Mike photographing Centre Pompidou.|
|Rue Saint Merri, art installation.|
|Hotel de Ville|
|I believe this to be Pont d'Arcole or very near it. :-) In this photo, upper right is Ravi, David, Julie and Mike.|
|Bridge near Notre Dame over the Seine River. In other words, I've no idea.|
|Pont des Arts AKA Love Locks Bridge.|
|Love Locks Bridge (Pont des Arts)|
After this we went on a long walk to find the restaurant where we were to have our late night supper. I think it was round 02:30-03:00 when we found it. Everyone had pizza except me who had a lovely salad. I wasn't hungry but I knew I needed to eat as I hadn't had any food since arriving in Paris. Mainly I needed to drink some liquids.
|Arc De Triomphe|
It's now around 5am. It's not a real long time till our train back to London comes so we decided to head in the direction of the station and have a bit of breakfast and a natter. Chris and Julie were both staying in Paris and Chris left us earlier in the evening to go to his hotel room. Julie stayed with us till the end before heading for her sister's house somewhere in Paris. The rest of us headed for our Eurostar train back to London with myself traveling on to Stroud.
|Sunrise near Gare du Nord|
Time home in Stroud, just after Noon on Sunday.
For the photographers who are interested in what gear I took. Not as much as I wanted and far too much at the same time. I did use most everything I took but I do wish I'd left the Lee filters behind. Could have probably left one of the other lenses behind too, like the 16-35. Oh and the 50! I didn't even use that one I don't think! Tripod was very handy, though heavy. I really need to find me a smaller lighter tripod for trips like this. Loved the 70-200 for the sunset photos and the 24-70 for most everything else. Oh and though I didn't use it much I was glad I had the 24mm tilt shift lens.
I also took a smallish compact camera with me as well, which I took quite a few photos with. Could have almost made do with that most of the time to be honest. Half the photos above are from my Sony RX100 II camera.
I had also taken a jacket for warmth, which I did not need and never took out. A rain coat and an umbrella as it was suppose to rain cats and dogs on us, but as it turns out I didn't need those either. It did rain but only while we were in the restaurant. We were really lucky with the weather.
It other words I carried way too much stuff which I had to lug around. Never mind, I consider it insurance, if I hadn't have brought those things we would have been cold and wet all night! You're welcome! ;-)
If you are interested in joining in on any future trips of this sort then please check out The London Flickr Meetups Flickr Page for more information.
A few links to explore relating to this trip:
The London Flickr Meetups Flickr Page
Link to photos on Flickr by others on this trip
Ghene's Paris All Nighter 2014 page
My Flickr Page