I am writing this at 2:58 am. I am still jet-lagged. The first full day is always the hardest. Today was another very busy day. We start with a walk to the Louvre-Rivoli metro stop to meet our photography instructor, Elena at 8 am. We arrive a bit early and spot a cafe right across the street. I need a double espresso to wake up and be ready to absorb instruction. We sit outside keeping an eye out for someone who looks like a photography instructor. What does a photography instructor look like exactly? We are not sure, but we think we spot her. Blond, small stature with a confident stride, alert eyes and a backpack. We know it is her before we introduce ourselves. Maybe it is the photographer vibe that we all share.
We make our way together through the alleys and passageways and begin our session.
Elena is taking us on the "passages" tour. She is lovely, and very patient with us. We fall into comfortable rapport. Her teaching style makes learning f-stops, ISO, white balance and all the other confusing terms of photography, seem easy. We roam through the passageways and parks near the Louvre. Many are out of the way places that could only be known by someone who lives in Paris. The passageways are remnants of an old Paris, where ladies of means liked to maintain pasty white skin, evidence of no labor. Tanned skin meant that you toiled in the sun. The passageways kept the ladies shaded while they shopped. Today they house scattered little specialty shops and cafes.
We were very pleased with our time with Elena. Once our instruction is done, we sit in a little cafe and enjoy espresso and conversation.
On our way back to the apartment, we walk through the Tuileries Garden. It is my first time in the grand garden that leads to the Louvre palace. It is just as stunning as all the photographs I have seen. We find another little cafe within the garden and enjoy a lunch of burgers and frites.
After lunch we walked through the garden putting our newly found knowledge of f-stops and aperature priority to practice. The skies are that glowing color of radiant blue, making the shots look like postcards.
Closer to the apartment, we stop in Charvin, the art store with Mr. Beautiful. He isn't there but a stunning array of paints and paper journals are. I buy my watercolors and a small journal with red linen fabric, black binding and the gold embossed letters, "Charvin" on the cover. The tiny watercolor set is very portable, perfect to tuck into a pocket for future adventures. Something I will cherish forever.
We stop at the market for some basics and then head to the apartment to conquer the 78 steps, unload and rest a bit. A change of shoes is also in order. Toms are not meant for 15,000 steps on the cobblestone streets of Paris.
After a short rest, we hit the streets again. I need to find a camera shop to purchase a European charger because my camera is not keeping a charge. We have some lunch and start making our way back when I see the most beautiful necklace in a shop window. It's one of those moments when you just know. I fell instantly in love with it. The bead work is very special and the colors beautiful and soft. It will be my special purchase from the trip. I purchase the necklace and ask the shopkeeper about a camera shop. There is one right across the street!
We pop into the camera shop to buy a European charger. After much consideration, instead I leave with a new camera. It's lovely, a newer version of the Panasonic Lumix that I adore. It's white, very French. The rest of the trip is going to have to be a little more reserved.
We finish the evening with some night photography and dinner at a small cafe near Notre Dame. After a lovely light dinner, we head back to the apartment under the city lights of Paris.