Paris is probably one of the most photographed cities of all time. The City of Light was the perfect setting for many of the photographers from the 1920s to the 1950s, who were commissioned to capture kisses, everyday scenes and corners of the city. This is why we now understand the magic that lies behind this amazing city says travel writer and Paris fan Marta Lopez.
From the high hills of Belleville to the Hôtel de Ville, here’s a tour of Paris in black and white in the hands of four great classic photographers…
Robert Doisneau: Romantic Paris
If you have decided to travel to Paris with your partner, you definitely must visit the most romantic locations of the city. Observing Robert Doisneau´s photographs means flying to the most magical corners of the Marais, Montmartre and many other Parisian locations. This photographer was commissioned to portray the most romantic kisses in the history of the streets of Paris.
A must-see is the Hôtel de Ville (Metro Hotel de Ville) where a young couple kissed passionately in the middle of the crowd and became a legend.
Doisneau also makes us travel to places like the banks of the Seine, where cheerful scenes of everyday life remind us how wonderful Paris outdoors can be.
Cartier Bresson: Daily Paris
Anyone who travels to Paris will really struggle when choosing a bistro or café as the list is endless. Famous names such as Le Café de Flore, one of the oldest coffee houses in the city, La Coupole in Montparnasse, beloved of artists and intellectuals since its doors first opened, or Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain-des-Prés will catch your attention during your tour of the grand boulevards of Paris…
And the truth is that it also surprised the famous Cartier Bresson, who was moved to capture images of daily life, leisure and funny episodes of French society during the 1950s.
Eugène Atget: Streets of Paris
When arriving in Paris, don´t be surprised at the surrealism that emerges from its streets. From the romantic streets of the Latin Quarter to the cobbled streets of Montmartre, this city is a maze of mystery and beauty. Travellers can enjoy the Art Nouveau in many of its building facades and subway stops. But there is no doubt that the best way to explore Paris is by getting lost in its streets and a good way of doing this is by keeping an eye on the photo tours of Eugène Atget. Known as “The Eye of Paris”, this French photographer captured the old town in his pictures, showing it in his various facets. One of his best works was taken in Montmartre where he immortalized the empty narrow streets near the cabarets.
To find out more about the Paris of cabarets go to Boulevard de Clichy (Metro Pigalle) and take in the atmosphere that Atget captured with such style behind his camera.
Brassai: Paris by night
We Paris lovers really struggle when answering the following question: Is the city more beautiful during the day or by night? For Hungarian photographer Brassai, the dark skies of Paris inspired many of his collections. Among his work we can find beautiful images of La Place de la Concorde illuminated at night, interiors of a variety of hotels in Paris and the most extravagant street graffiti. If you are also a graffiti lover, do not hesitate to walk through the streets of Belleville. They won´t disappoint you!
Paris can be anything you want. A perfect destination for couples to enjoy, a place to let yourself go, rich in culture, cuisine and architecture. Whatever the purpose of your stay in the City of Light, you will soon realize that, indeed, Paris is an endless party….
Where to stay
Right Bank: Its the larger side of Paris on the River Seine and where you´ll find the majority of the big tourist attractions. If you are looking for a B&B, Montmartre or Belleville will offer you a wide variety of rooms, if you crave a bit of luxury places such as La Concorde or la Madeleine won’ t disappoint you!
Left Bank: La Rive Gauche is the smaller part of Paris and also the artistic part of the city. The most bohemian hotels in Paris are located in the heart of the famous Latin Quarter. If you fancy great cafés and a young atmosphere don´t hesitate to stay at this budget-friendly side of the river.
How to get there
Paris-Charles the Gaulle Airport. The Airport is located northeast of the centre of the French capital around 28km in distance on highway A1. The easiest way to reach the centre is using the RER “B” train line, which runs north-south through the centre of Paris. Journey time is about 32 minutes to Paris-Gare du Nord.
Paris Orly. Orly is located 18.4km south of the centre of the city, near to the A86 ring road. The easiest way to reach Paris is taking the Orlyval shuttle train to Antony station, and then RER “B” to Paris centre.
Marta Lopez is a travel and lifestyle writer based in London. She loves travelling and discovering new cultures. When she isn’t writing on her laptop, she can be found around London parks enjoying French literature @Martazepol