I have already thought about visiting Paris Photo, but when the French officialy announced the date of this year’s event, it was inevitable. I couldn’t resist so I decided to go there. The exhibition is open for the public for four days and every day there is a different accompanying programme. Therefore, I wanted to be in the city all four days and see which day the weather would be most suitable and the programme most attractive to go there.
My French didn’t change from the summer, but I hoped that my English will be enough at least in Paris. I have actually already been there twice on previous occasions: a few days when I had still been in high school, and then two days in 2007 when I had been travelling through the whole of France. I wasn’t afraid it wouldn’t go this time. I can go through the traffic in advance and glutten- and lactose-free food is no problem in France – galettes, what more could i need.
And that’s really how it worked. I communicated in English, lived on galettes and cidre, ate goat cheese and always had a map in my bag, just in case. And life was beautiful.
It was maybe thanks to the November date that there weren’t even too many tourists, so the only crowded places were the underground ad the tiny tables in restaurants. Although I visited a lot of interesting places, I didn’t bring many pictures from Paris in the fall because I wasn’t able to clearly capture the atmosphere which i felt from the city and its enhabitants. I was probably too nervous and curious about Paris Photo to be able to properly see the city. Anyway, it really surprised me how few street artists I saw, since there were many of their works to be seen – and I really liked some of these.
Paris Photo 2011 – the first thing to confuse me was a more than two hundred meters long queue in front of the entrance to Grand Palais, I was really afraid as to how long I would be standing there, but I got in in mere twenty minutes. The entrance ticket cost 25 Euro, the calague another 25, together they were 40. The inside of the hall was big, and I mean really big, and also completely packed – tens of exhibitors, thousands of photographs and only about eight hours to go through it all.
In spite of the exhaustion it was worth it and I am seriously thinking of coming back next year, if only to see, how the new theme will influence the event and how the market (the pictures sold here) will move.
But I wasn’t so exhausted that I’d forget the programme. I only visited about three parts, but I spent the more time at the exhibition in Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson.
During my short stay, I was asked to donate the handicapped about eight times (and I bet they really had to spend a lot of time on making such an ugly copy of the form that it was completely unreadable) and there were two occasions, when someone in front of me foud a gold ring and tired to sell it to me. They only tried the other scams once.
Few random notes:
- Public Internet access is expensive, if there is any at all.
- It’s pointless to take a bus from the airport [CDG] you won’t see anything anyway. It’s better to go by the suburban train RER, it’s faster and you can use the ticket i the underground.
- The toilets in Starbucks Paris are the filthiest Starbucks toilets I have ever seen in all the countries I have ever visited.
- You have to look what you’re stepping into, even in the centre on the main streets.