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Every time I remember my first trip to France, I always smile and feel a bit proud. Sure, I did see all the landmarks and fell in love with the country, but I also had such an alluring itinerary (made one myself!), that I would probably do all over again if I were to visit for the first time. So, here is how I traveled around France.

My first trip to France

One of the most recognizable landmarks in the world

My first trip to France

I was so excited while searching for apartments where the famous French artists lived in Paris in the 19th century, chasing spots which were painted by Vincent van Gogh in Arles, and trying to escape that unusual tropical wave (that Europe was hit by back then) along Cote d’Azur… It was 2003, which seems like ages ago now.

It’s true that so many things can happen in a couple of decades. But the thing that I love about Europe is that (unlike Dubai or Singapore for example), you can be sure that significant places remain in their spots. Surroundings may change, but the location and French landmarks stay the same.

Bulky camera

And so, as soon as I thought nowadays about describing my first trip to France, to Giverny or Arles, as impatient I got since I knew it was going to be a special, genuinely vintage series.

Paris-street-lamp-Glimpses of the World

MY FIRST TRIP TO FRANCE: Strolling the streets of Paris

I was still using a huge old camera, that was heavy and so cumbersome to carry around. It also had an external flash unit, which was also large and heavy. And I had my camera films developed.

Nevertheless, there were a lot of beautiful photos, but some were totally unusable after developing, with yellow spots or blurry ones. (And I seem to have been especially fond of the vertical ones for some reason.)

And you know what? I am just going to scan them now. This will be an original journey not just because of the stories from my first trip to France but because we will also be traveling through time.

Nice-hotel-Glimpses-of-the-World

The famous hotel on the French Riviera

I spent almost a month in France back then, being in Paris for a couple of weeks and then hopping all around the country with a dear friend of mine. She often got impatient and didn’t want to take the train along the Cote d’Azure, and hop on and off to see “yet another lovely French village” on the coast. She would rather wait at the beach in Saint Tropez.

On the other hand, I just couldn’t miss the opportunity. Just imagine: you are at the French Riviera and a daily train ticket was 10 Euros, you could have hopped on and off as often as you wanted.

“Who knows when I am going to come again,” I thought, and so, “why not just see it all now.” Pretty ambitious, I will admit, but so doable. Believe me, I know, I did it.

Poetic and romantic

Anyway, being a journalist, I made sure to write about my first trip to France, all the things I have seen in Paris, pointing out how thrilled I was to see the beautiful Rouen cathedral Claude Monet was crazy about and to stroll along the Roman heritage sights Van Gogh was once passing by every day.

Rouen-France-glimpses-of-the-world

A lovely town of Rouen north of Paris

I still cherish those articles which I am going to quote throughout this series. And believe me, I am having so much fun writing these lines and can’t wait to see how this French series will get all poetic, romantic, and – vintage.

Next: TROPICALLY HOT PARIS

The full France SERIES

 

Travel blog pin Glimpses of the World

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Comments:

  • 22/07/2017

    What a lovely walk down memory lane! My first international trip and what made me fall in love with Europe was also to Paris. It was right around the time digital cameras starting coming out, but I think we still shot with film. I’ll have to try and dig up those photos just for fun!

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    • 22/07/2017

      It would be great if you could share them, would love to see your film-photos. πŸ˜€ So interesting to remember that now, right. πŸ˜‰

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  • 23/07/2017

    Paris is certainly the most romantic place in the world. I agree with you on Europe not changing. Would love to see your vintage shots.

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  • 23/07/2017

    I love your vintage photos! It’s funny to think that now we try and replicate that classic look with Instagram filters πŸ™‚ Rouen looks particularly charming. It would be so interesting to go back and recreate your itinerary from your first visit, I’d love to see the similarities and changes. Some of my most treasured photos are ones I printed from disposable cameras. I feel that photos aren’t printed nearly as much anymore with the digital age.

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    • 23/07/2017

      They are not, we just store them away to some memory devices. There’s no charm in flipping old photo albums, we don’t do that any more. Remember those? πŸ˜€

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  • 23/07/2017

    I’ve been walking down memory lane as well looking at destinations I visited a decade or more ago. It’s funny how those experiences feel like they were only yesterday.

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    • 24/07/2017

      Hehe, you’re right, they stay vivid in our memory. It probably has something to do with those memories being – amazing! πŸ˜€

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  • 24/07/2017

    I think my first European trip was to Paris. I was ten and took part in a short exchange program (about a month). I remember the sites, but what stands out more was the people and my feelings. I can clearly remember, even now (it’s been a long time since 6th grade..) playing soccer in the small park outside my host family’s apartment. The park was unreasonably small and on a hill. We had to chase the ball a lot but soccer was the sport of choice. So many memories are floating back once I uncorked that bottle….

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    • 24/07/2017

      The same here. Those memories just keep popping up! Don’t you just love that about traveling. πŸ™‚

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  • 25/07/2017

    My first international trip was to Paris with my BFF, and like you, I am a journalist by trade. You’ve brought back so many fond memories. My BFF also gets a bit fed up with me wanting to take one more picture or stop in at one more location.

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  • authenticfoodquest

    25/07/2017

    Did not know about the hop-on-and-off train in the South of France. Great shots and it is so amazing to see the rich history through your shots! Looking forward to more!

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    • 25/07/2017

      The train is so practical, had so much fun. Thank you, so glad you enjoy the series. πŸ™‚

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  • 25/07/2017

    What a beautiful post! My very first trip across the pond was to France! I even still had a film camera! (Which is crazy because it wasn’t THAT long ago; my times have changed). I was opposite of you. I didn’t take enough photos because I was afraid of using up my precious film. πŸ˜‰

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    • 26/07/2017

      Amazing how limited we actually were by those films, one way or another, even though most of the photos turned out to be great. Thank you, Paige! πŸ™‚

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  • 26/07/2017

    What a lovely reminiscence from the yester years. You have written about Paris like no other post that I have read in recent years. Going around the fashion capital searching for the artist’s homes sounds so romantic. Are all these pictures from your trip back then? I ask because they really look vintage.

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    • 26/07/2017

      Oh, thank you, so kind of you to say that you haven’t seen similar post recently! πŸ™‚ Yes, those are all my photos from that first trip to France I’m writing about. They were actually the reason I’ve marked the whole journey as a vintage one. πŸ˜€

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