Can I learn to love Paris in the Springtime – PARIS

A study by
Paula Goldstein Di Principe

NAME:Paula Goldstein Di Principe
SPECIALISM:Fashion / Travel
MATERIALS:X 8 Objects / X 1 Postcard / X 10 Photographs

Overview of Voyage D'etudes

A director of and Founder of Voyage D’etudes Paula started her career in publishing at British magazine Dazed and Confused aged 20. This became an all consuming passion for the world of magazines. Having found herself starting at the time when the publishing world was moving online she naturally created a niche in working with digital editorial and creative projects for new media. On leaving Dazed, Paula explored her love for storytelling through POST, the first fashion magazine exclusively for the iPad, which lead her to her current role working with Olivier Zahm for France’s Purple Magazine to set up it’s online platform.

When I first thinking about the idea of a study trip and making a scrapbook, I had all sorts of exotic ideas for my first submission. However as I talked about the world and other peoples adventures I kept being drawn back to the same ridiculous story, a thought that one that I can only utter in hushed tones to close friends, the tale of how I don’t really love Paris.

I know it’s like saying that I don’t really like small fuzzy animals, perhaps there is something slightly unhinged about my personality. Whatever it is I have decided to take this opportunity to document and understand my phobia of the worlds most romantic city and see if there are steps I can take to cure myself. I go to Paris once or twice a month normally, due to working for a French magazine and its just generally an occupational hazard of having a career in fashion. So I have been able to undertake a rather rigorous study programme involving many many expressos, cigarettes and croque monsieurs.

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My top tip is to sign up to the rather wonderful G7 car service – Caroline Gaimari mother of all things Purple Magazine gets me one when I arrive and it is rather wonderful. Or download Uber as an option for out of towners. Apparently both are a little more expensive but who frickin’ cares if a taxi actually arrives

1. The Taxi Parisien

It sounds exotic doesn’t it? Much more glamorous than the cosy London Cab I know so well, however this mode of transport is an aloof and temperamental beast.

I’m not sure even after many years working in Paris exactly how one can hail them. I have tried looking nonchalant and chic posing as a local girl, I have also gone for desperately waving tourist and more of a lady of the night look all to no avail – perhaps there is a special hand signal rather like the stone masons have? perhaps you have to be a stone mason to hail one? All I know is I have spent many nights trudging along in what were nice shoes and finding normally that I’m walking the wrong way around the arrondissement snail. So this is one of the reasons I’m yet to love Paris in the spring time.

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Portrait of me at Hotel Therese by Rachel Louise Brown on a different less lonely night in Paris but it seemed an apt illustration of my morose door seeking point.

2. The Night of 20 Red Doors

This might not be something that is a general Paris problem but it happened to me and means I can never stay alone in an apartment in Paris again. In my youthful exuberance whilst still working at Dazed and Confused I leapt upon any visit to fashion weeks, boldly securing accommodation through strange websites in areas of the city I had never previously heard of. On one such occasion during mens fashion week I found myself staying in an apartment in an area which to this day I still have no idea where it was. Collecting the keys I flung my things into the room and swiftly set out for a glamorous night. Many frozen hours after trying to leave a party I found a taxi (finally) and returned to the building only to find that the place I was staying had 20 red doors and not one with a number on it…I tried my key in every door until a woman found me sobbing clutching keys when she was getting her milk. I definitely a moment when I did not particularly love Paris in the spring time.

4. Kiss Kiss Mademoiselle

Parisian men have a natural ease with romance and I adore the dark sensual mystery of the city, its one of the heady reasons I might learn to love it, however I have been approached with kiss kiss, fuck? as a greeting more than once – maybe its a thing? And been witness to a normally passive friend throwing his first punch defending his wives honour in a Paris night club. Is literally loving Paris in the springtime truly an experience that every woman should have?

5. We almost missed Christmas 

Paris is very close to London yet when the little tunnel in the middle goes down you could be on the other side of the world. A few years ago in a very wintery December the Eurostar got STUCK whilst I was on the wrong side. As airports and ferries shut down too it seemed I was going to have a very quiet holiday season with my Associate Publisher in the French capital as we toured a relentless slew of hotels all inspired by the shining, never reserving a room for more than a night in the hope that tomorrow would be home time. As much as I was horrified at the prospect of a Christmas in Paris even with the kind offer from our boss to spend it at the Ritz, I actually started to come to terms with the city a little enjoying going for dinners and finding that my panic bought wardrobe of black jersey items from H&M and fur coat held up in the chicest locations. I also met the Purple team during this forced banishment so maybe this was the start of a thaw in my feelings perhaps come warmer days I would love Paris in the springtime.

7. Paris has taught me a lot about Sadness and Buildings

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Is it true love? Maybe not quite yet I think Paris and I still have few trust issues. However I cannot deny a hazy summers evening in Paris with a glass of red wine and franco friends really are one of life’s undeniable pleasures, I think my future with Paris will depend on a thicker skin, pre trip organisation and an uber taxi app.

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