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My husband and I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel abroad during our marriage — making time to travel is a priority we’ve set for our relationship and we’ve been lucky enough to see it though.  We’ve planned vacations to some amazing international locations, but we both wanted our first trip to the iconic, artistic, romantic city of Paris, France to be reserved for something special.  Well, our five-year wedding anniversary is coming up and we’re going to spend this special milestone in The City of Love!

Just as I did for our trip to Hawaii earlier this year, I reached out to a girlfriend who’s visited Paris & hit her up for recommendations.  Stefani is a great friend from our time in Kansas City…we had just jumped from the far west ‘burbs on the Kansas-side and moved to the center of the action on the Country Club Plaza.  She and I were introduced via our old neighbor and we all became instant buds.  Many of my classic KCMO lifestyle memories involve Stefani:  glasses of wine at Coal Vines, workouts at Woodside, and grillin’ out/house parties at the neighbor’s.  She’s great motivation in spin class, the perfect going-out gal pal (dishing EXCELLENT convo over antipasti), quite the fashionista, and talented photographer.

Instead of simply telling me where to go and what to do, I thought it would be fitting to ask her to share some of her favorite snapshots she’s captured in the City of Light.  Her Paris photo album is just grand — I thought it would be interesting for her to explain why the chosen subject stopped her & commanded a photograph, providing a thought or two on those moments captured in time.  Paris in Pictures, if you will…

I was initially was drawn to her perfect postcard-type pics but she opted for a somewhat different approach, “I wanted to add the photos that I really had comments about and that are representative of the ‘real Paris’ versus the Paris everyone thinks it is without going there.  It truly is a lovely city.”

–She’s so right:  like most people who’ve only seen Paris in the movies, I have this overly romantic connotation of Paris and I don’t think it’ll let me down, btw.  But, it’s important to portray the less-literal side of the city’s beauty.  She’s managed to capture the classic can’t-miss landmarks from the eye of an anthropologist, rather than a tourist.  There is also an obvious artistic spin to her photographs –found in the color effect, angle, perspective, etc.– that serves to breathe life back into that classic romantic symbolism we typically associate with such a place as Paris.  To me, some of her shots speak to ‘beauty hidden in plain sight’ and the idea of something of value being right in front of your eyes, yet goes unnoticed to those not searching for it.  –Reminds me of a quote by The New York Times illustrious fashion photographer, Bill Cunningham, who said:  “He who seeks beauty will find it.”

“LOVE this photo!  We all love the La Tour Eiffel right?  There is nothing better than walking the streets of Paris and turning a corner to see its beauty.  That is exactly what I wanted to capture and remember, is that feeling of AWE when she pops into view.”

“I had to take this for the cliche’ feel of Paris.  This sits on the Champs-Elysees, which makes it all the better.  I love the random bows hanging above the sign from the balcony.”

“The view from Sacre-Coeur Basilica, and what a view it is!  I am a sucker for a good city view and this is by far the best, especially on an overcast day.  It gives you the true feel of Paris.”

“My favorite “artistic picture”.  These are stones in the courtyard of the Louvre.  It captures the feel of the true art throughout THE Museum of all museums.”

“What an amazing picture to show the gothic nature of Notre Dame!  The man in the bottom of the picture makes the picture, I think.”

“Paris in the morning before the bistros are open.  I loved the feel of nothing going on at those tables that will be full of life in an hour.”

“The hustle and bustle of the streets of Paris.  This makes me feel like I am walking down the street as I look at it every time!”

“My favorite picture I have taken.  This was taken after an unexpected shower, while we were having dinner at a bistro in St. Germain.  The color is absolutely stunning! St. Germain is my all time favorite area of Paris, I am staying there next week. I have sold this picture a couple of times.”

“This picture says so much.  Many cities in Europe have this “bridge of love”. Just think of all of the stories behind every padlock a couple put on that bridge!  Priceless!”

“The roads of Paris that seem to have no end, priceless picture.  I took this on a cloudy day from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.”

“I love stained glass windows!  Especially from inside the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Stained glass tells so many stories.  For an artistic effect, I liked one window in black and white.”

“I take pictures of signs like this, in every city I visit.  You can’t go wrong regardless of the direction you go!”

“Classic view of the Eiffel Tower from the Seine.  This was my first ever view of her beauty!”