In April I was (very) privileged to go on my first press trip… to Paris! The phone company Huawei were launching their new series and invited journalists from all over the world to attend. The magazine I work for were given an invitation and they asked if I’d be interested in attending (yes yes and yes was my answer).
The trip followed a scheduled itinerary but I worked around any free time we had so I could take of take advantage of what Paris had to offer. I’ve been to the capital once before and got to do all the sightseeing back then, so for this trip I was happy to walk the streets and enjoy the atmosphere of the city. On both days I got up as early as I could manage (ie. 7am), enjoyed the hotel breakfast buffet (a crime if I didn’t) and then set out exploring.
I did some quick research to see if there was any nice coffee shops nearby and found one that caught my eye, that was a fifteen minute walk away called KB Cáfe. It was the perfect little spot to read my book and soak up the French being spoken around me.
A quick look at my Google Map also showed me that I was within walking distance of Montmartre. On my last visit to Paris six years ago this area was a highlight for me, especially because of the Sacré-Cœur Cathedral that sits on top of the hill that gives the area it’s name.
The monument is simply magnificent and a dominating presence looking down on you. Similar to the first time I was there, my breath was taken away when I saw it again.
A word of warning, scam artists are notorious in this area. The set of steps that lead you to the top of the hill are usually surrounded by pairs of men who have fabric bracelets. They’ll try to engage with you so they can tie the bracelets around your wrist, if they manage to do that then you’re stuck with them until you give them money.
On a lighter note, the top of the hill is the highest point of the city, so don’t let all the steps put you off from climbing because the view is far from disappointing. Reaching the top and looking at the view of Paris made me nostalgic for the last time I was there and made me reflect on all the things I’ve done since then.
The rest of the day with the press group involved attending the launch conference, a lovely dinner in a fancy French restaurant and finally a night time photography tour around Paris to all the major landmarks to test out the camera on the new phone.
The next morning myself and a few girls that I made friends with from the group, went on a hunt for some baked goods. We walked to the famous pastry café Angelina located at Rue de Rivoli and treated ourselves to some artisan cakes. We then ate them by the foundation in the Jardin des Tuileries which was across the way (yes, as picturesque at it sounds).
Afterwards we headed back to the hotel and and then on wards to the airport. And just like that it was all over. The whole trip was surreal and left me feeling briefly disjointed. Not just because I landed back in Dublin and headed for lunch with my friend, before (attempting) to continue on with my dissertation that I was still writing at the time.
But looking back over the previous thirty-eight hours I found it mad the amount of money that was spent to celebrate a launch of a new phone. From flights, meals, hotels, bus transfers and so on, I was looking at the perspective of what other things this money could have been spent on. The trip was incredible and I’m so grateful I got to go and experience this side of the world of media, but it also made me think more deeply on what type of journalist I want to be and what kind of stories and values I think are worthwhile focusing on.
Anyway, that was my 38 hours in Paris. Have you ever been to Paris, any place you would recommend checking out if I ever visit in the future?