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Street Photography Locations In Paris

Paris is synonymous with street photography thanks to the photographer most associated with the genre, Henri Cartier-Bresson. It's also pretty easy to reach from the UK, even for a day trip, with direct flights from many regional airports and a fast regular train from London. I spent a day last summer looking for my own decisive moments in the city with a Canon 7 rangefinder for company.

I visited ten or more neighbourhoods in 45,000 steps and here are my top recommendations for neighbourhoods to visit:

Bir-Hakeim Bridge

I must have spent an hour shooting two rolls of film in this spot alone. It's a dream for photographers - a busy spot with interesting people (locals and tourists) passing under a stunningly architected bridge, that enjoys a background of the River Seine, Eiffel Tower, and dozens of Paris' famous sights.

Under Bir-Hakeim Bridge

Because some of the best spots are under the metro bridge, it's easy to reach from anywhere in the city, as you're just trying to get to Passy station. The repeating bridge towers are a good graphic feature that you can use in your shots. The day I visited was quite overcast with flat lighting so I concentrated on the people watching but I think it would be an interesting place to visit on sunny days during the months that we get long shadows. Bring your widest lens. Also the day I visited there were several wedding parties grabbing staged images.

Montmartre / Rue Des Abbesses / Sacre Coeur

You will either love the opportunity to shoot at Sacre Coeur or hate it, likely depending on the amount of tourists that you encouter on the day. If you are lucky, then in Montmartre and down the main road through the neighbourhood, Rue des Abbesses, there will be a small town, café atmosphere (stop for lunch!), and the opportunity to shoot some people against a city-wide vista of rooftops and iconic sights given it's an area at the top of a hill. If there's nothing happening, wander down the hill slightly to Pigalle (which is also the nearest Metro station), where you are sure to see some interesting sights.

The church of Sacré-Cœur is in this neighbourhood - it might be too busy with tourists to enjoy but this is at the top of the hill so worth looking to see there are any opportunities for pictures taking in the whole city.

Hotel de Ville / Renard

A single spot that allows you to do a lot of differnet kinds of street photography. First the architecture of the city hall (Hotel de Ville), with most of the building's facade dating from the 16th Century Renaissance period. This building is lit at night time so should provide a place to shoot whatever the time. You can then walk East towards the Louvre Palace to take in the very Parisian coffee terraces and archways. You could instead try to grab more modern street photographs if you head to the bustling crossroads of Rue de Rivoli and Rue de Renard and head a block or two in any direction. Concorde is the nearest metro station.

Here are some images from my day trip to Paris :