I meet Paris in Four Months blogger, Carin Olsson, for lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant near Opéra called Entre Deux Rives. Carin, who is from Sweden, is ebullient, with a wide smile and beautiful long blond hair that seem to jar with the foul January sub-zero rainfall and the typically dower French clientele that crowd the restaurant. She is excited she tells me because, ‘I have never tried Vietnamese before. We don’t have restaurants like these in Stockholm - at least very few. That’s what I love about Paris. There’s so much choice’.
Carin has lived in Paris for only four months, hence the title of her blog. Yet in this short amount of time, she has managed to generate a loyal following, no small thanks to her luminous, mouth-watering photographs of Paris. She explains how the blog came about. ‘I set up the blog when I moved to Paris so that I had a reason to practice my photography and also to show the folks back home what I was up to’. The experience came with unexpected surprises, however; the local humour wasn’t always to her taste.
‘I was taking photos of flower stands at the market on Ile-de-la-Cité and a group of old men came up to me to tell me that the Eiffel Tower was further down the river. They all thought this was a hilarious thing to say! In Paris when you have a camera, you are often typecast as a tourist, which is a shame because the city is so beautiful, why wouldn’t a Parisian want to take his camera out? What I love to photograph are the details, I did a series on Parisian doorways recently and put it up on the blog and people loved it. Parisians just roll their eyes when I show them something like that.’
After four months were up, Carin went back home to Sweden, but the memory of Paris had her pining for more. After stints working for Elle magazine in Sweden, she now works as a freelancer in Paris. She also mentions that she will be working at the showroom of designer Diane Von Fürstenberg during fashion week. Speaking of fashion week, I ask her about her experience taking photographs for her blog outside the shows?
‘I didn’t expect the madness. It was as though someone famous like Lady Gaga was there. It was just totally overwhelming. Since the explosion of online blogging and street-style photography these events attract a huge crowd of photographers. Often they are only 15 years old. If you arrive at the right time you will see all the big fashion journalists and stars. People like Grace Coddington (the famous Vogue stylist), or Garance Doré, Tommy Ton, and Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist. The first day I just stood by and gasped. I guess an event like this could be incomprehensible for anyone who has no interest in fashion. The only equivalent I can think of would be football - just in terms of the interest it attracts.’
When she’s not working hard, documenting the city in all its splendour, she loves to dine out in Paris. ‘There’s a whole street in the 7th arrondissement with restaurants that I love. Café Constant, Le Violin d’Ingres, and Les Cocottes, are places I return to all the time. However, if you want to find the places that attract the fashion crowd, Ralph’s, is a restaurant owned by Ralph Lauren that might be worth a visit. I remember I photographed the stylist Rachel Zoe at Hôtel Costes. I suppose that’s a real destination for the fashion set also.
A few of Carin's Haunts
Entre 2 Rives , 1 Rue Hanovre, Paris 75002
Café Constant , 139 Rue Saint-Dominique, Paris 75007
Le Violin d’Ingres, 135 Rue Saint-Dominique, Paris 75007
Les Cocottes, 135 Rue Saint-Dominique, Paris 75007
Hôtel Costes, 239 Rue Saint-Honoré, Paris 75001
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