Paris is a world famous city, among the top of every traveller's bucket list. With so many 'must-do' experiences, you can find yourself endlessly shuffling through travelling hordes, craning your neck for a better view over smart phones and iPads.
To make sure I left the city satisfied, I enlisted the help of my Parisian friend Tanguy (pronounced 'Tong-gee'), who navigated me through an exciting mix of historic attractions, stunning views and that laid-back European lifestyle.
I was treated to a perfect start in Paris, visiting Tanguy's grandparents' apartment in the famously posh 16th District. I had to call upon my high-school French while we enjoyed a whisky and listened to old stories. The apartment was a living museum - effortlessly beautiful while retaining its historic French charm.
The tour wasn't limited to inside the apartment, as we climbed up to the rooftop and watched the sun go down and the Eiffel Tower light up. The faintest signs of twilight formed a backdrop for the tower's spectacular light show that ran at the top of every hour.
Paris was packed with locals out walking their pooches, but I didn't see many as big as Grim, Tanguy's furry 90-kilogram Leonberger! Grim joined us for a lovely morning walk through the green parks of Boulogne-Billancourt.
One of the best views of Paris was from the Arc de Triomphe, where I was high enough to see most of the city while still feeling a sense of scale for nearby neighbourhoods. This photo shows off the unique orange clay chimney-pots that stand out from Paris' sprawling pastel and navy rooftop landscape.
The endless pursuit of good light for photography is a curse and a blessing while traveling. Waiting those extra couple of hours on the Arc for twilight was tiresome but oh so worth it! The deep blue twilight framed warm street lamps and evening traffic on the busiest street in the city, the Champs-Elysees.
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In between moments chasing photogenic scenery, we found ourselves eating and drinking out on the pavement at Paris' numerous restaurants and cafes. I made sure to try the local specialties - warm cheesy French Onion soup was a reliable hit, while garlic snails appealed to my more adventurous side.
I usually shoot landscape-framed images, but just had to turn my camera sideways to fit in the beauty of the Notre Dame's intricate front facade. Tourists and locals gathered for a glimpse of the world-famous cathedral in the warm afternoon light.
The lines for the Notre Dame were much shorter later in the day, so we didn't have to wait long to get inside and tour its cavernous, jaw-dropping interior. An open-armed statue of the Virgin Mary overlooked the main altar, backlit by spotlights and endless rows of prayer candles lit by worshippers from all over the world.
With glimpses of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame behind us, our last stop was a day trip out of town to the Palace of Versailles. Be sure to get a full access ticket - the immense grounds and its many gardens were every bit as impressive as the palace itself.
With tired legs and weary eyes from a full afternoon's exploring through the gardens, we made it through the palace, dodging eager tourists for views of magnificent rooms like this one that belonged to Marie Antoinette herself in the late 1700s.
Thank you Tanguy, and thank you Paris for a magnificent mixed travel experience with so much photography and enjoyment. I'll see you again!