Franco File Friday: Winston Alford-Hamburg

Winston, a fellow Philadelphia native, and I have known each other for a few years but really only became close over the last nine months while he's been living in Paris. He studies architecture at NYU, sports a sophisticated culinary palette and takes photos like a pro, all at 19 years old. I have introduced him to some of my favorite restaurants in Paris and he reciprocates by compiling a list of restaurants he insists I try on my next trip back to Philadelphia. I'm a tourist in my own hometown, it would seem.

Sadly, my faithful restaurant buddy and photo-partner will be leaving Paris in May, swapping croissants and and Vélib for the city of fluffy donuts and accessible yellow taxis. I know he'll be back in Paris eventually and I will continue to be inspired by his talent and virtuosity. I doubt it will be much longer before we all see his name attached to internationally recognizable architecture or photography; keep an eye out on him! For now, some of his thoughts about his current home.

Describe what you love most about France in three words. 
The nutty French. 

Most inspiring neighborhood to photograph?
Wherever my life takes me! The places I've lived -  the 11th and 15th arrondissements - work really well for photos. 

Battle of the foodie towns: Philly vs. Paris. Which gets your vote and why? 

Paris is peerless in the quality and creativity of their food. There's really no denying that. However, to eat well in Paris costs a lot of money and most people aren't willing to dish out that kind of cash regularly.  A meal at a mediocre, plain-vanilla café in Paris - well, it's just horrendous.

Philadelphia, on the other hand, has a vibrant, affordable restaurant scene. Apart from the art, the city's best selling point is its food. Unlike the undistinguishable cafés of Paris, no two restaurants have the same menu in Philadelphia, as in all American cities. Don't get me wrong, I don't wish to suggest that the average Philadelphian eats healthier than the average Parisian, nor am I saying that one can't eat well in Paris on a budget by not eating out - Paris' fresh grocery markets are stupendous and economical. What I'm saying is that it's totally realistic to have a luxurious, gastronomical life in Philly on my budget - a student budget- and in Paris it's just not.

Upon moving back to the States in May, what is the one thing you won't leave France without?
Speculoos cookies!

Favorite French film and/or book? 
'2 Days in Paris'!

{Evidently, I've rubbed off on him - one of my favorite films as well!}

For a more complete collection of Winston's photos, take a look at his blog Le Kaléidoscope. For Philly tips, check out his other site, La Ville de l'Amour Fraternel (the City of Brotherly Love).

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