If you had told me in 2009, just as I finished grad school, that I would partner with a friend and launch a small business, I would have laughed incredulously. As you've likely gathered, French administration is no easy web to navigate and even less so when it involves starting your own business. The Auto-Entrepreneur regime has eased the attendant costs and stresses but a fearless attitude is still required to dodge the inevitable curveball. Could I have pursued the project mere months after moving to Paris? Pas du tout.
Lindsey Kent saw opportunity and transformation in her transatlantic move. New city, new chapter, new project, she reasoned. And with only a few French classes behind her, she set off to make a longtime passion the focus of her new business. Photographing travelers and locals all over Paris with her year-old business Pictours Paris has allowed her to discover her adopted city and accelerate the process of settling in. Her other secrets to feeling at home? Find out below....
Describe what you love about France in three words?
Photo opportunities everywhere.
Best and quickest way to get acclimated to life in France?
When we arrived in Paris, my husband went to work in a kitchen right away. So while he cooked days and nights, I had no choice but to get “acclimated.” However, at first I think I approached life in France as a tourist rather than a resident. I spent the first few weeks exploring with my camera, going to museums, eating at touristy spots, and shopping at specialty shops. At the rate we were going through savings, I had to hit the brakes and figure out life in Paris as a local. So I enrolled in French classes, got to know my neighborhood, shopped for fresh food daily, and cooked at home. Making connections with other English speaking expats helped me feel at home and fill that language barrier void that even today I still struggle with in speaking with the French.
So maybe I didn’t do things in the easiest and quickest ways possible, but I can say now that I’ve acclimated to the best of my abilities and life in Paris is great.
Favorite place to shoot for personal projects and professional portraits?
Palais Royal. Couples look picture-perfect kissing underneath the canopy of trees in the gardens or alongside the beautiful covered archways and stone columns. Galerie Vivienne and Véro-Dodat are also favorite places to take photographs in if you can find a quiet time. The cobblestone streets lined with bicycles are also fun for photographs and often lead me over to Verjus for a glass of wine and to say hi to my husband who now cooks there.
What living in Paris has taught you about yourself?
Paris gave me the courage to pursue my dreams and start a business. If we were still living in Denver, I’d still be at the same job and doing the same thing on a weekly basis. Life was easy and content, so there wasn’t much of a reason to change anything. But moving abroad came with so many personal and professional challenges, so I decided to turn those fears into opportunities that I could only create by my own doing. It’s been an amazing journey of self-discovery, and I have Paris – and my husband – to thank.
Most amusing or frustrating interaction with the French?It was a frustrating experience turned amusing in the end. One night last month, two guys decided to jump onto the metro and steal my iPhone and the phone of the woman sitting next to me. My immediate instinct was to run after them! So I chased them all the way out to the street but they were just too fast and they got away. What was I going to do if I caught up to them anyway? Probably a stupid decision, but what was important is that I got a good look at the two guys. Through my “Franglish sherades” at the police station that night, the cops got a few good laughs in at the expense of my situation, but they also had a solid idea of who they were looking for. Two days later I was called back to watch the security tape and identify the suspects. I almost fell off my chair laughing as I saw myself ever so graciously hop off the train and give chase in high heels after two lousy thieves!
Thanks, Lindsey! If you're headed to Paris and would like to capture the moment (especially in the case of nuptials!), contact Lindsey for a photo session. Be sure to follow her updates on Twitter: @PictoursParis.