I was in Paris earlier this year for a friend’s wedding. My schedule was packed, but I kept one full weekend free for touristing around one of my favorite European cities. Naturally, I wanted to use this opportunity to get an amazing picture of the Eiffel Tower. Here was the dilemma though — How do I capture one of the world’s most photographed monuments in a way that’s different from what everyone else is doing?
Well, here’s a stock photo of the tower taken from the Champs de Mars. If I had a penny for every time I’ve seen a photo taken from here, I’d be happily retired by now.
Clearly, this wasn’t an option. Alright, how about the other side then? The Statue Equestre du Maréchal Foch sits right across the River Seine and has a great view of the tower at sunrise. Turns out, I had already attempted this on my last trip to Paris in 2011. Behold, 24-year old Sameer:
Sadly, this vista point is too popular and I wasn’t the only one taking photos of the tower from here. I could do better than this. I spent a couple of hours sipping coffee at a little cafe by my Airbnb pondering on a good solution to my conundrum. Suddenly, I had a moment of inspiration. I recalled having seen some photo of the tower taken from a little side street. The details were a bit fuzzy in my head but I could remember that the street had some cars parked on it. Naturally, I opened Google and typed in “Eiffel Tower side street view”. I landed on this image on TripAdvisor.
Ok, there was some potential here, but how do I find this street? Judging by the height of the tower here, it looked like this could not be more than 2-3 blocks away from it. I hopped over to Google Maps on my phone and studied the location of the tower.
Interestingly, there aren’t that many streets close to the tower that would allow cars to be parked. I saw only two possibilities – one towards the South West of the tower, and one towards the North East. It was time to check this out in person. Camera in hand, I hopped on to a train and made my over. I walked around the tower, and towards the South West, on to Rue de Buenos Ayres. There was nobody else on this tiny, cobbled street besides a few cute, small cars. The tower was right in front of me, rising up into the sunshine. This was it – I could feel it. I took out my camera and walked up-and-down the street trying different angles and perspectives. Finally, I had the perfect shot, except that I wanted to be in it myself.
Luckily a couple walked by so I pulled them over and asked if they would be kind enough to indulge my demands for the perfect shot. They were tourists themselves, and naturally understood my desire to photograph this iconic monument. The gentleman took my camera and sat down on the corner of the street as instructed. He held the camera an inch off the ground, pointing up and diagonally across the street. And here it is. The result of all this work.