Bonjour From A Parisian Rooftop Terrace

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Paris rooftop terrace with the Eiffel Tower view. Fashion portrait by Australian photographer Kent Johnson for White Caviar Life.

It was our first morning after travelling back from Lyon. We had a view of the Eiffel Tower and an array of those iconic charcoal-grey roofs and red chimney pots. ‘You can’t get more Parisian than this!’ I said to Kent while soaking up some Parisian sun on our lovely hotel room’s outdoor terrace.

‘Do you know, out of my eight visits to the City of Light and all the Parisian places I’ve stayed.. this is my first with a rooftop balcony.’ After showing off to Kent during our first week by telling him ‘I did this’ ‘I went there’ all over Paris; it was simply a little confession to him that this was something I had not previously done. ‘I still remember the first homestay family I lived with as a language student back in 2002…’ ‘No balcony there?’ ‘No balcony, but it was in a classically elegant 19th-century Haussmann style apartment block. Warmly decorated by Madame and Monsieur Couturier.’ Oh yes I still remember it even after all these years.

Paris rooftop terrace with the Eiffel Tower view. Fashion portrait by Australian photographer Kent Johnson for White Caviar Life.

So here I am checking out the view and rabbiting on a bit in excitement. Our room service breakfast was 20 minutes away, so while Kent went back to the laptop with his camera, I stayed out on the terrace air drying my hair.

Paris rooftop terrace with the Eiffel Tower view. Fashion portrait by Australian photographer Kent Johnson for White Caviar Life.

My memories took me back to the student I once was living on Ledru-Rollin Avenue, right next to Gare de Lyon. Three months in Paris, and when French courses finished at mid-afternoon, we – all the overseas students including myself – had plenty of time on our hands to discover her – Paris, and that’s the best part of being a student here. From popular must-see must-dos such as getting to the top of the Eiffel Tower, queuing to see Mona Lisa at the Louvre; enjoying the views of la Seine from Notre Dame’s towers, to lighting candles at Sacré-Cœur. To less touristy activities like spending an afternoon at Napoleon and Josephine’s residence Château de Malmaison. Visiting the National Archaeology Museum in Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, sipping mint tea while indulging in delicious Turkish delights at the Grand Mosque of Paris, the list just goes on and on.

Paris rooftop terrace with the Eiffel Tower view. Fashion portrait by Australian photographer Kent Johnson for White Caviar Life.

There were very few things left for me to achieve since my very first stay. Three epic months and they appeared to stretch out like eternity. The adoration I’ve had for the capital of France is tremendous and that led me to another seven trips back. A clairvoyant in the Blue Mountains once told me that I was a Parisian in a very recent past life.. I think that comes closest to explaining my enormous love of the city. And in a way Judy’s words seemed to answer, at the same time unravelling and solving this passion for Île de la Cité inside me. As the years have gone by I have finally accepted that in this lifetime, Paris and I would spend more time apart than together; so I’ve learnt to be grateful and to settle for being a humble tourist.

Paris rooftop terrace with the Eiffel Tower view. Fashion portrait by Australian photographer Kent Johnson for White Caviar Life.

When our room service arrived.. ‘Bonjour~ Laissez-moi vous aider.’ I offered my help to carry the breakfast tray and of course, a chance to brush-up my French. Kent too offered up a bonjour as he does now with locals quite naturally. He had a quick sip of the coffee and was already getting the camera ready. Yes we were about to do a Parisian terrace shoot with a full tray of breakfast delights. A cliché? Totally. Well why not, when in Paris and all of that! And our room service was complementary (there’s a reason for it, I will explain in my next post). So here we were, definitely making the most of this glorious sunny morning and the magnificent rooftop view.

Paris rooftop terrace with the Eiffel Tower view. Fashion portrait by Australian photographer Kent Johnson for White Caviar Life.

So, staying in a charming Parisian loft room with a terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower… Would this be an enriching completion to my Paris sojourns? What else do I recall from that sun-filled matin? Kent and I had fun during this shoot and enjoyed the breakfast on our balcony too. An exotic start for our day, though after three weeks on the road we spent the afternoon doing laundry in a nearby laundrette. As for me, I felt relaxed by knowing anything beyond my old experience here is a bonus. I felt so refreshed that I could see Paris from a different angle and fall in love with her all over again…

Photography / Kent Johnson
Styling / Vivienne Shui

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