Oh, how I love having a patisserie and a bakery run by actual French people across the street and down the road. Yes, the bread is to die for, and yes the chocolate croissants are better than any other I’ve tasted before, but for me what I love about these 2 little places are the way they make me feel.
I stand at the counter, eyeing all the beauty behind the glass, pondering which delight to choose, and patiently wait for my turn. I wait for one little thing. One little thing that transports me instantly. “What would you like?” she says in a romantic, oh so Frenchie accent. For in that moment, the sweet French lady carries me to a patisserie in Paris or a boulangerie in Bordeaux. I can pretend for just that moment that I am steps away from the Sacré Cœur and going to head down the hill with my baguette for lunch. Stepping into these places give me so much more than bread and pastries. They give me hope that I will one day get to visit this town that I have loved from afar for so long.
I wrote a little about our village lifestyle on my guest post on sfgirlbybay last week because I just adore having these special places to call my local haunts. But mostly I love living a little bit of Paris if only for a minute.
Whilst sitting in a cafe last weekend, an older man in an adjacent booth, called out to me to inquire about my camera. He wanted to know if it was a manual Nikon as he had suspected. “No, it’s a Yashica.”, I replied, “My Nikon is at home.” He then launched into a conversation about old film cameras and we speculated over my camera’s age. I realised that I actually didn’t know how old my camera was (which made me feel silly) but he assured me that it must have been from the ’70s. I had thought it was more likely a later model from the ’80s. He seemed quite delighted that I was using something he remembered from his past. Conversation about cameras continued on with my new friend until my lunch arrived and he proclaimed, “Yes, I told my wife that that lady really knows her photography. She is using film.”
That sweet man was not the first to strike up conversation about my cameras. I have been stopped many times by strangers and never have they posed me questions of why. They’ve all greeted me with smiles and discussions of once owning similar cameras. Most of them walk away with a happy memory in their head. Experiencing these little interactions with strangers is just another reason why being a film camera user is so heart warming. Have you ever had these kinds of conversations with strangers?
p.s. I’ve since learned that my Yashica is from the mid 1980s.
We have not yet met, but I know that once we do, our hearts will be joined forever. I’ve heard you’re very beautiful and full of that magic light that I chase. I dream of sitting in your cafes watching the world go by and walking your hilly, Montmartre streets with camera in hand. I think we could be good friends. Shall I come over some time?
Love Amanda xx
p.s. I hope I can take some Polaroids in a one of your cafes. This one is one of your Australian cousins sharing your Frenchiness with the people of Sydney.
Sydney beaches are white sand, blue waters, surfing and sun light sparkling like crystals across the ocean. We are extremely blessed to have this as our playground and the more that I am away from home, the more I realise how lucky we really are. The cliché is true.
The little sis and I spent days watching the sea and listening to the soft, crash of the waves. She and I share an adoring love of the ocean and the lifestyle that goes with it. With her olive skin and tousled locks, she fits the bill more than I do. I, on the other hand, have the fair, freckle fabulous Irish skin that runs deep in our family.
Of course, I felt it would be too clichéd to show you pictures of surfers and white sands. You can faintly make out the beach line in the black and white shot of Kelly…if you squint. These are a little taste of our beach neighbourhoods from behind the scenes.
p.s. That was a bloody good cappuccino and if you squint for a second time, you’ll see the Frankie Photo Album book in the middle of that bookshelf. I found our book in one of my favourite book stores, Berkelouw.
All photographs were shot with a Yashica FX3 camera. The first 2 shots were taken with Kodak Portra 400NC film and the remainder with Natura 1600 film from Japan.
In my returning to Sydney discoveries, I’m loving:
What are you loving at the moment?
Being naughty on the weekend doesn’t count, right?
What sins did you consume on the weekend?
p.s. I finally experienced what is now my new favourite store in Vancouver this weekend. Vancouverites, can you guess what it is? Photographs that I sneaked in and a post will be here later in the week.
I shall pronounce it here, loud and clear,
You know that feeling of guilt you get when you are eating something bad in a food court or chomping on a caramel top ice cream at the movies? That little demon in your head telling you that you shouldn’t be putting that in your mouth and that people are looking at you and thinking, “that’s why you won’t be wearing a bikini this summer”? When I eat chocolate, I don’t feel that or hear that guy. That’s how powerful my love for chocolate is.
Leaving Sydney meant I had to say goodbye to my chocolate heaven, Max Brenner- Chocolate by the Bald Man. Since moving to Vancouver, we have been on the hunt for another chocolate place of worship and we may have found it.
Thomas Haas is a legend here in Vancouver and a master pastry chef around the world. After many failed attempts, we finally got to steal a table at the very popular cafe on Broadway. The Canadian and I sampled hot chocolates and gorgeous chocolate sacher sponge and manjari cakes while our friends had drinks called London Fogs. Doesn’t a London Fog sound intriguingly delicious?
As always, I love shooting in cafes and any place that serves coffee and dessert, so I made sure that I took a few shots. After I took the last photograph above, I was informed that the man behind the counter making the coffees was Thomas Haas himself. I was so impressed by the fact that a top pastry chef was making people’s coffees and talking to the customers. He didn’t seem to mind that I took his photograph either.
If you are in town for the Olympics I do recommend grabbing a hot chocolate and a croissant at Thomas Haas. We all deserve chocolate!
Photographs taken with Yashica Fx3 using Fuji Pro400H film.