View Full Version : Paris in the Spring...

Michael S
29-Jan-2008, 14:10
I was trying to see if this topic had already been covered, but I'm kinda new to this and was unable to. I will be in Paris (France, that is) and need to find out if anyone knows of a retail outlet which sells LF film there. Specifically I will need Tri-X in 4"x5" and 8"x10". I am also wondering if there will be any decent photography galleries to see while I am there, after all it is the birthplace of photography, there should be some good work showing, non?

Clement Apffel
6-Feb-2008, 00:51

you can of course find LF films over there,
here is an adress where you can find some :

37-39 rue Condorcet
75009 Paris

you can visit their (french) website to get further info.

Concerning the galleries and museums, their is a lot of things to see.

i will recommand the "Maison Européenne de la photographie" (MEP) (European House of photography)
website :

5-7 rue de Fourcy - 75004 Paris

I'm afraid you just missed a beautiful exhibition of Robert Adams in the Fondation Cartier :

261 boulevard Raspail


(i don't know what exhibits will follow)

An other nice museum is the Fondation Henry Cartier-Bresson :
you can visit their website here.

And if ever you have some time,
i recommand you the Musée départemental Albert Kahn

14 rue du Port
92100 Boulogne-Billancourt

that's just south-west from Paris, you can get there with the subway (line 10 i think)

and that museum has a huge collection of early twentiest century prints, color autochroms and so on.
and it is a beautifull place, with an amazing garden.

those are some exemples amongst the lots of galleries and museum showing photography in paris.
you can also search your own path on websites such as :

in english

about all the exhibits and art events in paris.

about galleries, that is to say places that sells photograhs. there are lots and lots of in paris.
i can recommand you one very famous :

the camera obscura,
268, boulevard Raspail 75014 Paris

i hope those advice will help you.



PS :
i almost forgot one of my favorite photographic museum in Paris.
and one of the major one.

called Le Jeu de Paume.

website here :


wich has 2 main exhibition sites :

the first one in the Jardin des Tuileries :

Jeu de Paume
1, place de la Concorde
75008 Paris

And the second one :

Hôtel de Sully
62, rue Saint-Antoine
75004 Paris


Emmanuel BIGLER
6-Feb-2008, 09:09
Other suppliers of sheet film in Paris

On Boulevard Beaumarchais near Bastille Square, within walking
distance (20 minutes) from Gare de Lyon train station
Within walking distance from Hotel de Sully (beware, this is an old mansion, not a hotel ;-)
You should have a look at Place des Vosges near Hotel de Sully !

Shops :
Lab distribution
22, Boulevard Beaumarchais
75011 Paris
phone 01 43 38 26 72

Another shop specialised in large format cameras, named Le Grand Format on the same boulevard does stock sheet film but I do not know for Tri-X.
Le Grand Format (shop)
54, Bd Beaumarchais
75011 PARIS
01 40 21 30 40

On Boulevard Beaumarchais you have several shops.
And close to it within walking distance, a gallery owned by the Bergger company


Espace Bergger
4, Rue Des Filles Du Calvaire
75003 Paris
Tuesday-Saturday 14h-19h30
phone 0609772980


Near Prophot rue Condorcet (this is close to Gare du Nord train station) you can also have a look at Jipé Labo but I thonk they have paper and lab supplies, no film (??)
9 rue Condorcet
75009 PARIS
Tél. :

Have a good time in Paris.

Nathan Potter
6-Feb-2008, 09:17
My son was in Paris a couple of years ago and tried to use his 4X5 on a tripod. He was acosted by the police who said it was illegal to photograph in Paris using a tripod. Anyone know about such restrictions or was this just a fluky encounter. He went on to do photography away from the city center without difficulty.

Nate Potter

Juergen Sattler
6-Feb-2008, 09:26
I believe Nathan is correct - I have heard this a couple of times as well - no tripods in downtown Paris without a permit. It sounds ridiculous (and it is)! Do we have any Parisiens here who could confirm or dismiss this rumour?

Emmanuel BIGLER
6-Feb-2008, 10:41
There is in principle no restriction in Paris to use a tripod on the public domain outside public parks & gardens.
However there are severe restrictions in any case on the commercial use of photos featuring old monuments managed by the ministry of Culture.
Privately owned buidings can command a high fee, for example for the Villa Savoye (by le Corbusier) the fee is as high as 275 euros (mentioned by Charles Twist in a discussion referenced below).

Public parks & gardens in Paris are actually regulated regarding the use of a tripod and believe me or not, you need a permit to set up a tripod inside Paris publics parks & gardens.
I do not want to comment here, but at least finding the exact regulations was not so easy !!

Outside public parks & gardens, in principle you may use a tripod but the situation is really unclear.
All French LF aficionadios who have succedded in taknig pictures in Paris with a tripod have done it outside Parks & Gardens, early in the morning, or because by chance they have set up their gear so fast that no policeman came, etc.. if you have to argue with a policeman or a security guard, forget it and leave the place.

So there is a subtle difference between inside parks & gardens and the public domain in general ; a difference about which it is extremely difficult to argue with policemen.

For those who can read French there is a long thread about this here
and at last after I have re-activated the discussion because the questio was raised again by a British gentleman on the UK LF forum who wants to go through the procedure (he is probably fluent in French) we now have the address to which applications for setting up a tripod in Parks & Gardens have to be sent.

Ministère de la Culture
01 49 26 07 59

Service Relation Presse
01 40 20 50 50

Contact :
Mme Sonia Fitoussi
01 40 20 68 85
sonia.fitoussi (atheu) louvre (pppp) fr (disguised e-mail address)

This concerns only Parks & Gardens in Paris. You have to make a contact by e-mail and thoroughly argue about what,when, non-commercial use, etc,etc...
No comment. I myself would not even try to start the procedure for my personal use !

One of the French forum members hopefullly will try to complete the application and report on what happens. Another photographer in this thread mentions that he already has applied once and never got any answer.
So we keeps fingers crossed and hopefully we'll get a report.. some day.

Now about the public domain outside parks & gardens, we need still to do some some homework, finding the proper document that suppresses the authorisation that was enforced everywhere ten yeras ago. In principle those restrictions have been waived for photography from the public domain outside parks & gardens.

6-Feb-2008, 15:38
I have an associated, non-LF question about film developing in Paris which I am hoping someone can answer.

I am teaching a 5 week course there in June, and wanted to get a sense before I went about how easy it is to get 35mm C-41 film developed there, and how much it costs. I was last in Paris 7 years ago, and have no memory from then or sense now about what kind of developing facilities there are (at the consumer level, whatever is most expedient), and what they charge for developing and printing.

Any ideas?

Greetings from Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca, where the heat makes me dream of something lighter than my Tech V!

Clement Apffel
6-Feb-2008, 23:54
My son was in Paris a couple of years ago and tried to use his 4X5 on a tripod. He was acosted by the police who said it was illegal to photograph in Paris using a tripod. Anyone know about such restrictions or was this just a fluky encounter. He went on to do photography away from the city center without difficulty.

Nate Potter


This is indeed a problem that every LF photographer encounters at least once a week while performing his work.

what is amazing, like Emmanuel said, is the fact that in the written law, there is no such restriction.
there is nothing that forbid the use of a tripod in the public area within Paris.
(exept parks & gardens, i didn't knew that)

If i remember well, the text says that the use of "bulky" devices and/or the use of a team over 8 people must have an authorization of the préfecture de police and of the town hall of Paris.

The definition of "bulky" is very unclear. But that text is for photography AND cinema. so i presume that a "bulky" device is like a truck with a crane or whatever a cinema team needs for their job. but not at all a single photographer with a little tripod.

I heard that some photographers simply went in that préfecture de police and asked a written version of that text.
and when some policemans come to them just like they did for your son, Nathan, they show them that text. and they finally agreed that the law doesn't forbid the use of a tripod anywhere in Paris.

As you see, the main problem is that most of the policemans in Paris does not know the text of law concerning photography.

This is right as long as you do not use the photographs for a commercial use.
because if you do, you need an authorization from the town hall for most of the building in Paris, and of course, like Emmanuel said, the authorization of the architect that designed the building if ever that building is under 75 years old. (not sure about that value of age though)
And they have the right to forbid the use of those photographs, but they do not have the right to forbid the pictures for beeing taken.
Here also, most people does not know the law.

So if you perform LF photographs for your own pleasure, then nobody (in theory) has the legal ability to forbid anything as long as you are within the public area in Paris.
i.e. in the streets mostly. by opposition (for example) of beeing within a public museum wich is the estate of the french state for example beeing in the Cour carrée of the Louvre Museum)

Maybe someone would have more sharp information about that text i'm talking about ?

i hope that it helps.


Emmanuel BIGLER
7-Feb-2008, 09:10
I think we got all we need .

News are, eventually GOOD.

For tripod photography in Paris on the public domain outside parks & gardens regulated by the Ministry of Culture (actually many Parks & Gardens belong to the Paris City so they are considered like the public domain) you needed in the past a "simplified authorisation" from the Préfecture de Police for making movies.

This is explained here.

In 2001, a photograher asked for this authorisation and received this letter
http://cjoint.com/?chscjXLLt0 in pdf, temporary link

as png images a more permanent link
3 pages of the letter from the Préfecture de Police de Paris dated March 15, 2001

This is a tripod authorization waiver.

page 1, the only one relevant for one man tripod photo, no authorisation required on the public domain

pp 2 and 3 for movies and video, irrelevant to the one-man-plus-tripod.
page 2 http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2142/2248251211_52c9fce67d_o_d.png
page 3 http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2102/2248251215_293b9d495d_o_d.png

The document,, and we hope that it is still valid, explains that if you use a single tripod and no movie team and equipemt, no authorisation is necessary for single tripod use and your rucksack.


Problems with the ministry of Culture : Paris is stuffed with historical monuments regulated by the ministry of Culture.
Everything else public is considered public domain.
For example the Tuileries and Louvre Palace gardens are regulated by the ministry of Culture so you need to apply to Mme Fitoussi at the ministry of culture as stated above.

Now : make a copy of this letter dated 2001, show it to the policemen and be sure that you do not obstruct anything and that you not somewhere under the authority of the Ministry of Culture.

Good luck !!

Emmanuel BIGLER
7-Feb-2008, 10:49
I have an associated, non-LF question about film developing in Paris which I am hoping someone can answer.

There is absolutely no problem to find a minilab processing color negs in C41, whether 35mm or 120 rolls.
For example you have photo desks in major Métro stations doing 35mm C41 for amateurs.
Plus dozens of amateur-grade photo-finishing shops, various brands.
So C41 processing of 35mm films is still widespread everywhere in France. E-6 slide processing can be more difficult to find but is still easy.
It depends on how fast you wish the job to be done, whether you can accept to get it one day after or if you need if within the day, whether you demand a professional service or if you accept the cheapest amateur-level service.
I do not live in Paris but whether you ask for a copy of scans on a CD or not with your 10x15cm prints in the amateur circuit it is something between 15-20 euros. probably not cheap according to current Northerrn- Amercian standards. You can probably find cheaper in the amateur circuit. If you need a professional service in Paris I can find the info through the French LF forum (yes French LF aficionados do sometimes process C41 in 35mm, but they do not have permission to mention it on the LF forum, same as here besides the infamus French tripod regulations we do enforce anti-35mm regulations on our LF forum ;-)

7-Feb-2008, 11:03
For a lot of the tourist museums get a museum pass. You'll save money and avoid the long lines.

8-Feb-2008, 15:42
An entire store devoted to Large Format photography equipment!!!!!!!! That is pretty damn cool!

Nathan Potter
8-Feb-2008, 15:46
Emmanuel, many thanks for digging out the info on large format photography with tripod in Paris. The letter does seem clear about subjects in the public domain. Of course it can be a bit tricky to determine what might be Ministre de Culture artifacts or not since my impression has been that almost all subjects in Paris seem to appear as state cultural objects (I'm exaggerating of course). But I adore the city as does my son.

Nathan Potter, Austin Texas

Luca Merlo
9-Feb-2008, 00:48
Bonjour Emmanuel,

I will also be in Paris for few days in Spring. It seems to happen that the Ville Lumiere still attracts many phothographers......

Apart from being a would be LF photographer I am also a collector of photographic books (mostly B&W ones) and I was wondering if you can suggest to me/us some good second hand or remainder bookshops where we could find some good deals. Also suggestions about bistrots and typical resturants are welcome ;)

Ciao from Italy

Emmanuel BIGLER
9-Feb-2008, 04:02
Hello to all !
It is a pleasure to give good tricks & advice to everybody.

The problem as Nathan Potter mentions is to determining whether you are within the Gravitation Field of the Ministry of Culture or if you are free-running in depeer Space far from this Planet ;-)
For sure, the Tuileries Gardens is close the Centre of eth Gravity Field
But you could try, as the French saying goes :
« Pas vu, pas pris ! »
Bu the saying has a second half that is most often forgotten :
« Pris : pendu !! »

Regarding the right to photography with a tripod on the public domain, one of the French LF aficionados Toai has just placed a phone call to the authorities.

That confirms the letter referenced above. GREAT.
They suggest as the ultimate proof of courtesy to place a phone call to the local police station (commissariat d'arrondissement) just to double check that some VIP's are not scheduled to be there when you intend to install your gear.
Now that we have an Italian First Lady that was a Top Model, nobody knows what may happen in Paris ;-)

An entire store devoted to Large Format photography equipment!!!!!!!! That is pretty damn cool!
Well... ahem. taking into account the current exchange rate between the USD and the Euro and taking into account that his shop is quite unique in France.; Well sure, be cool when you discover the prices.
Not kidding, the shop keeper at Le Grand Format, M. Gadat, is a real expert. He has been in this business for decades. He knows his stuff. Many customers just enter the shop for the pleasure of a chat with him. Across the Boulevard you have AMC Photo which has many lab equipement as well. The shop os operated by ladies, quite a unique situation in this business ;)

Regarding a good address for photo books I'm afraid that I'm can't give a real, solid, advice since I've not been in Paris for a while looking for 2nd-hand books : living far from Paris I chase for them on the Internet and the postman brings them to me at home.

But Hotel de Sully has some nice books about achitecture photography, but not only. I once fond there a superb books on early arctic photography in te XIX-st century. Located near Place des Vosges, this place is worth a visit, even if you do not take pictures, imagine that a magician sends you back ti the XVII-st century, five minutes ago you were near the noisy Place de la Bastille, 5 minutes before you were chatting with Mr Gadat at le Grand Format Shop, now you are in a quiet atmosphere, few cars, magnificent old buildings... and this damn question : if I unfold a tripod, hwo much time before a policeman comes !!

Used books can be found along the River Seine near Île de la Cité. Small open-air stands, an institution in Paris named : bouquinistes. But I do not think that any of them are specialists in photo books. And being placed where most tourists come.. make your own conclusions.

There are a few specialised photo bookstores in Paris, one is named Photo LIbraire, rue de Villiers (17-th arrondissement) but it is quite far from the centre of Paris. But I could start a thread to teh Fench LF forum : good plans for 2nd-hand photo bookstores in Paris.

Regarding distances I would recommend to walk from Île de la Cité to Bastille square (and Boulevard Beaumarchais) Have a look at Le Marais, an old part of Paris where old buildings and mansions have been preserved from modernism.. with the exception of Centre Pompidou, the museum of modern arts which is reallly.. ahem modern (nickname was : the oil refinery)
Centre Pompidou has a nice bookstore but more orineted to modern art. Le Louvre museum has a nice boostore as well but no 2nd-hand book department, I'm afraid.
When I was a student I used to go to Gibert, a group of bookstores on Boulevard Saint Michel where you cond find used books for students. Do not know is they have any intresting deparrtment for photo books. FNAC Les Halles is a giant bookstore where you'll probably find more books than you could reasonably carry back home without having to pay for excess luggage ;), including books in non-French languages. But again, no used books there.

Luca Merlo
9-Feb-2008, 11:43
Ciao and thanks Emmanuel. Great advices...... and congratulations for the victory of your National Rugby Team !


Nathan Potter
9-Feb-2008, 14:17
Emmanuel, yes I get your gravitational attractive field - that is my problem in Paris. In smaller terms that I am more familiar with the wavefunction of my 4X5 seems to match the wavefunction of Ministry of Culture structures so there exists a mutual, high probability, tunneling attractive force between camera and subject that can't be avoided or mitigated. So son and I on occasion are tempted to take a few chances.

Nathan Potter