France | What Art Can I Photograph?


I enjoy falling into paintings from the past to enter a different world or to understand my feelings more deeply. But if you photograph artistically, museums can be a boring place to take creative shots. Taking a photograph of a museum-lit painting is boring and unimaginative. We can feel like copiers of great art, and that’s all. But their are beautiful things that we can shoot in museums that creates a new art and can challenge our creativity.


A man in stone at the Louvre, Paris

A reposing woman inside the Louvre, Paris

Sculptures, like humans, are 3D constructions that can be captured in beautiful, new and imaginative angles with different lighting and positioning.

Whenever I enter a museum with my camera, I am drawn to the statues, challenging myself to find unique ways to capture the art. Sculptures are the pieces of art that we can manipulate in unique ways without using the use of a live human. We can take a piece of art and create a new piece of art, a unique way of looking at the sculpture. Unlike a flat painting (which can be creatively shot but not the extent of a sculpture) which as no angles to be of use to the photographer.

The backside of the Venus de Milo in marble

The soft figure of a woman at Musée d’Orsay, Paris

The sun shining through an open window illuminates an “important” man at the Louvre, Paris

The Pain

Women bitten by a snake lies beautifully, but writhing in pain

These photographs are only scratching the surface of the immense possibilities that exist in using sculptures in photography to create art. I hope that these photographs inspire you to become more creative at museums, challenging yourself to look at art differently and using your eye to capture something unique to you and your experiences observing the art. By challenging yourself to look for new angles, you may discover something new and exciting about a sculpture.

Sarah Brandenburg studied abroad in Paris, France in summer 2018:

France | La Tour Eiffel


It’s simple to find a photograph of the Eiffel Tower online. In fact, it often feels futile to take the same photograph that has come many times before you. I decided to try something different.

In this collection of photographs, I attempted to take one of the world’s most photographed monuments and tried to create something unique. I challenged myself to find new angles and ways of looking at the famous structure.

Here are some photographs taken in my attempt to create something unique.

Sarah Brandenburg studied abroad in Paris, France in summer 2018:

France | Paris in the Rain


I had one wish before leaving Paris. I wanted to experience Paris in the rain. It was hot, unexpected, but it poured one day.

I walked out of my classroom and there it was, a wall of water showering on all of us. My wish had come true. A storm had surprised the city, and I was given the rare chance to explore Paris in the rain, a summertime rain.

Here are a few photographs and a film of Paris in the rain.

Sarah Brandenburg studied abroad in Paris, France in summer 2018:

France | The Arteries of Paris


The river is a refreshing place to take a stroll. Whenever the hot summer sun felt too unbearable, I would go to the river by Pont Marie, order a freshly pressed pamplemouse (grapefruit juice) and absorb the view.

There are places on the riverside cafés that are renovated boats. You can grab a refreshment and sit on the water. I enjoyed Monsieur Pelican, situated close to Pont Marie and Hôtel de Ville.

Friends talking by the river at Monsieur Pelican

This place is the only tourist filled location in Paris that I thoroughly enjoyed. Both Parisians and visitors are drawn to the water, especially during the hot summer months. The Seine is a haven from the heat even if it is un-swimmable.

A glass of freshly pressed jus de pamplemouse

Sarah Brandenburg studied abroad in Paris, France in summer 2018:

France | A Birdseye View of Paris


When I was in Paris I lived in the 14th Arrondissement, where the Montparnasse tower finds her home. I could see the large edifice from my apartment window and wondered what it would be like to climb to the top.

The full fee to enter the observation deck is 18 euros and 15 euros for students. It is a big cost to pay to be surrounded by tourists vying for a glance. I recommend traveling to the top of the tower, and I have a few suggestions.

My roommate Andrea

If you want to relax from the heat at the same time, instead of going to the observation deck, make your way inside the lobby of the Montparnasse Tower and take the left elevator to the restaurant. The restaurant is pretty pricey but they have a tiny café/bar with a gorgeous view.

The refreshments are pricey but I ordered a glass of freshly pressed Pamplemousse (grapefruit) juice for 9 euros (less than the cost of a ticket to the observation deck) and relaxed in the air conditioning with a refreshing break.

If you go to Paris in the summer, be prepared for a strong heat and no air conditioning. Most of the establishments in Paris are not retrofitted for air conditioning, so finding a cool place like the café at the top of the tower is a welcome break from the hot city.

The view from my apartment: the large tower on the left is the Montparnasse

Sarah Brandenburg studied abroad in Paris, France in summer 2018:

France | Step Inside a Painting


A short train-ride outside of Paris there is a tiny town called Giverny. This village is where Claude Monet lived, and he created some of his most iconic paintings in these gardens.

The gardens in Giverny, where Claude Monet used to paint, are still cared for splendidly by talented gardeners. The little pond he used in his paintings still exists and there was a certain nostalgia in visiting a place I had only seen in impressionistic paintings.

Monet’s impression of the gardens is what catapulted a simple pretty and calming place into an iconic landmark. The place is beautiful, but Monet made it so.

My classmate enjoying the gardens at Giverny

The pond that Monet famously painted

I tried to capture an impressionist style photograph

Another classmate standing on the famous green bridge

The famous lily pads

A photograph trying to be a painting

Sarah Brandenburg studied abroad in Paris, France in summer 2018:

France | Edible Art: Food in Paris


I have one slice of cake, I mean, one slice of advice for you, be adventurous with food in Paris! I recommend trying the classic french staples, that everyone in the world knows about, but then I challenge you to move forward and try new things. Ethnic food, unique bakeries, unfrench like food! I say this because Paris is a diverse and multicultural city, and as much as trying french food is almost a requirement, I want to push you to press those boundaries and go further than the classic french.

A chocolate and salted caramel crêpe at a family establishment

One of my favorite meals was a falafel wrap in Le Marais (the Jewish quarter). Every establishment claims to be the best, but I found every place there delicious. (L’as du Fallafel is a good place to try.)

I also tried a Persian restaurant in the 14th Arrondissement where I lived called Le Chalizar. It was delicious.

Push yourself to try new things. Discover the diversity within Paris by experimenting with food.

A juicy burger and pomme frites

Profiteroles – A classic french dessert which is a “must taste”

A Falafel from the Marais

A pizza from the Italian square

The best hot chocolate in Paris is not at the tourist filled Ladurée. I found my favorite cup at Café Laurent.

Above were my two favorite desserts in Paris and must visits. First is a meringue cake from Le Merveilleux de Fred. These bakeries are scattered around Paris and the famous Merveilleux is a must-try, perfected by Frédéric Vaucamps.

Second is a chocolate St. Honoré from the oldest bakery in Paris, Stohrer. I recommend trying anything from this bakery. St. Honoré aux Chocolat was my favorite, and I had the best chocolate éclair here.

Persian food from Le Chalizar

Decadent homemade icecream and sorbet from La Crème de Paris

Crème brûlée

Sarah Brandenburg studied abroad in Paris, France in summer 2018:

France| Want to Relax in Paris?


After a long day in Paris, hop onto metro 1 line and take it to the last stop, Chateau de Vincennes. The quiet and peacefulness of this park is a beautiful place to unwind. Perfect for reading, writing, photography, or just to experience a live painting.

The park is filled with activities for people of all ages. Carousel rides, a zoo, rowboats, and pathways for bike riding are only a few of the activities offered. My favorite part of the park was a “Weeping Willow” tree we found at the edge of the lake. It was a beautiful addition to a peaceful place.

The next time you are in Paris, I recommend taking a boat ride here or having a picnic on the green grass surrounded by the shade of trees.

Sarah Brandenburg studied abroad in Paris, France in summer 2018:

France | A Historic Ballroom in the Musée d’Orsay?


I spent a cloudy morning in Paris exploring the famous Musée D’Orsay. The sculptures and paintings inside the museum are breathtaking, but the building itself is a piece of history and a work of art. This museum used to be a railway station called Gare D’Orsay, and the main hall of the station is now lined with sculptures from the past. This extraordinary building adds to the grandeur of the museum.

I made my way through the creative workings of humans from the past. What depth of expression can be communicated without a word being spoken. What emotion that transcends space and time is revealed in a simple painting or sculpture.

After exploring the museum with a guided tour, my friends and I stumbled upon a ballroom covered in gold and embellished with crystal chandeliers. It was exquisite. I felt as though I had walked into a time machine and was visiting Paris at her prime. This ballroom, La Salle des Fetes, is where general de Gaulle hosted a press conference in the year 1958.

The ballroom is rented out for events and parties now. I wonder who the people are that rent out this palace.

Sarah Brandenburg studied abroad in Paris, France in summer 2018:

France | France won the world cup (when I was in Paris)


History was made. France won the World Cup for the second time in history. And I was in Paris. The streets were crowded, noisy and loud, and being in the heart of France during this historic event was an experience I could never create.

Here are photographs to give you a glimpse into Paris at this time.

Sarah Brandenburg studied abroad in Paris, France in summer 2018: