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  • Noémie Bourdin-Habert

We all need a little helper... (en)

Little yeah. Or Younger.

A few days ago, with a photographer friend, we decided to explore Paris differently. Look for lost locations. Forbidden treasures. Well, urbex.

But to find lost places is not as easy as we hopped. You need to wear trekking shoes. You need to have a raincoat. You may need a rope. And you need companions. In case.

We don't do that. Normally. I do travel photography, she does portrait. She's a pro, I'm just an amateur. But we both love beauty, within people, within places, within situations, and that day, we were looking for just that.

We chose to go to the Montsouris Park because it's easy to find and we figured, the entrance of the well-known circular train tracks would be easy to find. Well we found the track... only it was 6-7 meters down from us, with steep and slippery walls.

So here we are, looking down, wondering if we'll explore further east or further west for a way in. That's when voices shout in the far away. At first, I don't pay attention. Until I hear the running steps, and soon behind us, two teenagers, jumping, clapping, waving at us. They saw the treasure down, then they saw us, and they thought we'd know. They thought we'd know how to get down there. That's almost embarrassing...

We started talking about the best way to get down there, and they'd already explored the eastern part of the tracks. I dug out my googlemap looking for the best way to move west of the tracks. Saving efforts, we decided to walk together. The four of us. Two women in their mid-thirties. Two young boys in their mid-tens.

Conversation was natural. They couldn't believe our age, and we couldn't believe theirs. But we were all here to explore something in common : a treasure location. The four of us. Driven by our explorer side, our passion.

Along the few kilometers we walked on the sidewalk, we got to know each other better. We recognized in the kids a younger and version of ourselves. We recognized the excitement, the joy, the little hint of craziness in them that once had driven us too. And somewhat caught by all this, our own pulse started to pace faster, and in a heartbeat we felt like teenagers again.

And as we rejuvenated, we jumped over a bridge wall and ended up on the railway tracks to walk back east to the portion of our choice. We were like kids. Sparkles in our eyes. Photography from all angles. Selfies. Facetimes. Exploration. Our mid-thirties had "halfed".

In addition to bringing a few nice shots back home, this day made us feel way younger. Way younger. And we acknowledge the old saying : A mouse may be of service to a lion [Jean de la Fontaine]. Or a teenager, I believe.


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