For Francophiles on Instagram, American photographer Rebecca Plotnick of Everyday Parisian needs no introduction. Her mood-lifting mosaic of classic Parisian scenes and down-to-earth anecdotes have become a staple for Paris-lovers with an appetite for a sweet Proustian madeleine.
Ten years into a professional adventure that has seen her navigate the uncharted waters of e-commerce and scoop partnerships with Pottery Barn and West Elm, Plotnick is staking out a new corner of the internet with her Every Day Parisian website.
Part travel journal, part lifestyle blog, the site makes for a beautiful online escape, where Paris addicts and just-back-from-vacation fans of France are empowered to live life à la parisienne at home. Her goal? “To forge connections with people who love Paris,” and share stunning yet entirely attainable aspects of la vie en rose without the overblown commercial rosiness that plagues many blogs. Forget idealized images of the expat flitting from designer boutique to luxury hotel. Think: reading suggestions, recipes, shopping tips, photography, and travel chat, all within the classically wanderlust-worthy setting of Paris. Chatting to Plotnick as she preps for her next work adventure, it’s easy to see that her unpretentious attitude stems from years of hustle. “Paris isn’t all about long breakfasts at Ladurée, I wish it was, but it’s more than that. It’s hard work,” she states, describing the early years of her photography career.
An early adopter of Etsy, it was a work hurdle that inspired her to turn her passion for photography into a career. “I worked in fashion merchandising, for Sean John and then a shoe company, but got laid off in 2008. I knew that I loved to travel and take pictures, so I decided to just start selling my shots.”
That’s not to say her journey from photo lover to entrepreneur unfolded with the ease presented by many a #blessed influencer. Describing her first work trips to Paris, small budgets and even smaller hotel rooms loom large. Yet, what she lacked in funds, she made up for in energy and friendliness. “My room was so small that every night I’d spend the evening at the same quaint bistro on Rue de Varenne talking to the regulars.” Invitations to try Foie Gras and escargots inevitably followed, and, as she met locals and engaged in friendly disputes over the last bite of chocolate mousse, she found herself “waiting for my food with my little map from the hotel, getting suggestions of loads of places I should discover.”
“At the beginning I worked as a nanny between trips to make enough to pay for the next flight. It took about a year to really get my Etsy store off the ground.” As for landing that all-important relationship with Pottery Barn, “I was helping a family move to San Francisco with their kids when I got an email from Pottery Barn saying they were interested in my work. I used the last of some birthday money to print up some portfolio shots, dressed up and went to meet them.”
Fast forward to 2013 and Rebecca’s Instagram success brought her the opportunity to chase the light of Paris as a full-time digital nomad, securing brand partnerships and hotel sponsorships as she went. And while it’s apparent that she relishes the opportunity to showcase a hotel, it’s obvious that her heart lies with her old haunts. “I love to go back to ‘my apartment.’ It’s the one I always rent from my friend Thomas that’s off Rue de Bretagne. It’s often booked when I want to go now. We joke that it’s probably by one of my readers!”
Now based in Chicago where she’s able to manage her site, photography business, and partnerships, tales of genuine connections still pepper her travel tales. “I feel like I know waiters in cafés in every arrondissement. I have friends who’ll message me when they’re there. They’ll tell me where they are standing and I can just say, ‘oh, go say hi to Didier.’” Little wonder then that her latest online project teems with so much on-the-ground insight. “I’m definitely a Right Bank girl, but I am getting into the Left Bank more and more,” she muses. “I just love to walk from the Marais, through Place des Vosges, off to l’Île Saint Louis and into Saint-Germain-des-Prés. On Sunday, I go to Bastille market to get my flowers or fruit. I love it when my favorite vendors remember me and want to chat.”
Rebecca’s Paris Go-to Spots
Museum: “Musée Nissim de Camondo near Parc Monceau is totally different and off the beaten path.”
Restaurant: “The steak-frites is always good at Le Progrès on Rue de Bretagne and the people watching is fabulous. Otherwise, Petit Fer à Cheval on Rue Vieille du Temple is great for a glass of wine at night.”
Boulangerie: “I love the one at 28 Boulevard Beaumarchais.”