Statue of winged horse and horseman
Gardens,  Paris,  Street photography,  Sunday Stills,  Travel galleries

Gallery: the Jardins des Tuileries in the rain

‘We’ll always have Paris’ – true not only for Rick and Ilsa (in Casablanca) but also for me and my husband. We spent our honeymoon there; I’ve celebrated several significant birthdays there; and with a short journey by train on the Eurostar, it is the easiest European city for us to visit.

My first visit was as an excited fifteen year old, during a school ‘French exchange’ trip, my first real travel adventure. I stayed with my host family in a tiny village near Beauvais and made three day trips to the capital by train. I fell in love, and have been so ever since.

Our most recent visit, a few years ago, was another birthday celebration. My birthday falls at the end of October so good weather is by no means guaranteed, and on this occasion we had both sunshine and rain during our short stay. A particularly rainy Sunday saw us revisiting the Jardin des Tuileries, one of my favourite places for Parisian people-watching. And so it proved today, despite the weather.

Around the Place de la Concorde

We were staying in Saint Germain des Prés, so we took the train to Concorde, where we enjoyed taking photos of the sculptures, fountains and distant views of the Tour Eiffel. The weather was dull and there was already rain in the air, but Paris is beautiful in any weather.

At the centre of the Place de la Concorde is the gold-tipped obelisk, which was almost merging into the grey sky. This was a gift from the viceroy of Egypt to King Louis-Philippe, and dates from the time of Ramses II.

But while the obelisk is the most defining feature of the square, I am especially fond of the fountains. Their deep colours (green and gold), and of course their wetness, made for much better subject matter on this gloomy day. My photos below are all of the northern fountain, the Fountain of the Rivers, which has figures representing the Rhine and Rhone, and the main harvests of France: wheat and grapes, flowers and fruit. The one to the south is known as the Maritime Fountain and has figures representing the Mediterranean and Atlantic, and the spirits of maritime navigation, astronomy and commerce.

A grey morning in the Tuileries

The Jardin des Tuileries was once the formal garden of the Tuileries Palace but has been a public park since the end of the French Revolution. It is a popular place for local families, especially on a Sunday; and the grey miserable weather didn’t seem to have deterred some at least.

And although the grey weather gave us some photographic challenges it also threw up opportunities. I love the contrast between the statuary and trees of the Tuileries; the regimented landscaping so typical of the French style; the human elements of people enjoying the environment in various ways, and so on. All are perfect for photography. As a bonus today, the Halloween holidays had brought out child witches and skeletons, and even a whole family of zombies!

In recent years various sculptural works have been installed in the gardens, complementing the more ancient statuary; and I enjoyed photographing some of these too. So come with me on a grey-day stroll through the Tuileries.

These images are my contribution to the Sunday Stills theme of Grey as proposed by Terri. I hope she will forgive the fact that they were taken in October not May. And I hope too that they demonstrate that a damp grey day needn’t be a washout where photography is concerned.

I last visited Paris in 2017, when these photos were all taken



    My first visit to Paris was in 1962 as a 5-year old; Michaela’s was when she was about 8 or 9, so both early in our travel experiences. All these years, and many, many visits later, we are both still in love with it. The moment you step off Gard du Nord station…the moment you see the Arc…Montmartre…Eiffel Tower….even any old street cafe. I reckon we love being there just as much as you do, and neither of us has ever understood why it often gets a bad press. Wonderful city.

  • Rose Vettleson

    Your photos are gorgeous in grey. Paris is a dream, no matter the weather. We were there for our 20th anniversary. It was springtime, the weather and the city were so beautiful. We stayed in a wonderful hotel about half an hour away from the Eiffel Tower. A few days later, we rode the Eurostar to London. I love reliving the memories… ♥ and apologize to anyone who’s heard them a thousand times.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Well I hadn’t heard them before – and wouldn’t mind if I had! I’m always happy to share my love of Paris with others that love her too 🙂 We hope to celebrate our 40th anniversary there in September, Covid-willing!

  • wetanddustyroads

    Grey is not really my favourite colour, but you’ve just changed that for me Sarah! Really beautiful pictures – even on a grey day … but maybe it’s because it’s Paris 😉.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Wow, thanks! I didn’t set out to convert anyone to grey and I’m not a fan of grey weather myself, but sometimes you just have to make the best of things 🙂 On this occasion we alternated damp walks in the gardens with visits to the two excellent galleries there, so it wasn’t grey all the time!

  • restlessjo

    You never disappoint, Sarah! I have an early November birthday and finding somewhere sunny to celebrate was often a preoccupation. It really doesn’t matter in Paris, does it? The enchantment is always there. 🙂 🙂

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Jo 😊 I’ve celebrated my late October birthday in some wonderful places, including Ecuador and India, but Paris never lets me down 😀

  • SandyL

    Paris in October is good because it’s after the holidays and less crowds, yes? The last time I was in Paris it was October and we were blessed with good weather. But rainy days make for good light and quirky pictures like your umbrella shot. Must say I liked the pidgeons too … it’s hard to look dignified with a bird on your head 🙂

  • Terri Webster Schrandt

    How cool to be so close to Paris, Sarah! A great theme to show off your grays. I agree how the green fountains really pop against the gray backdrop as well as does the statuary. Gorgeous photos as always!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Yes, we’re spoiled really to have the city on our doorstep – we can be in Paris quicker than in the far north of England! Glad you liked the photos 🙂

  • CliffClaven

    I remember my first visit to France: the baguettes, the berets, the Gaulloises, the girls. It all seemed so exotic. Now, a trip to France – a few minutes down the road – is as about as exciting as getting up in the morning. But, Sarah, we’ll always have Plovdiv….

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Ah yes, the smell of Gaulloises! I usually hate the smell of cigarette smoke but I make the exception for that – so redolent of Parisian cafes 🙂

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