‘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