14 July 2015

Street features

I was on the rue des Saints-Pères in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood in Paris when I noticed this elaborate piece of artwork on a courtyard gate.

I just found it on Google Maps street view. It's at number 52, rue des Saints-Pères. I worked for a couple of years at number 56 on the same street. This thing must have been there then, but I don't remember ever noticing it.

When you're walking the streets of Paris, you have to keep looking down to make sure you don't step in anything nasty, run smack into anybody, or trip over a curb. But if you lift your eyes for a moment, you see all kinds of interesting things.

You can see me in this photo, which I took on the rue des Canettes, near where Walt's boarding house was back in the fall of 1981. The street was a hubbub of activity on Saturday, May 30. More photos of that tomorrow or the next day...

This is one of the statues on the big fountain in front of the Eglise Saint-Sulpice, in the same neighborhood. How many times in my life have I walked through here? Maybe thousdands. If I look on the Internet, I can probably find out who this is. Yes, his name was Esprit Fléchier (1632-1710), and he was the bishop of the southern city of Nîmes.

I think this is the rue Jean Bart, very near the rue de Fleurus, the Alliance Française, and the Hôtel de l'Avenir, a neighborhood where I spent years working and wandering around. Yes, Google Maps just confirmed it. It's fun to look at photos that are six weeks old and try to remember or figure out where exactly I was when I took them.

Finally, this is a familiar modern sign in Paris. This one is on the rue de Sèvres, where I stopped and had something to drink toward the end of my walk that Saturday afternoon. Do you know it?


  1. Ken, that is a really striking knocker...

    We had a friend, Sadie, recently departed... such a shame...
    she used to set walking "treasure hunts" for our local 2CV group...
    almost always set in the centre of Leeds, they forced you to look both up and down...
    at details such as these.... or street furniture that you had walked over once a week at least and never noticed...
    or wall plaques to people such as Louis Le Prince... the Frenchman from Metz who lived in Leeds....
    and made the first ever movies... before Edison...
    it is really incredible what you miss as you hurry about your daily life.... it really is!!
    We miss her... her powers of general observation of what was around you... and her company.
    Her legacy to me is...
    look at the buildings, up and down, at things attached to doors and walls and down at the pavements!


  2. I believe that is a Franprix sign?

    These photos of architectural details are really wonderful. Love the patinated paint too...the navy or grey and the green.

    1. Lol!, Diogenes. You are right. I live almost next door to one Franprix supérette and could not tell what that logo was!

    2. It is the Franprix sign/logo.

  3. That door knocker is really something, and very intriguing. Who commissioned it and why?...

    The Venetian lace on that bishop's gown is also really something. Even just a carved representation. The real thing must have been jaw-dropping.

    1. A little Google research shows that the owner of the 52 rue des Saints-Pères property was none other than Bernard Tapie. His history in politics, sports, and show biz over the past 35 years is much too involved for me to go into.

  4. Lol...that's why we always walked the streets of Paris in twos - one was watching the pavement while the other took pictures ;-)

  5. A tattoo artist would have some fun with that knocker! Freud could tell us what it means...The Franprix logo is couette.

  6. This is why I always tell people that walking around Paris, there is just art everywhere. I love it!

  7. Happy Bastille Day! Bon 14 juillet !


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