Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Sunday's Best

Sundays in Paris are calm year round, but in August some parts of the city may as well be packed away in a cupboard and locked up until September. Walking through some of these hushed streets recently I stumbled into the Rue Daguerre and found a surreal site. In the centre of the city, here was a road that looked like a Wild West frontier town just before the bad guy rides in. Everything was locked up, no cars were moving and there was hardly a soul on the street. All that was missing was a creaking door, a three-legged dog and some rolling tumbleweed.

It was certainly strange to find such a site, but at least it gave me the opportunity to investigate the street in detail without the fear of being run over. The reason for the tranquillity is that this area forms one of the zones that the city hands over to pedestrians on Sundays and Bank Holidays. However, whilst the Canal Saint Martin or the Rue des Martyrs remains lively and busy throughout the year, here the shops and bars were closed, and all the local residents were seemingly far away from the city. It seems somewhat pointless to maintain this blockade of through traffic in August, but even silenced this way the street is worthy of a visit in its torpid state, and this for one reason; colour.

Here is a selection of some of the street facades, many of which are rendered more mysterious and enigmatic in their sleepy, Sunday state!

It is quite unusual to find such a wide selection of colours in what is mostly a homogeneous and restrained city, but it is also extraordinary to find this exuberance in such a quiet district. Look down the equally subdued side streets though and you will catch glimpses of the Montparnasse cemetery. The tombs resting silently there, Gainsbourg and Baudelaire, Man Ray and Maupassant, also serve as a reminder that this part of the city was once a lively, artistic haunt.

11 comments:

designslinger.com said...

It's wonderful to see our preconceived notions of Paris shattered in a burst of color when one least expects it, on a quiet August day.

ArtSparker said...

Quite a bouquet of doorways.

Gina V said...

Takes me right back to the tropics!...oh, happy, happy colours!!
Thanks,Adam, for this...and for the info on Bonom - looks like he has been quite busy around Paris!

Starman said...

And it's not that far to la Tour Montparnasse. But I didn't quite see the Old West connection. More like a quaint Mediterranean village.

Adam said...

Starman: Well, I didn't literally mean that it looks like a Wild West town - indeed, I have no idea what they do look like! I was thinking more about the typical Western scene when everybody gets off the street and hides when the bad guy turns up in town. It was certainly quiet there, but I don't know if I was the bad guy!

shano said...

I used to drink a bit in the green one, 'L'express'. They have a live slot on Friday and Saturday nights and the acts are always very random. The decor is just a weird on the insides and the bar lady is suitably eccentric.
Quality spot

Thérèse said...

Quiet and colorful. But who knows what is happening right now behing these doors?

Thérèse said...

Sorry "behind"

j. said...

oh this is so wonderful.

thank you for sharing.


je parle un petit peu français et j'espère habiter à Paris un jour !

Anonymous said...

Bonjour, je viens de découvrir votre blog et je le trouve magnifique! Bravo pour votre travaille, maintenant je deviens votre lectrice assidue (I can read english but I have problems to write it). Merci pour vos photos de la rue Daguerre, c´est ma rue préférée! Le saviez-vous que la grande metteur-en-scene Agnes Varda abite dans la maison rose que vous avez photographié?
Hana de Prague

Adam said...

Bonjour Hana - revenez quand vous voulez! Je ne savais pas de tout qu'Agnès Varda habitait cette maison - c'est drole. Merci pour cette information!

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