I Love the Tops of Paris Buildings

topsorbonnemalesherbesOne of my favorite times in Paris is the early morning run for breakfast bread.  The fall we rented the apartment on Malesherbes, I would climb down four flights of stairs and then head for one of the 6 bakeries near our apartment.  Often I chose one near Square Batignolles several blocks away rather than the one just across the street, because the walk was just so glorious.    These are snapshots along Jouffroy d’Abbas on just one morning stroll for bread.


topsjoffroytopstoquevillefacetopstoquevilleduskI just love the tops of Parisian buildings.  Some are incredibly ornate especially the Haussmann buildings in the poncy parts of town.  Because Haussmann established a standard, these buildings have a wonderful continuity their horizontal lines, balconies and roofs flowing from building to building.

topscornertopscatroux P1050893 Moving furniture into these old buildings is a trick.  The narrow winding stairways and the tiny elevators don’t accommodate a move and so there is a busy industry of delivery and removal through the ‘french doors’ that make up the windows of these apartments.  topsfurnitureYou expect the ornate beauty in monumental buildings and of course they don’t disappoint like the Louvre palace

topslouvreSitting in the Tuilleries by the fountain on one of the hundreds of movable chairs with your feet on the fountain edge and book in your lap is one of life’s great pleasures.  The Louvre has stunning art, but the building itself it a masterpiece.topslouvre1 topslouvre3This is a shot of the Louvre courtyard taken from inside the Pyramid coming up the escalator at night.  We usually enter the Louvre through a less crowded entrance but usually exit through the Pyramid to this stunning view.

topslouvrenightAnd on the outskirts of Paris there are little neighborhoods sometimes called villas where buildings are quite different from the ornate Haussmann styles of the center.  Here is a narrow street near  Bastille.
P1080489Some buildings especially further out from the center, look like the construction proceeded oddly and haphazardly.  topscanalweirdcollectiontopsbrickwallcanaltopsstucco2I also love looking at the arrays of chimneys and chimney pots and oddly connected pipes.


topsjoffroyonepipetopsnearcanalmuralWhen Baron Haussmann renovated the city to create long diagonal boulevards and cleared away most of the medieval squalor of twisted alleys and inadequate sewers, emphasis was placed on aesthetic standards of conformity.  When you look out over the rooftops of Paris today, virtually all of them are grey either worked in slate or in lead.  This is a view from the Pantheon dome which closed for several years renovation on November 1 2011; I took these pictures on October 31.

topspanthrowThe tethered balloon in the distance hovers over Parc Citroen; tourists can ride up in it for a view of the city.citballoonfrompanthThis is the roof of the Sorbonne Music College on Malesherbes in the 17th.topsmonceauroundwindowsWalking in a city with your eyes up you can’t help but wonder what is going on in the rooms behind these lovely windows.


topswagrom2topswindowromeWe were run off by security guards taking the pictures here of what is probably an Embassy over on George V.  We were on a public sidewalk.

P1040864 (1)

And while we are observing windows, sometimes windows are observing us.  This odd creature is hanging from the Louvre.topslouvreballoonThis cell phoner is observing us from a building across from Parc Monceau; that is its entrance gate tower to the left where I believe a park guardian still has his apartment.topsmanwindowmonceauWhile there is a good deal of sameness because of the classic Haussmann plan, there are some dazzing one offs as well.  This is a banking building near Malesherbes metro.

topsbankmalesherbesAnd in the 19th and 20th in particular there is a dazzling display of street art.  This is probably the most famous piece.  You can see others on the graffiti walk post here 


Another ornate and stunning site is the Hotel de Ville, the seat of government for Paris.  Each of the 20 arrondissements has it own town hall and some of those are quite magnificent as well.  We go out of our way to walk by here in all types of light and weather; it fill our hearts with joy.topshoteldevillesunset And finally  you can’t help see this odd sight when looking up from almost anywhere in Paris.  This was the view from an apartment we rented in the 17th; an Eiffel Tower view was not even mentioned in its description and the agent was surprised when we pointed it out.  Paris is a city that rewards you for looking up.topseiffelfromwindow

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8 Responses to I Love the Tops of Paris Buildings

  1. Dale Coghlan says:

    Thank you, Janet, for a wonderful portolio of wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing

  2. Catherine says:

    I happened upon your blog while replying to a post on TripAdvisor! I’m loving your pics. As a frequent traveler to Paris and the Cote d’ Azur. I LOVE your Paris pics. Like you, I’m have a “thing” about those rooftops too!

    • Janet says:

      Thanks. Yeah one of the reasons we enjoy Chicago so much is that the morning stroll for the baguette, while not quite Paris, also takes down pretty streets and interesting building tops. Paris is a place we go to just to be there.

  3. Suzanne Dupont-Burton says:

    Hi Janet, I just discovered your blog and am so impressed. I will be travelling to France for the very first time next September (2016) and have been researching for many hours. Your Mont St Michel blog just blew me away. We will be doing Paris, Normandie, and then head to Switzerland and end our trip in Provence and the French Riviera. I will definitely keep watching out for your amazing and well described travels.


    • Janet says:

      glad you like it — we are just taking off this week for Vienna, Prague, Petersburg and then Paris. I love reading other people’s blogs to get ideas about my own travels. glad mine could be helpful for yours.


  4. frugaleurope says:

    Beautiful photos! Thanks so much. I love walking on the Promenade Plantee and taking photos of the buildings!

  5. Janet says:

    We are here now and the weather is stunning and I am again enjoying just looking at the beauty of Paris.

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