One of the great things about Paris is that, while walking down the street, you never have to wait long before you find something interesting to take a picture of. The beautifully painted doors of Paris are a highlight. I mostly saw blue doors but, if you do some research, I’m sure you can find one in every colour of the rainbow (sadly, I did not come across any pink or purple ones!). There are books, posters, and calendars available that feature these lovely doors. Here are the ones we came across.
This one might be my favourite shade of blue.
Teal. (I love the female faces, and the carved bearded man overtop the door).
This one has a “shabby-chic” feel to it.
Grey-blue, with a hint of green.
Another rich azure blue.
The same door as above, giving you a quick peek in towards the courtyard.
This red door, found in Montmartre, was my favourite.
A very patriotic door leading to the Petite Luxembourg, which is the home of the Senate President.
The door below was found on the same building as the door above. This door was open because it looks like there’s a shop inside the courtyard.
Fancy door knocker.
Below is the entrance to the Palais Royal metro station at Place Colette (located close to the Louvre). It’s not a blue-painted door but it’s an entrance, so it kind of fits the theme, right?
This design features large, coloured glass beads and was created in 2000 to commemorate 100-years of the Palais Royal metro line. The work is called “Kiosk of the Night Walkers” and was created by Jean-Michael Othoniel.
From across the street.
Some of the metro stations in Paris are very creative! The one that Neil and I used quite a bit, Arts et Métiers, is meant to look like the inside of a submarine (complete with portholes!). It was designed by François Schuiten, a Belgian comic-book artist, who took inspiration from Jules Verne. The station’s makeover in 1994 marked the 200th anniversary of the nearby National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts.
Neil standing in the Arts et Métiers station.
A discussion on Parisian metro stations wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Hector Guimard, a French architect who is the best known representative of the decorative Art Nouveau style (circa 1890-1910). He was hired to design the first entrances to the underground metro in Paris. 141 of them were made between 1900-1913, and consisted of cast iron and glass.
Signs located at the top of the stairs featured a distinct lettering style that read Metropolitain. The signs were supported by two columns shaped like plant stalks, often compared to lily-of-the-valley, and contain two red-orange lamps.
Sadly, Guimard’s designs were not appreciated by everyone. Although they were generally well-received, critics stated that the green paint was “too German”, the lettering was “un-French”, and the lamps were described as “frog-eyed.” Many of his station entrances were later demolished, often replaced by those with a more plain design. Shortly before World War II, it was suggested that the remaining ones be scrapped for their metal. Thankfully, this did not happen. 86 of these entrances remain today, and were listed as historical monuments in 1965 and 1978.
Another thing you’ll see as you tour Paris are different 8-bit pixel art mosaics made from ceramic tiles. Some are larger than others, featuring an assortment of characters. Many of the ones that can be seen are low-res aliens who look like they came from the game Space Invaders. Indeed, the street artist who kicked off the trend uses the pseudonym Invader. The artist began adding the mosaics to the streets of Paris in the 1990s, and soon added more in other cities in France and around the world. Neil and I saw them in quite a few places on our European travels.
My favourite mosaic was the one shown below, of Alice in Wonderland.
This was on a street just one or two over from the apartment we were staying in, so we got to see her nearly everyday!
This one is pretty cute.
A dinosaur from Bubble Bobble?
I liked this Cheshire Cat piece as well.