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The Real Voyage of Discovery


Most people are often courteous of my taking photographs around the city. They wait until I take the shot or run across quickly... only every now and then is someone unhappy with my shooting, I'm in their way or they've had enough of the interminable amount of people taking photos of their beloved city so they make sure I know about it.

But the other morning in the Tuileries Gardens, I had a wonderfully rare encounter. A woman approached me with the most inquisitive face and asked why I was shooting so many photos of Paris' ubiquitous green chairs. I mentioned how symbolic of Paris they are (at least to me), how much I love their shape and form, and that I know others who feel the same way. Her puzzled face lit up into a smile... she said she never really looked at them in any special way, they were more or less utilitarian, spread throughout the city, always there. I shared how they were special to me, very often like companions on my photowalks. They seem to have a character of their own - alert and ready or lounging and tired. The one above I shot because it invited me to sit down and stay awhile, enjoy the view and the sunlight on this mild winter morning.

As we said our bonne journées, the woman began to walk away and then turned to take a long second look at the chairs and smiled. Like that wise Marcel Proust once said, "the real voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but seeing with new eyes."


  1. Yup. They don't even have to be in color, and I know immediately what and where they are!!! Such a lovely encounter you had ~ it was always a joy to share with moments like this with Parisians...give them some 'new eyes' and learn from the history they share with their city!

  2. There is a quote that goes..."It's not what you look at, but what you see" and I believe that to be so true in many cases and it does apply to your green chair photos as well, Catherine.

  3. I adore that you taught her to see in a different light. You are a true artist!

  4. Oh absolutely and there is something about chairs, just like benches, that are invitations to linger awhile


  5. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop

  6. it seems the unexpected encounter between the two of you was special each in your own way. You to share and her to see with new eyes. I love seeing Paris through your eyes. Have a lovely week.

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