Art and Secret Courtyards


My stomach somersaulted like an acrobat and sank slowly to my groin as I watched the photos I had taken earlier in the day download and corrupt before my eyes.  All that I could see was a haze of colours distorting into abstract shapes.

Was this to be the impending ‘Annual Parisian Incident’? I couldn’t bear to be in Paris without taking photos.

Waking early to research and trouble shoot I hightailed it to the Carrousel du Louvre, a spot I normally use to escape the queues lining up to get into the Louvre and slip in the ‘back entrance’ as it were, this time it was in search of the Apple Shop buried beneath the Louvre.  They didn’t come to my rescue as I had hoped, racing back across Paris the trusty Darty Electronics store did and I swiftly threw my old card reader in the nearest bin with a good riddance to you.

My fears of losing around 50 shots was quelled as I watched like magic, the new card reader download intact images and finally I uncrossed my fingers. I was back in business.





In an effort to avoid the queues at the refurbished Picasso Museum, I pre-purchased a ticket and audio guide on-line but much to my amazement, not one person was in the queue, not one.

Last year I gave up waiting in the long line, my patience had grown thin and the pain from the broken toe I had wasn’t coping with standing around in the cobbled courtyard.


The new open spaces and lack of crowds made it pleasant to move through the museum, but call me old fashioned, I think I prefer the rustic charm of the older version.


The museum felt slightly clinical and slightly too modern for my taste and it wasn’t completely intuitive of which path one should follow.

But that didn’t stop me from spending two hours strolling around, studying the sometimes controversial artist’s work and admiring the building itself, which has definitely benefited from the long renovation.





Call me crazy but I really love this piece.

The photo does not do it justice. Created in 1942 from recycled bicycle handlebars and seat, welded together to create Tête de taureau or the Bull’s Head.

Satisfied with my visit to the Picasso Museum, I was itching to get outside and explore Paris.

Now it was time to see if my research paid off and I could find a few courtyards to sneak into and whatever other treasures Paris has to offer.


This unassuming fountain at the end of a dead end street caused a burst of excitement to run through my body, at a glance it appears unremarkable but its the history behind why it is there in the first place and why it remains there today that interests me. 


Running off the pretty square of Place du Marché-Sainte-Catherine, where once a convent stood but later demolished to make way for a market square, this fountain was erected in 1783 to provide water for the fishmongers. If you click on the centre image to enlarge it you will see the decoration of fish and fresh produce, hence the name of the dead end street; Impasse de la Poissonnerie.

Since 1925 it became a listed monument which thankfully stops greedy developers from claiming the valuable Parisian land.


Next door is a courtyard that I was certain I wouldn’t gain entry to but a barred gate would allow me to squeeze my camera through and take some photos.

Seconds after I had composed the shot, I had to move and make way for a group of men who needed to get in, as the last man turned to ensure the gate was closed, perhaps he noticed a pleading puppy dog eyes look on my face and he beckoned me towards him, I was in! Woot woot!

I am often astounded at the size of some of the courtyards in Paris and excited by what surprises I will encounter and maybe that is what fuels my addiction.

What I found inside the large courtyard was the remnants of a medieval building, and a woman who banged so hard on her window at me as I tried to photograph her pretty flower boxes that she nearly smashed it.


My next discovery, beyond this gate is something you might want to jot down.











Overlooked by the gorgeous Hotel du Grand Veneur, is a charming Secret Garden.











As I took a welcomed rest in the quiet peaceful and secret garden, I wondered how many of these hidden gems, whether they be courtyards, gardens or artist studios exist around Paris and does any one person know of them all.

Lucky enough to have had the pleasure of discovering a few myself I am now forever curious what lies behind an iron gate, an unassuming single door or large heavy carriage doors, it is as if behind almost every door in Paris there is a secret which is generally steeped in history.


As soon as I wandered down yet another cobblestoned alley-way and caught a glimpse of the grand staircase that you see above, I knew exactly what I had stumbled across.

The Galerie Perrotin, I had read about it somewhere but it was the staircase that I wanted to see, which unfortunately for me was under renovation.  I almost chose not to venture inside, but when I did, I was confronted by naked women lounging around.

They looked so comfortable and natural, not a care in the world that I had to blink a couple of times before I realised that they were not living installations but sculptures. All the same it was quite unsettling, so much so that I was expecting for one of them to sit up and ask me what I was staring at and I think I would have screamed my head off if they did.


The gallerie had some really interesting installations, like this sculpture made from barbed wire that filled an entire room.

Even the gallery itself was interesting with super cool stainless steel staircases and stark rooms with highly polished concrete floors.

It turned out that the staircase wasn’t all that this Parisian courtyard had to offer.


It was a long but pleasant day, I was loosing the daylight in the winter afternoon and decided to call it a day for tomorrow I have a big adventure awaiting me.


Paris Adéle Information Necessaire:

Skip the lines to the Louvre:
Carrousel du Louvre
99 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

Picasso Museum – Official Website
5 Rue de Thorigny, 75003 Paris

Fishmongers Fountain:
Fontaine de Jarente
Impasse de la Poissonnerie, 75004 Paris

Secret Garden:
Square Saint-Gilles Grand Veneur-Pauline Roland
Rue de Hesse, 75003 Paris

Cool Galerie:
Galerie Perrotin – Official Website
76 rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris



2 Responses to Art and Secret Courtyards

  • http://superchrissy11

    I discovered Carrousel du Louvre last time, but I think I was so taken with all the gorgeous shops there that I didn’t notice that there is an entry to Louvre there as well !!
    I had to laugh at you and your hidden courtyards … Can just imagine that woman shouting at you in rapid French, while banging on the window … You could write a book ,just on your funny stories of these little things that happen to you .. Lol

    • http://parisadele

      She was so funny Chris, she must have thought that I was taking photos of her apartment but I couldn’t see a thing, she had white curtains, I don’t think some people understand how those curtains work. But I was very happy and surprised the man let me in, thanks for your comment

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