Place de la Concorde and a Chic Breakdown in Paris

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Editor’s note: Have you ever returned from traveling somewhere, remembered a scene that told a whole story, and said: “I wish I took a picture of that,”? Snapping a few atypical Paris photos of a broken down car in Place de la Concorde and letting her imagination run away for a few minutes, Tuula Mattson shows us a scene we might say that about.

Ahh, Paris…the lights, the sounds, and the experiences you can only have in one of the most interesting cities in the world.  Probably one of my favorite things to do when I visit la capitale is to promenade down its grand boulevards and imagine what it would have been like to live in the Paris of old – a life where stately carriages whisked away finely-dressed madames & monsieurs to impossibly chic dinner parties (with impossibly-high hairstyles to match).  For me, it’s quite difficult to stand just about anywhere in the Tuileries Gardens, gaze upon that massive palace of elegance known simply as the Louvre, and not feel inspired.  Well, that and the handful Parisian chocolate pastries I’m usually toting on my “walk”, have me feeling pretty romantic by the end of the day about the City of Light.

As I was ambling through the Tuileries Gardens one vaguely hot summer afternoon last August (crumb-filled patisserie bag in hand), I was more than delighted to come across this “breakdown” scene smack-dab on the Place de la Concorde.  Of course not so delighted for the poor men who were stuck in the sun with their now-defunct car, but delighted that I was having one of those fabulous travel moments that allow us to escape reality for even a split second…and dream.

“Whether he was the next Armani or simply a trendy Arab prince didn’t matter too much to me at that moment, the bigger question of the day was: did they need any company? And if so, could I bring my pain aux chocolates with me?” 

That afternoon, I was caught dreaming about who they were and where they had been going in their chic clothes & fancy car.  I imagined one to be an heir to an immense fashion house who had hired the car (on a rich-whimsy of course) to take him to the opening of his newest boutique.  Otherwise, he was surely the son of a Sultan.  Well, whether he was the next Armani or simply a trendy Arab prince didn’t matter too much to me at that moment, the bigger question of the day was: did they need any company? And if so, could I bring my pain aux chocolates with me?

Obviously, I never got to the bottom of the chic breakdown story, but it left me not only with a great memory in Paris, but also a wonderful reminder of what travel allows us to do – escape, dream, and indulge our wildest imaginations.

* All photos by Tuula Mattson © All rights reserved

Paris de la Concorde – Most Visited Place in Paris

Header Photo by Egie Aroa



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9 thoughts on “Place de la Concorde and a Chic Breakdown in Paris”

  1. Pingback: Twitted by petitfranceblog
  2. Absolutely delightful, Tuula! 🙂 I’m smiling so big because it was this time last year that I was ambling through the Tuileries, a bag of pain au chocolat in my hand. LOVE that you took photos of this moment. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Twitted by foodloverkathy
  4. I do love observing moments like this. I’m sure to those people, it seems to mundane, but it’s so much more interesting to us as outsiders! Those poor guys must have been so frustrated, but hey, at least they were surrounded by beautiful scenery 🙂 I was in Istanbul in February, and I saw a bride and groom and their families leaving the grounds of the Blue Mosque (not sure if they got married in there or just nearby) and getting into cars to leave. It was fun watching them and seeing the bride wondering what their story was, and what weddings are like in Turkey. I was able to get a pic of them–that made me happy!

  5. That’s a great story Emily…and glad you managed to get a photo of the scene! I really like those opportunities to see what’s happening in the local culture as well – the everyday scenes or more what you experienced …a really special event. I’d have wondered about their story was as well & what a cool place to see it all unfold… thanks for sharing this!

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