This post was originally published September 8, 2013, revised July 26, 2023
While strolling through Paris on my last visit, I realized just how many places and locations here have inspired some of my very favorite Hermès carrés.
This being so with the Quai aux Fleurs by Hugo Grygkar from 1952.
The Quai aux Fleurs, The Flower Pier, is a street in Paris located on the Île de la Cité, one of the islands in the Seine River, and runs on its northeastern bank almost directly across from the Hôtel de Ville, the City Hall of Paris.
In 1879, the street changed its name from Quai Napoléon to its present name, Quai aux Fleurs, which was inspired by a nearby flower market.
Today, the flower vendors are gone, but the street that hugs the Seine with its stately buildings and posh apartments, is still here and offers up some spectacular views of the Hôtel de Ville, which looks more like a Châteaux de la Loire than an administration building.
The Île de la Cité is of course also home to one of the most iconic cathedrals, Notre-Dame of Paris. I originally wrote this post six years before the 2019 devastating fire, which destroyed a large part of the roof and the fleche of this iconic cathedral.
But today I am not here for the cathedral, but the gardens, known as Square Jean XXIII.
When in Paris, I make sure I come here at least once, leaving the bustling city behind. Here I find refuge in the shade of mature trees, the lulling sounds of the distant fountain as I rest on one of the benches. It is not the views of the River Seine, its many stunning bridges, nor the impressive Haussmannian apartment buildings along its shores that bring me here. No, it is the flowers, the birds, the butterflies, the climbing ivy …
As I amble through the lush gardens of Notre-Dame, I spy clusters of the bluest of delphiniums, I smile and wonder … perhaps it was here that Grygkar found his muse …