What Are The Different Lamp Posts Of Paris?

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Lamp posts have become part of Paris’ identity, so much so that one can easily recognise the French capital by their design. It comes at no surprise that Paris’ historical lamp posts are famous throughout the world for providing atmosphere and elegance on the city’s streets. Follow me to the discovery of the many lamp posts of Paris.

 

The Lamp Posts of Paris

Technically, a lamp post is a raised source of light on the edge of a street which is lit every night.

The first electric street lighting used arc lamps, designed in 1875 by a Russian electrical engineer, Pavel Yablochkov.

His candles were first used in 1878 to light the Grands Magasins du Louvre in Paris. It partly contributed to give the French capital the nickname of “City of Lights” (Ville Lumière in French).

On the 1st January 2009, Paris recorded 61,900 candelabra and 29,800 lights attached to buildings.

There are many different styles of lamp posts in Paris.

Some are very plain and modern, others are old-fashioned, fixed on a single pole or as a candelabra (candle tree), and a few are extravagantly ornate.


Single Pole Lamps

This is a common yet delicate lamp post found all over the city – here near Hôtel des Invalides.

Lamp post near Hôtel des Invalides © French Moments

Lamp post near Hôtel des Invalides © French Moments

A double-arm version in Place de la Bastille:

Lamp Post in Place de la Bastille © French Moments

Lamp Post in Place de la Bastille © French Moments

You can easily spot old-fashioned-style lamp posts like this one in Place Dauphine all over town.

Lamp Posts of Paris: Place Dauphine © French Moments

Lamp Posts of Paris: Place Dauphine © French Moments

A variant shape of the above is more elaborate and topped with a crown. It is a ‘single version’ of the famous candelabra and is also found in many parts of town:

  • by the stairs of Montmartre,
  • on Pont des Arts or
  • in the Napoleon Courtyard of the Louvre.
Lamp posts of Paris: Montmartre © French Moments

Lamp posts of Paris: Montmartre © French Moments

Lamp posts of Paris: Pont des Arts © French Moments

One of the lamp posts of Paris on Pont des Arts © French Moments

Lamp posts of Paris: Louvre © French Moments

The lamp posts of Paris in the courtyard of the Louvre © French Moments

You’ll see another classic lamp post in Paris on Pont Notre-Dame, Pont de l’Archevêché, near the Panthéon, at the Louvre and in the Tuileries Garden:

Lamp posts of Paris: Pont Notre-Dame © French Moments

Pont Notre-Dame and the lamp posts of Paris © French Moments

Lamp posts of Paris: Pont de l'Archevêché © French Moments

Pont de l’Archevêché © French Moments

Lamp posts of Paris: Panthéon © French Moments

The Panthéon © French Moments

The Louvre-Tuileries

The Louvre and the lamp posts of Paris © French Moments

The courtyard of the Louvre © French Moments

The Tuileries and the lamp posts of Paris © French Moments

In the Tuileries © French Moments

Pont de la Tournelle

On the banks of the River Seine, Pont de la Tournelle linking the Left Bank to Île Saint-Louis features a particular single pole rather unusual:

Lamp Post on Pont de la Tournelle © French Moments

The statue of St. Geneviève, Pont de la Tournelle and the statue of St. Geneviève © French Moments

Rounded lamp posts can create romantic shadows like in Place des Vosges.

Rounded lamp post in Place des Vosges © French Moments

Rounded lamp post in Place des Vosges © French Moments

Shadow of lamp post in Place des Vosges © French Moments

Shadow of lamp post in Place des Vosges © French Moments

In addition, there are many narrow streets in Paris (mainly in the districts of Marais, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Latin Quarter and Montmartre) where the lighting is simply attached to the façades of the buildings.

Lamp post attached to the façade of a street in central Paris © French Moments

Lamp post attached to the façade of a street in central Paris © French Moments

Lamp post in Montmartre Village © French Moments

In the village of Montmartre © French Moments

Banque de France Lamp Post © French Moments

Lamp post at the Banque de France © French Moments


The Candelabra Lamp Posts of Paris

There are many types of candelabra in Paris with a varying number of arms.

First, candelabra with three arms in Place de l’Opéra, Place Vendôme, in the Grands Boulevards, and near the Petit-Palais:

Lamp posts of Paris: place de l'Opéra © French Moments

The candelabra, place de l’Opéra © French Moments

Lamp posts of Paris: place Vendôme © French Moments

Place Vendôme and its candelabra © French Moments

Place de l'Opéra © French Moments

Lamp posts of Paris: place de l’Opéra © French Moments

Three arm candelabra near the Petit Palais © French Moments

Three arm candelabra near the Petit Palais © French Moments

Place Clemenceau

And a more modern version of three-arm candelabra as pictured in Place Clemenceau (Champs-Élysées), looking like water drops:

Three arm lamp post in Place Clemenceau © French Moments

Place Clemenceau © French Moments

Place de l’Hôtel de Ville

Here are candelabra with four arms in Place de l’Hôtel de Ville:

Candelabra with five arms in Place de l'Hôtel de Ville © French Moments

Candelabra with five arms in Place de l’Hôtel de Ville © French Moments

Louvre

Then candelabra with five arms in the Louvre:

The Louvre © French Moments

The Louvre © French Moments

The lamp posts on Place de la Concorde are candelabra with incredibly intricate details.

Lamp Posts of Paris: Place de la Concorde © French Moments

The Eiffel Tower from Place de la Concorde © French Moments

Lamp Posts of Paris: Place de la Concorde © French Moments

Place de la Concorde, Paris © French Moments

Lamp Posts of Paris © French Moments

Lamp Posts of Paris: Place de la Concorde © French Moments

Pont Alexandre III

Then the most extravagant lamp posts of Paris are without doubt those standing on Pont Alexandre III with ornate candelabra reminiscent of La Belle Époque.

Pont Alexandre III in Paris © French Moments

Pont Alexandre III and the Eiffel Tower © French Moments

Pont Alexandre III in Paris © French Moments

The lamp posts of the bridge © French Moments

Place de l’Hôtel de Ville

Finally the silhouette of some lamp posts in Paris can look fantastic when in presence of a famous monument. Here in the square of Hôtel de Ville.

Lamp posts of Paris: Place de l'Hôtel de Ville © French Moments

Place de l’Hôtel de Ville © French Moments


English-French Vocabulary

(f) for féminin, (m) for masculin, (adj) for adjective and (v) for verbs

  • arm = bras (m)
  • bank = rive (f)
  • branch = branche (f)
  • candelabra = candélabre (m)
  • City of Lights = Ville Lumière (f)
  • lamp post = lampadaire (m), réverbère (m)
  • pavement = trottoir (m)
  • stair = escalier (m)
  • street = rue (f)

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Lamp posts of Paris © French Moments

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About Author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management.

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