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, and partly contributed to give the French capital the nickname of “City of Lights“. On the 1st January 2009, 61,900 candelabra and 29,800 lights attached to buildings were recorded in Paris.

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 pictured near Hôtel des Invalides.

Lamp post near Hôtel des Invalides © French Moments

Lamp post near Hôtel des Invalides © French Moments

A double-arm version is seen featured in Place de la Bastille:

Lamp Post in Place de la Bastille © French Moments

Lamp Post in Place de la Bastille © French Moments

This old-fashioned-style lamp post like this one in Place Dauphine can be found all over town.

Lamp Post in Place Dauphine © French Moments

Lamp Post in 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 by the stairs of Montmartre © French Moments

Lamp posts by the stairs of Montmartre © French Moments

Lamp Post on Pont des Arts © French Moments

Lamp Post on Pont des Arts © French Moments

Lamp posts at the Louvre © French Moments

Lamp posts at the Louvre © French Moments

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

Lamp posts on Pont Notre-Dame © French Moments

Lamp posts on Pont Notre-Dame © French Moments

Lamp Post on Pont de l'Archevêché © French Moments

Lamp Post on Pont de l’Archevêché © French Moments

Lamp Post near Panthéon © French Moments

Lamp Post near Panthéon © French Moments

Lamp post at the Louvre © French Moments

Lamp post at the Louvre © French Moments

Lamp post at the Tuileries © French Moments

Lamp post at the Tuileries © French Moments

On the banks of 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

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

Lamp post in Montmartre Village © French Moments

Banque de France Lamp Post © French Moments

Banque de France Lamp Post © French Moments


The Candelabra Lamp Posts of Paris

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

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

Candelabra in Place de l'Opéra © French Moments

Candelabra in Place de l’Opéra © French Moments

Candelabra in Place Vendome © French Moments

Candelabra in Place Vendome © French Moments

Candelabra in the Grands Boulevards © French Moments

Candelabra in the Grands Boulevards © French Moments

Three arm candelabra near the Petit Palais © French Moments

Three arm candelabra near the Petit Palais © French Moments

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

 

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

Candelabra with five arms in the Louvre:

Candelabra with five lamps at the Louvre © French Moments

Candelabra with five lamps at the Louvre © French Moments

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

Place de la Concorde Paris June 2015 05 © French Moments

Place de la Concorde, Paris © French Moments

Place de la Concorde Paris June 2015 03 © French Moments

Lamppost, Place de la Concorde © French Moments

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

A lamp post of the bridge © French Moments

Pont Alexandre III in Paris © French Moments

The lamp posts of the bridge © French Moments

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.

Candelabra lamp post in Place de l'Hôtel de Ville © French Moments

Candelabra lamp post in 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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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. In 2014 he moved back to Europe from Sydney with his wife and daughter to be closer to their families and to France. He has a background teaching French 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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