Monday, 12 September 2011

Photos of the Marché aux Oiseaux in Paris

One of the things that drew me to write in Paris a second time this summer was the discovery that there is a Marché aux Oiseaux on the Île de la Cité, just behind the esplanade of Notre Dame. It's been there since 1808 and is on Sundays. The rest of the week it's a flower market. Some of the cages have one bird in, others are sadly crammed with budgies, quails, lovebirds and cockatiels.

There were
kakarikis – red-crowned parakeets, turtle doves, Japanese sparrows, African greys and many more, even rabbits and three particularly cute black and white rats. They all made quite a noise among the flowers and accessories, the vistas of hanging empty cages for sale. Some birds seemed treated with care, many not. I was there on a research mission but what a feast of colour! I witnessed a few sales. A sudden squawk and a hand was thrust into a cage then out, a tiny flurry of canary feathers dispatched into a paper box and one yellow feather left floating down.