Autumn leaves aside, the colours of Paris are subtle shades of stone, cream and grey with black and touches of gold.  This gentleman, settled comfortably on a bollard while he talks on the phone, tones perfectly with the background.

In France the facades of buildings are regarded by law as part of the public domain, and as such are subject to rules on the choice of building materials, colours and other features.  Local regulations are set by each commune (or local authority) and it seems that the further south you go, the more colour is acceptable, but it’s not really that simple.

Haussman’s nineteenth century style guide for Paris included specific rules about the colour of window frames and which floors of a building should have continuous balconies.  Rules have been relaxed a bit since then but if the owners of a building want to paint the facade they still need to apply for a certificate of works from the town hall first.  Maybe all the proposals for orange masonry paint and purple doors are turned down, or maybe Parisians just know not to make the suggestion!

P.S.  Since writing this post I’ve looked back at the photos on my home page and noticed the number of red doors.  Doors in central Paris stand out as a touch of strong colour on the subtly coloured facades.  The predominate door colours are dark blues and greens (as well as black) but a strong red is not uncommon, even in the most historic areas.  Clearly red doors are an established tradition.  The red paint fades through a lovely range of shades before the next repainting, due every ten years according to one set of official guidelines!