Paris Cats, In Pictures: Felines on Parade

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Paris Cats, In Pictures: Felines on Parade
cat in Paris

Le Fabuleux Destin de “Kitty” the kitten (Photo: Theadora Brack)

Flying high on a lark, I knock! Grab a perch because I’ve got a feathered tale to tell. A great ball of yarn to re-wind, so to squeak! Ever since watching Walt Disney’s “The Aristocats” movie at the age of nine on the family television set, I’ve been obsessed with France and les chats domestiques. There. There. I have said it.

Set in Paris, the cartoon flick was a game changer. Not only did I yearn to be the rhinestone-laden, Parisian glamour puss (a.k.a., “Duchess”), but I also fancied running away with her swashbuckling, orange tabby beau, the flamboyant prince of the boulevard, “Abraham de Lacey Giuseppe Casey Thomas O’Malley—O’Malley, the alley cat.”

I was smitten, bitten, hooked, and crooked.

Walt Disney’s “The Aristocats” movie

Ever since watching Walt Disney’s “The Aristocats” movie, I’ve been obsessed with France and les chats domestiques (Image: Moviestillsdb.com)

Oh, c’est très jolie, monsieur Thomas!” I’d spit out again and again at my reflection in the mirror, channeling my inner-Duchess, all the while vowing to live in the City of Light one day. Years later, when I scooted into my very own garret pad close enough to three fromageries to mark the changing of the seasons by the cheese, I made good on my vow, holy cow.

And now, I see cats. I see cats in Paris. All the time! Where? Where? They’re everywhere. Heck, once during a winter tempest, I rescued a teeny, tiny tortoiseshell cat found trembling on the wet cobblestones outside the Grand Hotel de Clermont, just a fur ball’s throw from where Édith Piaf made one of her legendary busking debuts in Pigalle. I think groove master Thomas O’Malley would have totally approved of my impromptu adoption of “Kitty” the kitten.

Anaïs Nin once wrote, “What I cannot love, I overlook,” but I’d push it a little further and say that what I do love, I can’t help but notice! Getting all reflective, “Bonjour, dame de chat!” is what I now say to my handheld mirror. With a decade-old Kitty still on my lap, still purring in French, of course.

During a winter tempest, I rescued a teeny, tiny tortoiseshell cat outside the Grand Hotel de Clermont (Photo: Theadora Brack)

During a winter tempest, I rescued a teeny, tiny tortoiseshell cat outside the Grand Hotel de Clermont (Photo: Theadora Brack)

In celebration of self-awareness, along with the upcoming International Hug Your Cat Day, let’s spend it with a few of my own favorite felines in the city. When out pounding the pavement, strutting the streets, or slinking down the alleyways, keep your peepers peeled for other appealing cat sightings. After all, cats are practically a part of the landscape in Paris.

As Thomas O’Malley the cat once crooned, “Everybody wants to be a cat because a cat’s the only cat who knows where it’s at! Everybody’s picking up on that feline beat ’cause everything else is obsolete!”

I completely concur. Now, let’s get to strutting!

cats in Paris

Good Thrill Hunting, 6th arrondissement (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Hear me roar! Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Do not tap on the glass! 18th arrondissement (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Can you feel the love tonight? 15th arrondissement (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

How much is that kitty in the window? 18th arrondissement (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Unofficial Princess Diana Shrine, Pont-de l’Alma (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Heaven: Café de les Chats on rue Sedaine (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Turn around bright eyes, Marché aux puces de Saint-Ouen (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Crafts and Crazy Witchcraft on rue d’Orsel, 18th arrondissement (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

La Vie en Rose, 18th arrondissement (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Rose petals come on little cat feet, 4th arrondissement (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Un Jour un Chat! 18th arrondissement (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Red Pepper Patrol on rue d’Orsel, 18th arrondissement (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Love Cat spotted at Halle Saint-Pierre, rue Ronsard, 18th arrondissement (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

I see your halo, Glamour Puss, Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Making a connection at Place d’Anvers, Pigalle (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Guillaume Apollinaire + Marc Chagall = The Cat’s Pajamas, Musée d’Orsay, (Photo: Theadora Brack

cats in Paris

Running the show at the Hôtel André Gill, 18th arrondissement (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Getting all catty at the Aux Noctambules on Boulevard Clichy, Pigalle (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Ferocious Feline on Fire, Fontaine Saint-Sulpice (Photo: Theadora Brack)

cats in Paris

Bonjour, dame de chat! is what I now say to my mirror. (Image: T. Brack’s archives)

 

Photo credit : Red Pepper Patrol on rue d’Orsel, 18th arrondissement (Photo: Theadora Brack)

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Theadora is a Paris-based writer who has a regular column, called “My Life in Paris," in France Today magazine.

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Comments

  • Vivienne Mackie
    2020-04-30 20:55:26
    Vivienne Mackie
    Theadora, what a wonderful article! I love it, and the way you approach the subject. Vivienne

    REPLY

  • Dorothy Cameron
    2019-08-30 07:35:07
    Dorothy Cameron
    Am just back from 9 days looking after a 'big fat ginger' in the 17th...was in heaven ... have now been catsitting for years and ABSOLUTELY LOVE THEM...GIVE ME YOUR CATS X

    REPLY

  • Eleanor
    2016-07-01 21:34:54
    Eleanor
    I just spent two weeks in Paris in early June and had lunch at one of Le Cafe des Chats because I love cats! It was a great experience and the food was very good. Highly recommend it.

    REPLY

  • Mélanie
    2016-06-28 08:08:13
    Mélanie
    love it! <3 btw, you already know I'm a cat lover... :)

    REPLY

  • thomas a bradley
    2016-06-27 23:08:15
    thomas a bradley
    Theadora, there is no one like to to put together a theme with such exquisite illustrations and photos.

    REPLY

  • Martino
    2016-06-10 13:48:22
    Martino
    Wow! Cats out the wah-zoo! I love this!! That rooftop scene from Aristocats reminded me of my favorite Montmartre painting, "The Apotheosis of the Cats" by Steinlen. I'm pretty sure Disney must have been inspired by it. Take a look at http://www.steinlen.net/main.php?g2_itemId=7701 and I think you'll see what I mean. The hill in the background shows Montmartre before the Sacre Coeur church was built on top. You wrote a really fun article--Thanks so much, Theadora!

    REPLY

  • Jenn
    2016-06-10 09:06:48
    Jenn
    On a recent trip, I walked past a restaurant mouser every day. Though I have the photos on a thumb drive, I can't share. The Aristocats, I've been a Francophile ever since.

    REPLY

  • Denise
    2016-06-09 21:30:39
    Denise
    Bonjour Theadora! I share your passion for Paris and kitties! My daughter and I visited Paris in October 2013 and saw many pretty kitties at Pere Lachaise, Luxembourg Gardens and Montmartre Cemetery. We wanted to take them all home with us! I have 2 rescued black cats, both 10 years old, and Tia looks identical to the chat noir in the Salis posters - even has the same whimsical whiskers! I am American but half French (100% French in my soul though!). My dream is to live in Paris some day. After 2 days in Paris, I told my daughter that this is where I was meant to live. I felt so "at home" in Paris. I just loved exploring its cobblestoned streets. Paris is the most beautiful place one earth! Vive Paris and Vive Kitties! ;-)

    REPLY

  • Denise
    2016-06-09 21:25:10
    Denise
    Bonjour Theadora! I, too, am obsessed with Paris and kitties. My oldest daughter and I were In Paris in October 2013 - during chestnut season, such a beautiful time of year in Paris! We love animals and have rescued many dogs and cats over the years. My daughter works for Merial in the U.S. We saw many "tres jolie" chats at Pere Lachaise and Montmartre Cemetery. Your tortoise shell kitty is very cute! I have 2 rescued kitty-girls, both 10 years old. One is a "chat noir" (British Bombay) and looks just like the one in the famous Salis posters (whimsical whiskers and all!). Just wanted to let you know I share your two passions and can't wait to visit Paris again. Vive Paris et Vive les Chats!

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  • Virginia
    2016-06-09 17:24:56
    Virginia
    J'adore les chats à Paris!!! My 7 year old granddaughter kept a running count of the chats she spotted while we stayed in Paris!

    REPLY