06.20.21: Window shopping

Walkers look through the window of a pottery store on Rue Saint-Romain in Rouen, France.

Walkers look through the window of a pottery store on Rue Saint-Romain in Rouen, France.

Street photography in a French city

I liked this shot because of the composition, the variety of colors and items of interest, and the variety of stories that could be imagined. Who are these people? With how they are dressed, were they hiking through northwest France? And what inside the window captured their attention?

I enjoy doing street photography when visiting a city. Street photography, by definition, is photography of random, candid, unposed “moment in time” scenes in public places. In other words, a street photographer tries to capture everyday scenes in a way that tells a story.

Through the years I’ve photographed street scenes in cities across the U.S., combining self-guided walking tours with exercise and photography. I’ve used a number of the photos on my website in the past.

But in 2018, when we went on a Viking river cruise in France, I had a chance to photograph scenes on streets that were older than the United States.

This photo of walkers window shopping outside a pottery store was taken on Rue Saint-Romain (Saint Romain Street) in Rouen, northwest of Paris. The word “faiences” on the sign is French for pottery or earthenware.

I liked this shot because of the composition, the variety of colors and items of interest, and the variety of stories that could be imagined. Who are these people? With how they are dressed, were they hiking through northwest France? And what inside the window captured their attention?

Rue Saint-Romain is a short, narrow cobblestone street lined with half-timbered houses built between the 15th and 18th century. Many of the houses have shops — like Faiences Saint Romain — on the first floor.

The street is a historic area of an equally historic city. 

Rouen, which sits along the River Seine, was founded in the fourth century and was one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe. Through the centuries that followed Rouen was overrun, conquered, annexed to the French kingdom, annexed to English rule, recaptured by France, pillaged, laid siege to, and — during World War II — heavily damaged on D-Day. Joan of Arc, who supported a return to French rule from English rule, was burned at the stake in 1431 in Rouen.

The city is home to more than 110,000 residents and is the heart of a metropolitan area of about half a million people.

Rouen is one of a number of smaller French towns we visited during the Viking cruise along the River Seine. Each had its own interesting history, culture and sites.

It was a trip we won’t forget. And we’re looking forward to more Viking cruises once the pandemic eventually ends.

Tech specs

  • Date/time: Jul 18, 2018 2:40 PM   
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Lens: EF-S10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM 
  • Focal length: 15mm
  • Aperture: f/4
  • Shutter: 1/125 second
  • ISO: 400

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Photographs and text: Copyright - Pat D. Hemlepp. All rights reserved. Photographs may not be used without permission.

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