The Pigeon Feeder Of Rue Montorgueil

It was obvious the flock knew him well.

They flapped around in frenzied anticipation and then swooped down to his feet in an impatient huddle. I hadn’t noticed the arrival of the bent old man with the beatific smile until then, intent as I was on collecting supplies for our picnic on the Seine. He dragged a huge garbage bag on wheels that probably contained all his earthly possessions. Another smaller bag was filled with goodies for his avian friends.

This little tableaux held no appeal whatsoever to anyone else on the street. Not the pedestrians, or shop owners, or the cafe crowd. No one saw him. Perhaps it was easier that way. How many of the homeless poor back home, do I actually see?

But the joy on his face, belied his invisible status. 

The Pigeon Feeder on Rue Montorgueil, Paris

Below is a slideshow of the Rue Montorgueil attractions, that would otherwise have been the focus of this post:

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on

98 thoughts on “The Pigeon Feeder Of Rue Montorgueil

  1. This is what traveling is all about, you captured it beautifully through your words and images — stopping to really take notice of what is around you and appreciate the details.

  2. I’m afraid you may have misinterpreted what you saw. We were in Paris for two weeks in September and observed him as well. The first time we saw him it was raining. Pigon sitting atop his head as he tossed the bread at his feet. A few days later I saw from the window of our room. As I watched a while i saw his hand dart out grabbing at the ground then his hand disappeared inside his coat. We saw him a few days later near the Pompidou. I told my wife to watch, a couple of other tourist next to us looked at me with a curious look then back to the birds benefactor. With a speed that would surprise most his hand darted out…and in a blur disappeared under his coat. The other tourist looked at me…one with another curious look…one with a look of horror. As we watched one arm tucked tight as something moved under the old coat….he used his hands to tear newspaper and slipped it into a garbage bag. When he finished he retrieved a pigeon from his coat …thumb pressing the birds eyes open I presume to gage the birds health…then placed it in the plastic bag before leaving. Can we all say squab? 30 Euros at the restaurant near the Eifel Tower. No…I’m not joking.

    1. Oh that ruins the romance a little bit Richard!! Although, a few less pigeons can’t be such a bad thing really. And the poor guy has to eat. Is it legal, I wonder? I could do with a lot less outside my window 🙂 Thank you for stopping by to share your perspective.

  3. Hi Madhu,
    Thank you for seeing through the rags to the person underneath. Those are the photos and stories that really stick with me, and open peoples’ eyes. Wonderful and thoughtful post!

  4. Early each day in the steps of St. Paul
    A little old bird woman comes;
    In her own special way to the people she calls,
    Come, buy my bags full of crumbs.
    Feed the birds,
    tuppins a bag,
    tuppins, tuppins, tuppins a bag;

    This song came to mind when I viewed your post. Thanks for reminding us, Madhu, that sometimes, the simpler things are what make our soul sing.

  5. Madhu, I love that your focus was on the one that many overlook, see thru, and often are invisible in our society. He does have a lovely smile and he is not ignored. The pigeons love him. 🙂

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