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. Marvelous post :D. You saw a rue in Paris, and pigeons and of course you think of me 😉 :D. I am much grateful, Madhu 🙂 A terrific entry for my Thursday’s Special. Thank you, dear 😀

  2. Lovely pictures Madhu. I absolutely love the third one, where you have captured so name of the birds taking flight 🙂

    1. Thank you. My favourite is the last one, where he seems to be looking the pigeon directly in the eye! A communion that binds them beyond gratitude!

  3. Such joy and satisfaction! We all need to be needed and appreciated don’t we? I wonder if the passers-by don’t look because they are used to such sights, or if they don’t care … yet you have captured something precious!

    1. The first I hope Christine. It would be terrible if it was because they didn’t care. I know how easy it is to be inured to poverty, especially when there is too much of it around. It could even be a survival instinct. Ironically no other face in any of those shots expresses as much joy as his!!

    1. That is what caught my attention in the first place Olivia. And how it was missing from every other face around! Thank you for your visit and comment.

  4. how beautiful that he finds beauty and joy in those birds, and you found beauty and joy in him! i’ve missed seeing you – and everyone – for these past months, but i should be online more often – soon!


    1. Delighted to have you back Lisa! I haven’t been very regular either. Look forward to catching up with you. Take care 🙂

  5. He filled many stomachs. Taken at one level, he lived his life well for that day. I enjoyed the tale and preferred the pictures of the homeless man and the exuberant pigeons.

    I must be getting old!

    1. Me too. But I don’t particularly care for the word ‘old’ Eric 🙂 I would like to think our tastes are evolving.

  6. Wow! I just love feeding birds. The look of contentment on his face says it all. Beautiful pictures and post. 🙂

  7. I saw a homeless person once too, on Trafalgar square I think, who enjoyed his time with the pigeons. The joy spent in communing with the birds reminds me of how little we enjoy the simple things in life when we are rushing from one thing to the next.
    Thank you for sharing these photos with us – they are beautiful.

  8. Thanks for taking us to the beautiful Rue Montorgueil, Madhu, and especially introducing us to the peaceful and serene (and maybe fulfilled?) homeless man. 🙂

    1. He certainly seems more fulfilled than a lot of people I know. Ironical isn’t it? Thank you for stopping by Cathy. Hope all is well with you.

      1. Yes, sometimes the most simple lives are most fulfilling, Madhu. I miss my simple life in Oman; I find life in the US is much too complicated and difficult. 🙂

        1. Sorry to hear that Cathy. Life is like that sometimes. I hope you find your balance. Take care 🙂

    1. Thank you. His smile reminds me of Robin Williams, and I think he looks a bit like ‘Saul’ of Homeland 🙂

  9. Madhu, this is beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes to think of how we all overlook such a gentle man in tune with his surroundings. We need to see people like him. Thank you for the reminder, and for being the one to see him and show him to us.

  10. A most amazing sight, Madhu. The pigeons see and love him for his generosity, even though the people passing by, just ignore him. I’m not sure if this is a sad or happy post. 😕

  11. I agree with Sally, …even in its difficult times. He had his joyful moments. Beautifully done, Madhu!

  12. No wonder he caught your eyes! What an amazing person and the joy on his face is so precious. A life full of compassion can only bring joy. Thank you so much for this Madhu. 🙂

  13. You have captured a lovely moment in the man’s day – It reminded me of the old lady that walks down my street daily to feed the gulls and pigeons – it is her little hobby and it gets her out of the house everyday…. Love rue Montorgueil spent some time there with family.. great images as always

  14. This photo-journalist irruption into the Paris street scene put me in mind of Patti Kuche’s photo-journalism. You are both wizards, not only with the camera, but with empathy with people.

  15. Great focus on this subject (homelessness/poverty). Your banner photo is incredible, the pigeons look unreal. I really enjoyed the face of this man, he seems so at peace within himself. I also enjoyed the slide show. Nothing like Paris.

    1. Thank you! I am delighted that you liked this post so much Angeline! Agree wholeheartedly with ‘Nothing like Paris’ 🙂

  16. Ah, that’s the thing – you’ll never forget that spot, not because of its charming Parisian buildings and chic streetscapes, but because a homeless old man distributed food to pidgins. As bystanders his motivation is a little mystery, but it’s clear birds and man rejoice in their daily ritual. It’s a beautiful, very human scene, Madhu, beautifully captured.

    1. You are right, that street will always hold a special place in my heart for this reason. Great to see you back Meredith 🙂

  17. It’s beautiful, him and the pigeons and how invisible it all is. And I like how you add the little slideshow at the end, of how the post could have been. There is a little something in you, Madhu. Do not let it flicker out.

    1. I can’t imagine how anyone could ignore the birds’ frenzy! Perhaps it was too familiar a sight for them. Thank you Luann 🙂

  18. 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. 🙂

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

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