February 24, 2010

L'heure bleue

Place de la Concorde and the Eiffel Tower during l'heure bleue by Paris Breakfasts

I learned something new this morning while reading Paris Breakfasts's post about Guerlain. Apparently the French expression l'heure bleue refers to the brief time of day where there is neither full daylight nor complete darkness and there is a special quality to the light. I particularly like this time of day here in the city, when it's not completely dark, yet the lights have turned on and all of the buildings and street lights have a soft glow.

One of Guerlain's fragrances is named L'Heure Bleue and here is a flowery description of the scent's origin from the company website:

L’Heure Bleue was born in 1912 of the fleeting sensation that inspired the Impressionist painters whose works Jacques Guerlain collected. He pictured this bouquet of roses softened with iris, violet and vanilla, which evoke his favorite moment of the day when, as he put it, “the night has not yet found its star” and all of nature’s elements are cast in blue light.

Dreamy, no? I've also heard this time of day called golden hour or magic hour, but I think I'll call it l'heure bleue from now on.