Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Le Baiser de l’Hotel de Ville

with 39 comments


Although not as iconic as Alfred Eisenstaedt’s the sailor kiss on the V-E Day, Robert Doisneau’s “The Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville,” taken on a Parisian street in 1950, is considered one of the most romanticand popular photos ever taken. Although Doisneau worked in Paris as a street photographer and stole many an intimate moment of Parisian couples, this classic shot was staged. However, this fact didn’t prevent the picture from gracing the walls of many freshman dorm rooms since its first production in 1986. More than 500,000 posters and 400,000 postcards have been reprinted from the original.

The picture was taken for a photo spread about Paris lovers for Life magazine, but the image stayed in the archives of Doisneau’s photo agency (Ralpho, which benefited greatly from this single picture) for more than 30 years before it was commercialized by a poster company. 

The picture’s success sparked controversies when several couples claimed that they were the subjects and sued Doisneau. In 1993, a former actress, Françoise Bornet sued Doisneau for $18,000 and a share of the royalty in the image, by claiming she was the women in the picture. The case was dismissed, but Doisneau admitted that he, Bornet and her boyfriend Jacques Carteaud staged the photo. The couple who would later separate were the students studying theater when Doisneau approached them.  Doisneau reflected, “I would have never dared to photograph people like that. Lovers kissing in the street, those couples are rarely legitimate.”


Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

May 8, 2009 at 5:59 am

Posted in Society

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39 Responses

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  1. France has to be my most favorite vacation destination. Each year that I visit I discover new things that I adore.

    Kimberly Fish

    February 27, 2010 at 11:31 pm

  2. […] on ohittamaton, valitsin kuitenkin version, jossa näkyy myös ranskankielinen teksti. Kuvat Robert Doisneaun, jonka useista otoksista on kiteytynyt mustavalkoisten tilannekuvien ikoneja. HUOM! Kuitenkin […]

  3. […] is a city of passion. Embraces in bustling boulevards like Doisneau’s iconic Le Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville are synonymous with romantic abandon. Not everyone has the good fortune to visit the City of Light […]

  4. […] iconici della storia della fotografia, come “Day in Times Square” di Alfred Eisenstaedt e “Le Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville” di Robert Doisneau. Man mano che l’immagine diventa un tormentone virale, cresce però anche […]

  5. Incroyable!!!!!

    Amy Loadman

    August 31, 2011 at 8:38 pm

  6. […] Paris is a collection of work by photographer Robert Doisneau.  His most famous work, Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville), can be seen here: https://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/le-baiser-de-lhotel-de-ville/ […]

  7. My husband & I were out thrifting today & we came across this wonderful poster 24″x32″ nicely framed in glass,we both loved it & thought we would google? How Lucky we are to learn about this great photographer & his work~!


    January 14, 2012 at 10:31 pm

  8. […] Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville […]

  9. I really want to go on a world tour


    April 14, 2012 at 5:01 am

  10. There will be many comments posted here in the next 24 hours


    April 14, 2012 at 6:34 am

  11. I miss when people cared to show and dress like this. Times change…


    April 14, 2012 at 6:46 am

  12. The Perfect Click ……………………………

    Manoj Kumar Chaudhari

    April 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm

  13. 🙂


    April 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm

  14. […] Les Halles” ma ormai è diventata una questione privata tra me e lui. Comunque ecco a voi un link con tutta la storia della foto in questione. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to […]

  15. I am shocked, I just learned that Alfred Eisenstaedt’s the sailor kiss on the V-E Day is a sexual assault picture http://cratesandribbons.com/


    October 5, 2012 at 11:57 pm

  16. […] schermo). Rivedete i due più famosi baci fotografici del secolo scorso, V-J Day in Times Square e Le baiser de l’Hotel de Ville e leggete le storie dei due scatti. Ecco il bacio (per ora) più famoso di questo secolo, e la sua […]

  17. […] Picture credit here […]

  18. […] propped up amongst the boxes like a piece of theatre is the famous kiss photo by Robert Doisneau,   click here  for the story behind the image…   Its only a few weeks until our French shipment docks […]

  19. This is a great photo that accompanied me through my photography exploration days. I think a bit of magic got lost when Doisneau revealed it was staged. It took away the fantasy effect and wanderings , wondering about the couple in the pic. Iconic, yes all the way.


    November 25, 2012 at 8:37 am

  20. […] Doisneau was a French photographer. He is renowned for his 1950 image Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Town Hall), a photograph of a couple kissing in the busy streets of Paris. The picture above is also a […]

  21. […] • Robert Doisneaus iscensatta kyss. […]

  22. I want to purchase this particular print. Where can purchase it?

    Yolanda hetnandez

    February 22, 2013 at 4:55 pm

  23. Where can I buy this particular print?

    Yolanda hernandez

    February 23, 2013 at 2:43 pm

  24. […] Doisneau was a French photographer, renowned for his iconic 1950 image Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Town Hall), a photograph of a couple kissing in the busy streets of […]

  25. レザー 財布 [最新ブランド財布] http://www.paralinterfce.info/


    September 26, 2013 at 12:14 am

  26. […] and all have a soft spot for a particular photograph. You are probably all familiar with “Le Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville” by Robert Doisneau. That’s my personal favorite. My aunt used to have a poster of that […]

  27. […] photograph/painting such as “The kiss by the Hôtel de Ville” by Robert Doisneau (https://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/le-baiser-de-lhotel-de-ville/).  In pairs, ask students to write questions about the picture for another pair of students.  For […]

  28. […]  Picture found on: https://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/le-baiser-de-lhotel-de-ville/ […]

  29. Reblogged this on Tin Can Rider.


    November 22, 2014 at 2:39 pm

  30. […] It was a modern take on the famous photo by photographer Robert Doisneau, Le Baiser de l’Hotel de Ville. […]

    The kiss | FranceSays

    January 21, 2015 at 6:40 am

  31. […] It seemed as if  every living room or cafe featured this photograph. The black and white print by Doisneau (later I learned out he was one of the first French humanist photographers and pioneer of photojournalism) was such a seminal part of my life it became like an eye floater. That couple were always there somewhere waiting to pop into view to remind me what true passion and longing might be. Worse still, it was almost a holographic message on love and romance for my young, open mind, as it turned out the photograph was staged. There is a great backstory to the photograph to be read here. […]

  32. You’re so interesting! I don’t believe I have read a single thing like that before. So wonderful to discover somebody with a few original thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is something that is required on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

    Boston Logan Limo

    February 22, 2015 at 1:22 pm

  33. […] Robert Doisneau / Via iconicphotos.wordpress.com […]

  34. […] amorous exploits and which gave the world sex-symbol Brigitte Bardot and romantic photographer Robert Doiseau – is only just linguistically embracing the popular pastime, but Laurence Laporte of the […]

  35. […] people around it. Near to this spot, another street artist juxtaposed the legendary Parisian photo The Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville with red paint on the couple symbolising gunshot wounds, alongside French words written in red […]

  36. […] Baiser de l’hotel de Ville (2009) Available at: https://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/le-baiser-de-lhotel-de-ville/ (Accessed: 6 October […]

  37. […] Robert Doisneau’s well-known Kiss by the Hotel de Ville, this one wasn’t […]

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