Whereas his fellow contemporaries dealt with more figural subjects, Raza chose to focus on landscapes in the 1940s and 50s, inspired in part by a move to France in 1949. Enamored with both the vibrant and teeming cityscapes as well as the bucolic countryside of France, Les Toits de la rue St. Jacques is arguably one of Raza's earliest paintings made in France and according to the artist, a depiction of the view outside his first studio (either Rue de Fosseés St. Jacques or Rue de Lambre. Showing a collection of houses set against a rich honey yellow sky, Raza uses thick brushstrokes and a heavy impasto, stylistic devices which hint at his later 1970s abstractions. This early work is significant in that it represents the turning point between two stages of Raza's artistic development. While the subject matter is still recognizable, the color and the application of paint become the key elements of the work.