Wednesday 26 October 2016

Paris for Women 2016

Sept. 24, 2016 Toronto Pearson Airport
I took my seat on Air Canada's overnight flight to Paris. As usual the seats were too small and the leg room too short. Now I have complained as everyone does, I will continue with my story. Not long into the flight dinner was served, I was watching a movie that was not worth the time but being hearing impaired I don't have a lot of selection in flight. This one had captioning. I won't share it with you as it really wasn't my idea of entertainment.
I put on my sleep mask, turned off my hearing aid and put my head on my pillow (I carry my own feather pillow on overnight international flights). I was asleep in that kind of sleep where you think, you are asleep but maybe you are awake.
On arrival I was ready to tour having slept at least 2 maybe 3 hours in flight. I am getting better at this each flight not sure what either the sleeping in flight or convincing myself that I slept inflight.  The young woman sitting next to me sat in her seat on boarding, put her head back and was asleep. She woke to eat her meal and then back to sleep. She slept from Toronto to Paris. Now to find out how she did that.

On arrival in Paris we were met by our pre-arranged bus and drove into the city of lights. The bus took us to the hotel. We checked in, dropped our luggage in the hall near the hotel desk. Our itinerary said that we would go to Notre Dame Cathedral as it was Sunday and where else would you go in Paris on Sunday?
We went by metro and I got my first 10000 steps walking in the metro from one station to the next. This was not a favourite on the trip for my group. Paris is best seen walking but then for those from my part of the world, walking is often a new adventure. They did so well walking for 10 days in Paris.

This blog is supposed to be my travel sketch journal so I will now add my first opportunity to sketch in Paris this trip. I hope they continue at home.

Welcome to Luxembourg Gardens, a magical park located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. It was created, beginning in 1612 by Marie de' Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France, for a new residence she constructed, the Luxembourg Palace. The garden today is owned by the French Senate, which meets in the Palace. It covers 23 hectares and is known for its lawns, tree-lined promenades, flowerbeds, the model sailboats on its circular basin, and for the picturesque Medici Fountain, built in 1620.

A quiet time sitting in the sun looking down the long green space and gardens was a special time and a wonderful way to start my time in Paris. 

I have been to Paris many times and only visited this garden for short periods of time not to sketch just to visit.  This trip with a chance to sketch I returned and returned paint brush in hand and a smile on my face.
On heading back to our hotel from the gardens we passed this small rather deco building just before the exit gate. A chance to sit in the sun, paint brush in hand.

You can't always be out walking and looking even though this is my favourite thing to do in Paris, I did return to my room one afternoon, sit on my bed and sketch the view from my window. It is the view from most windows if you are lucky enough to spend time in a small hotel on a narrow Paris street. We stayed at Hotel Delambre in Montparnasse a great location for all our selected destinations. A 35 minute walk to Notre Dame and Shakespeare and Company cutting across Luxembourg Gardens of course. We could also catch a bus or take the Metro to anyplace on our itinerary.


Of course there is more to Paris then Luxembourg Gardens so on Wednesday we headed to the Louvre. Yes we went to see the Mona Lisa. On Wednesday the Louvre is open until 8:00 PM so it is the best day for those who want to really see the Louvre. I have been before and find the number of visitors more then I need when there is so much to see outside.  With a couple of my travellers we enjoyed a great meal in the Louvre then walked through the Tuileries across the Palace de la Concorde where a big tent had been set up to house the world  of fashion. September is fashion month in Paris! We continued up the Champs Elysees, looking in windows enjoying this amazing international shopping street. A new restaurant was to open believe it or not "Five Guys". This felt rather strange but it is an international shopping street and hamburgers are starting to become of interest to the Parisians.  Good luck Five Guys.

As I didn't date my sketches and they were done quickly as I sat with my friends in a cafe watching the world go by this next sketch was done sitting outside a cafe (where most Parisian sit relaxing with a glass to watch the world go by) near the Seine on our way back to Montparnasse after time on the Champs Elysees . I don't know the date but it was at what I thought was rush hour. The cars were coming across the bridge on the Seine from the left bank. So many cars on these beautiful old streets and bridges moving bumper to bumper. I don't think Paris was made for cars.  The wine was good and when painting there really is no time to do much more then look and sketch so I spent a lovely half hour enjoying the view, sipping my wine and sharing with my friends. Now this is Paris! Horns, wind, moist air (maybe it is rain) and talk, quiet talk.....

September 30, 2016
I do remember where this was and why I was sketching. These advertisement structures that you find throughout Paris are really very interesting and very colourful. This one was across the street on the Champs Elysees from the Marriott Hotel. It had started to rain and we were walking back from the Arch de Triomphe. What do you do in the rain in Paris? You find a cafe, one out of the rain and you order a glass of wine and watch everyone running to do the same thing. A glass of wine at the Marriott is 10 Euros but the view is worth every penny. 


For anyone reading this that is a sketcher / painter, you will know what I am doing. I purchased a new brush a 'Petit Gris', in a lovely artist supply shop just around the corner from my hotel. A very lucky coincidence don't you think? There were in fact two great artist supply shops in this area. I wanted to try my new brush which is a mop and to do this in my little journal I needed to do what I call a very loose sketch. I was sitting in a park not far from my hotel, it was cold...yes it was very cold...there were many children and their parents enjoying the park. The sun was trying very hard to stay out from behind the clouds. I was sketching quickly and this my friends is the result. Anne-Laure what do you think?

October 2nd 
Back in the park in the afternoon the weather had changed so you can see in my sketch more detail, more time. I have a terrible habit of overdoing a sketch because I sit too long in the same place. I was taken by the roof top tiles and the interesting chimney pots. The tree in the foreground even though it looks like an evergreen (coniferous) is a deciduous and each of those little dots are leaves. I am struggling with green. This green is viridian, a little ultramarine blue and some lemon yellow. I don't have it quite right. I am looking down an alley, a narrow passage between houses. I am enjoying using purple from french ultramarine blue and scarlet lake,  instead of black in my watercolours. 

Our last day in Paris, October 3, 2016. 
It is always sad to think that such an amazing time is over and on the 4th of October we will be heading home. I certainly didn't sketch enough, I certainly didn't see enough, I certainly didn't spend enough time in the Louvre or just sitting in a cafe but I certainly did more of that then I would have at home. 
This day, our last day I went with my friend back to Luxembourg Gardens.  She said that if she did anything in Paris on this last day she wanted to go back to the park have a picnic and enjoy the day. 
We walked around the outside path of the garden, left the gardens and found a wine store where we purchased a half bottle of wine. The proprietor kindly popped the cork and gave us two small plastic glasses. We continued our walk and found a shop selling what they call in Paris, street food. I purchased a baguette with cheese, ham and butter. You don't find butter used in this way in Paris, so it was a real treat. With our sandwich and oh yes a wonderful apple tart...I can still taste it...we returned to the garden found a chair and enjoyed our picnic in the sun. In front of us was the Luxembourg Palace. If you look back to the first sketch in this memory to the sketch of the Luxembourg Palace you will find me sitting in this chair to the left looking down on the palace at about the
 2nd floor.

I had been in to the art market near our hotel on Sunday. There were several artists selling paintings of this chair. I enjoyed saving myself the 42 Euros they were asking and the time looking at my place in the sun. 
It was getting warm so we decided to walk along and find a place out of the sun. There was a gardener on a large machine which made a great deal of noise and many children running around following what I think was a game set out by their teacher. My friend was reading and found it all just too disturbing to stay in that spot. With my chair finished we made one more move before heading back to the hotel. A beautiful flower garden beneath an amazing old tree. The branch held up at one end by a stake. I settled in and started to once more with my Petit Gris paint brush try and capture in a very loose style the colours of the garden. Along came the gardener and his machine. Hence we departed Luxembourg Garden and headed back to our hotel. It was a beautiful day and a colourful ending to our time in Paris.