My Last Full Day In Paris

I decide to go back to the Louvre today to do some drawing but on arriving I discover that the first Sunday of the month the museum is open to everyone, so it is absolutely packed, wall to wall people!  Certainly not conducive to study and drawing so I head over to the Eugene Délacroix museum on the Left Bank instead.

On the way I stop in at Saint-Germain-Des-Prés, the oldest church in Paris.  There are marble columns inside that date from 512 AD.  The church has been repaired and enlarged over the centuries and is an example of Early Gothic and Romanesque styles. The church as I saw it today was mostly built in 1163 but it is once again in need of repairs and restorations.

DSC02558This is the view from the north west corner and the sculpture of a head in the bottom right of the picture is by Picasso.


The view from the front door.  This church was beautifully painted with many stained glass windows high above the church floor.


The pillars and columns are covered in painted designs…

DSC02536 and I also loved the pillar’s beautiful bases.
DSC02517I was surprised to see that one of the stained glass windows had a small part that opened.  It was very high up, so I have no idea how they get it opened and closed.


A bust and chandelier were nicely silhouetted against this window.


The colours are incredible.  Stained glass windows need light to show off their beauty.


This picture is a bit dark, these cathedrals are always quite dark inside, but it does show the windows that encircle the church.  Just around the corner from the church and down a little side street is the museum I am looking for.


Here is the entrance to the Musée National Eugène Dèlacroix’ which contains his home and studio.  One of the fascinating things about Paris is the way a door will open onto a courtyard or garden and offer a glimpse into a secret place.  You just have no idea what might be behind one of those big old doors.

DSC02570This is a palette that Delacroix is thought to have given to Henri Fantin-Latour who, like Délacroix prepared his painting palette with great care.


Dèlacroix’s studio had many of his paintings and lithograph prints and in the house there were many lithograph prints with their original stone printing plates.  He had the studio built to his specifications, with huge north windows and skylights.


Here is a view of the studio from its private garden. The garden has been recently restored, under the supervision of the gardeners of the Tuileries and due to the generosity of a donor named Mr. Kinoshita.  There were lists of the plants purchased and the work carried out in Délacoix’s archives so it has been faithfully restored, and is a beautiful calm oasis in a busy city.  His home is in the building on the right of the photo, it was quite large and well appointed.DSC02573A view of the garden looking from the studio.  I decide it is time to think about heading home and walk from here towards the Louvre, as I want to stop at their bookstore and a couple other shops nearby.


There are some sights that are very definitely Parisian.  Do you notice all the parked cars?


I have no idea how the drivers here manage to park in such tiny spots, or even how they manage to get out of them, but they do!  It is quite something to watch.


I pass some very interesting looking shops, but as it is Sunday they are all closed so I take some photos through the windows.  Too bad, or maybe good, as I am sure I would have found some fascinating item that I would have wanted to bring home.


All sorts of curious and interesting things.


This window was intriguing, especially in light of all the figure drawing I have been doing.


I snap a couple last photos and head home to get packed and ready for my flight home tomorrow.


Me and the Mona Lisa!

Here are my metro drawings from the last couple of days.imageimage

Parc Des Buttes Chaumont, Organ Recital and the Marais

This morning was slow and relaxed as I was a bit tired after yesterday’s drawing class and the evening at the ballet. I finally got myself out the door after noon and set out to walk to the Parc Des Buttes Chaumont which is a 25 hectare park in the 19th arrondissement. imageIt is a beautiful place, and although it has many man made features this park does not feel as though it is in the city. Most of Paris’ parks are carefully manicured, laid out geometrically and have paved or gravel surfaces with benches or chairs. There are not many parks that actually allow people to walk or sit on the grass, which I found strange at first, but when I once I thought about the density of population in this city and realized how many people use the parks I realized that this is a necessity, or the grass would be trampled and dead.


The Parc des Buttes Chaumont, however, is a  park that welcomes people onto its many grassy hills. There were lots of people out enjoying the warm day. I saw everyone from individuals relaxing, sleeping, reading, or playing the guitar, couples having a romantic picnic complete with a bottle of favourite wine, families enjoying the sun with their children to large gatherings of family and friends, sharing a meal and visiting in the sunshine.



Because it was once a quarry there were lots of hills to climb, including one up to a ancient looking little structure on an island which is also the highest point in the park where it’s main attraction can be found, the Temple de la Sibylle, a miniature version of the famous ancient Roman Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy.


Sacré Coeuer is visible in the distance from here and there is quite a good view.  If you are interested, Wikipedia has a very interesting write up about the history and construction of the park.


There are also a couple waterfalls, and a swinging bridge that crosses the man made lake to the island, and lots of flower beds which have signs describing what is planted in each bed. I spent a couple very pleasant hours wandering about and then decided that I should go to St Sulpice for an organ concert at 4:00.  The organist was from Thomas Dahl, from Hambourg and the music was incredible.

imageI sat with two Susan’s, one from California and one from Newfoundland who were two friends spending a week together in Paris. They had both been to Edmonton and St. Albert, which was rather surprising.

imageThey were sitting in a special area with comfy red cushions and they made room for me to sit beside them. It was much more comfortable than the chairs that are used for the congregation and guests visiting the church. I was sitting in the raised box at the back of this picture, right in front of where the white statue is located.


The concert was about an hour long and I tried to draw part of the cathedral while I listened to the music, but was not very successful. I think buildings are more difficult to draw than people. At one time you were allowed up the stairs to watch the organist playing but this is no longer allowed due to security measures. A pity…


Next stop was the Marais. This was the area where I had first reserved an apartment, it was behind the red door in this picture, but the reservation was canceled because one of the neighbours was having some ‘mental’ problems and the owner was not comfortable renting her place until things got settled. I actually think that I like the area I am in better. It is further out, but it is a real Parisian neighbourhood.


The Marais has become a tourist attraction, lots of shops and bars and tourists everywhere. I went into one store and the clerk didn’t even look up when I entered. In ‘my neighbourhood’, I am greeted with Bonjour madam, and a smile.

imageThe Marais has also become a centre for gay tourists and residents, which made for some interesting sights.
imageI made a friend though.  This little girl ran away for her mother, whose arms were full of groceries.  I stopped her and told her to go back to her mother, and actually did this in french without thinking too much about it at all!  She ran back to her mom but turned around to look at me, so I waved to her.  We then played peek a boo and waved to each other for several minutes.

I headed home for supper and a FaceTime chat with my son at eight. I must say that I love how easy it is to stay connected with family and friends while travelling.

Vous Etes Magnifique!

This morning I woke with a smile on my face.  Yes I thought, I really am in Paris.  Sometimes dreams do come true, and this trip is certainly a dream come true for me.  When Bob and I were in Paris several years ago I kept an art journal. I wrote in it that I wondered if I would ever be able to return to Paris and spend as much time as I wanted looking at my favourite paintings in the Louvre.  I will be able to do that and more on this trip.  It is a lovely indulgence to only think about and do those things that interest me.

Closing both windows and their curtains and pulling down the blinds all helped to muffle the street noise so I had a fairly good sleep.

I went out for a walk this afternoon and headed over to the Gare de l’Est to purchase a Navigo Card, only to discover that the booth had just closed   This card gives unlimited travel on the metro and bus lines for about 60 Euros per month.  I like the idea of being able to hop on and off the bus or metro whenever I like all for one easy price. I will do that tomorrow.

I spent the next couple of hours wandering the streets, watching children playing, skateboarders skating and people strolling everywhere.  Parisians love to enjoy their city on Sundays. The streets and green spaces were teeming with people of all ages, which offered some great people watching!

Sunday afternoon in ParisOn my trip to New Zealand I took lots of tree pictures and in Paris I think it will be lots of building and church pictures.  They are all so old and have such beautiful ornamentation.  I find them fascinating, there is so much to see here that it is hard to know where to look sometimes.  I visited  the Church of St. Laurent today.  Construction of this church began in1429 and was not completed until 1667.  By the way, if you tap or click on a photo it will load a larger version, for a closer look.

St-Laurent Church

There was a very interesting lady inside, who was dressed all in white, from head to toe.  I wondered if there was some significance to this or if she just liked the colour white!

Lady in White

On the way home, a young man passed me and  as he walked by he turned and said “Vous etes magnifique”. I didn’t say anything as the guide books I had read said not to smile at men on the street or it might be misinterpreted as an invitation to something more.  He turned and said “Vous devriez dire Merci.” (You should say thank you) so I rather sheepishly replied “Merci” and he nodded his head and walked on.  Perhaps a compliment can just be a compliment.  In any case, I walked home feeling rather special.

Belgium StrawberriesBelgium strawberries and dark chocolate for dessert.