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

The Louvre, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps

I decide to go visit the Louvre again on Saturday.  This is a view of the enclosed courtyard at the east end of the building.  It is hard to comprehend just how big this museum is, it covers almost 15 acres.

DSC02417The Louvre was originally a fortress built in 1190, but it was rebuilt in the 16th century to be a royal palace which continued to be expanded over the years. The Louvre became an art museum in 1793, when Louis XIV moved to Versailles. It is now the largest museum in the world.

The Louvre contains 35,000 works of art on display, divided into eight departments: the Near Eastern Antiquities, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Art, Sculptures, Decorative Arts, Paintings and Prints and Drawings.

It is impossible to see all of this museum in one day.  Even walking through all its galleries in one day would be a challenge, never mind actually stopping to look at the art.  Many of the paintings are very large, as is The Pentecote, 1732 by Jean Restoutst.  There weren’t many people in this room so I was able to set up my little gorilla pod and take my own picture.


It is easy to be mesmerized by the art on display but I also found it interesting to remember to look up and to look past the art work to see the palace itself. Here are some photos that remind us that the Louvre was first and foremost a royal palace, and what a palace!.


DSC02453 DSC02458 DSC02464


The Apollo gallery.  I love the red walls and remembered this room from our last visit eight years ago.


This is the Grand Gallery!  and the picture below is about halfway down this long room.  If you double click the photo to enlarge it and look closely you can just make out the statue above the heads of the people in the picture above, and then the Gallery continues way past the statue!

DSC02466In a side room off off the Grand Gallery is the painting most people come to the Louvre to see.  La Joconde, more commonly known as the Mona Lisa.


It is behind bullet proof glass now, and is pretty much always surrounded by hordes of people, most of whom are very surprised, and sometimes disappointed,  at the rather small size of this very famous painting.


This is Eugene Delacroix’s The Death of  Sardanapalus, just one of many familiar paintings. After seeing these paintings in my books for so many years it is wonderful to be able to stand before the actual works.  I spend about four hours here and then head off to visit a couple other Paris landmarks.

First, The Galeries Lafayette, this incredible dome is located in the main store, which has nine floors and covers an entire city block.  There are two other stores, connected by walkways, each of which also covers a city block!  This place is enormous, and very crowded with shoppers.



A view looking down onto the perfume, makeup and fashion accessories floor.

DSC02478The shoe department covers one entire floor.  The floors are divided into ‘mini stores’ where each designer has their own displays and sales people. There are so many people shopping that the escalators are absolutely jammed with people all the time.  I find It  totally overwhelming, there is no way I would be able to shop here, and after taking a few pictures I leave.

I head down the block to Printemps, thinking that it might be a bit smaller and easier to look around.


… but it is just as big and almost as busy. Here is the floor map of Printemps, again three stores connected by walkways, each store a city block long and wide.


I am definitely not a shopper!  I spent less than an hour in these stores and that was more than enough for me.

I find a little sidewalk cafe and stop for a much needed meal and a pot of tea.  This mural is on the building across the street.  The guy in the corner was my very charming French waiter.


On the way to the Metro I stop in to visit a little church, Saint-Louis D’Antin but there is a service taking place so I don’t want to walk around and just snap a photo from the entrance.  Even the small churches are very beautiful.


Here are just a few of the goodies I saw on display today.  They look scrumptious, but not for me…  I did have one raspberry tart today at the Louvre.  It was the only time I ate something that I shouldn’t have on this trip.  It is really almost impossible to find desserts that do not have gluten, egg or dairy.  Strangely, I didn’t feel deprived, or really want to eat bread, cheese or pastries.  I know if I eat these things I don’t feel well and I think that knowledge takes away the temptation, but I did enjoy looking at the displays.




Académie de la Grande Chaumière

I went to my first drop in life drawing session today at the Academié de la Grande Chaumière. The Academié was founded in 1902, and nothing much has changed in the studios since then, the original easels, stools and pot belly stove for warmth are still there.  No cameras allowed in Life drawing studios but I snapped this quickly before the class started.  I’ll take more the next time I am there.

imageIt was quite amazing to be drawing in this historical studio.  Modigliani, one of my favourite artists drew here often, who knows, maybe sitting on the same bench as I was.  The benches and stools are terribly hard on the bottom, perhaps I need a little pillow! Unfortunately the model was quite uninspiring. She was nice enough but had no energy and quite boring poses.  Quite a few people left halfway through so I am hoping this is unusual; but you know it didn’t really matter, it was still a great afternoon.  I’ll post pictures tomorrow as I need daylight to take the best photos of drawings.  They are a bit hard to photograph, scanning works much better, but alas, no scanner.

Thanks to my dear friend Christine, I now know how to access the French key board and add accents. I didn’t know that they do not use the same letter arrangement on their keyboard as we do. Good thing I don’t have to use a French computer, way too many typos would be happening.

I love people watching here, and wish I had a camera built into my glasses so that I could snap pictures of the interesting people I see!  I took this one of a lady dressed all in red through the Metro train window after I got off, and she looked up just after I snapped the photo; our eyes met and she smiled.

imageThis fellow was practicing his skills beside my neighbourhood skate park.  I stop there every night on the way home to watch for a while.  I love the way the older boarders encourage the little ones, and some of them are very little, maybe five or six years old.  There is also a protocol for whose turn it is next and there is a lot of encouragement and congratulations given when someone pulls off a good trick, even for the little ones.  I am starting to recognize the regulars and I hope they are getting used to me watching as I would like to sit and draw them one day.

imageSkateboarding is very popular here, and it is quite common to see a boarder or two, or three, flying down a hill in the middle of the road with all the cars!  All ages too, even some grey haired oldies.

imageI went to the Louvre for a couple of hours before I went to life drawing, but only did one very mediocre drawing of a sculpture.  I think it will take a couple of times to feel comfortable drawing here, and to figure out the best places to sit. There aren’t too many benches or chairs placed in good positions for viewing pieces for drawing, and the marble floors are very hard.  Hmmmm, maybe I really do need a little pillow?

I saw this window display yesterday.  anyone want to buy a machine gun, or maybe a hand grenade?  Certainly not something I would ever see back home!

imageThe sun was shining on my apartment building when I came home. I am on the fourth floor, (called the 3rd here).  It is the apartment with two flower boxes on the windows, two stories above the top of the truck. Take note of the graffiti on the delivery truck, a very common sight.

imageI was really tired coming home tonight.  I do love the Metro, most of the trains arrive every three or four minutes and quickly whisk you away to your destination, such an easy way to get around a city.  Sometimes entertainment is even provided, as with this ‘oom pa pa’ group.


I made a yummy supper wrote my blog post and I am off to bed.


Cezanne, Degas, Picasso and Trudy

So what do we all have in common?  We buy our art supplies at Senneliers, the oldest art supply store in Paris!  It was founded in 1887: Cezanne bought his oils here, Picasso liked their grey pastels, and Degas was one of the first clients for their 700 colour range of pastels. I resisted buying any more pastels (I do have a rather extensive collection…) but I wanted to buy a sketchbook for life drawing sessions here in Paris.   I ended up buying three instead of just one.  What was I to do?  They were all nice and I couldn’t make up my mind.


The display and storage counters are original and have a lovely patina of age.  The store isn’t all that large, but it is steeped in history and packed with beautiful art supplies. This wall of dry pigment is stunning and so are these luscious giant soft pastels, but check out the price, almost $20 each!


imageBesides spending money on art supplies, I saved lots of money at the Louvre. With my permanent teacher’s certificate I was able to purchase a yearly pass for only 35€.  The entrance fee is 15€ and I intend to visit often, so this is really quite a bargain.  I wasn’t sure that the agent was going to accept my Certificate, but after a little discussion, in French, he decided it was OK.  One of the best things about this pass is that I don’t have to wait in line to get into the Louvre.  There is a special entrance for pass holders.  This morning when I arrived the line up to get inside was wrapped around the pyramid all the way to the reflecting pond in the front of this picture and was three or four people wide.   Once inside it is necessary to line up again to buy a ticket.  I was able to go in another entrance to buy the pass, so I didn’t even need to line up today either.  Yay!


I wandered around inside the Louvre for an hour or so and started to feel very tired and had a little cough and sore throat starting so I decided to head home early and get a bit of rest. Walking to the metro I found several streets that seem to be all Art Galleries, one after the other.  I will have to return another day.

I crossed the Seine on the Pont Neuf,  the bridge with the love locks (lovers attach a lock with their names on it onto the bridge and throw the key in the Seine).  This is being discouraged as it pollutes the Seiene and puts a strain on the bridge structure due to the weight of all the locks.  They are removed periodically, and today there were not as many as I have seen in some pictures.  Then I saw one of the things I don’t like much about Paris, a man relieving himself in plain sight on the bridge!  Not all the puddles here are from dogs…

imagePerhaps a few pictures of my apartment will give you a idea of the size of the average Paris apartments.  Mine is 12′ x10′ with a 6′ x 3.5′ kitchen nook.  It also has a little bathroom with a 2′ x3 ‘ shower that is actually quite generous by Parisian standards, for a total of about 170’ square feet. I saw an advertisement today for a similar looking apartment that was 23 square meters, or about 240 square feet for sale for 240,000€ or about $336,000 Canadian!  Remember this is also not in the heart of Paris, but in the 10th arrondissment.