Sunday, July 23, 2017

France Sketchbook - Day 2 - Paris (continued)

(Read part I of  Day 2 here.)

After we left the Tuileries, we hopped on the bus and began to make our way to the Eiffel Tower. I wanted to see it up close and maybe do a little sketching, but the traffic in Paris that day was even worse than usual. There were all sorts of special events going over the weekend to promote Paris in its bid for the 2024 Olympic games. (Guess it worked; they were selected!) So, since sitting in traffic was such a big part of our experience in Paris, I decided to include it in my sketch of the Arc de Triomphe, which we passed along the way.


I had one little problem with my sketch; after I inked the lettering, I realized I had misspelled "Triomphe". It bothered me too much to leave it that way, so I painted a new banner on watercolor paper, cut it out, and glued it over the original one. I even added some embroidery floss fringe to the ends, just for fun. (I specialize in making lemonade out of lemons! Wait till you see the ginormous boo-boo I made later on in this journal.)

Just look at that traffic, with the Arc de Triomphe way down there at the end...


We finally made it around the Arc and on to the Eiffel Tower...


It was so interesting to see the tower up close. The complexity of it is amazing! And I loved the decorative ironwork on the arches...


We walked out onto the Champ de Mars, the expansive green space that stretches away from the tower, and admired the structure from a distance. It's just so impressive and BEAUTIFUL! I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did. I just had to sketch it!



(I'm working on a blog post that shows how I painted this sketch step-by-step --- stay tuned!)

After all that hard work, it was time for a treat!


Chocolate ice cream was just what I needed to recharge. And look at this adorable ice cream spoon....


We took a leisurely stroll back to our apartment, passing lots of cute shops and pretty buildings along the way. (All those leisurely strolls added up to 6 1/2 miles by the end of the day!)

Children's clothing shop along Avenue de Suffren


Don't you love these tables?

That's my mom on the right - still going strong after six miles of walking!

 I wonder what's behind those curtains...the French door is open, inviting me in.....


Too cute for words....


I snapped a photo of this building and sketched it as we rode along on the top level of the double-decker bus, but if you saw the original picture, you'd be shocked at how much I changed it. How could I resist making the awnings red to match the scooter? :)


We finally made it back to the apartment, unloaded our backpacks, had a glass of wine, then wandered out to find some dinner. We ended up at a Thai restaurant a few blocks away....


While we waited for our meals, we fantasized about the oh-so-chic French couple seated in the window, dreaming up all sorts of scenarios for them...until they each lit up a cigarette. That shattered all our romantic illusions in an instant! (But smoking is so commonplace in France that it shouldn't have surprised us.)

I sketched my dinner...


Any guesses what it was?


As we made our way back to our home-away-from-home, the sky changed from deep blue to a dusky purple. As the lights of the Eiffel Tower switched on, a feeling of great contentment washed over me. It had been a perfect day. I had seen some amazing places, eaten wonderful food, spent time with friends, sketched, walked, shopped, laughed, and did it all without feeling rushed or pressured to see more or do more. Paris will still be there the next time...






16 comments:

  1. I was in Paris many years ago so I am really loving your blog posts! Your photos and sketches are wonderful!!

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    1. I forgot to say, I love the banner and how you fixed the misspelling. The floss is a great touch!

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  2. Poor you having to sit in all that traffic! I watched the Tour de France yesterday and noted that's the clearest I've seen the Champs!! Love this post and your closing sentiment says it all.....Paris will still be there the next time...

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    1. I can't wait to return. I didn't have time to even set foot inside a museum this time, and I'd love to have a chance to wander through the Louvre and the d'Orsay.

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  3. Thank you for allowing us to "travel along" with you with your posts. They're beautiful!

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    1. You're welcome, Laura. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment.

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  4. Brings back happy memories of our trip 5 years ago. Unfortunately, just before I took up sketching/watercoloring.

    Arlene in Altoona

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    1. Guess you'll just have to go back with your sketchbook!

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  5. I am so loving your Paris journey! There is such joy in your art -- I confess, it makes my heart sing French songs!

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    1. I'm so glad you're enjoying it, Jeanie. Writing these posts gives me a chance to relive it, too!

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  6. I love that you’re sharing photographs along with your sketches. They make me want to visit Paris someday. How did you ever choose where to stay or where too eat? It seems like those decisions could quickly become overwhelming in a place with so much to offer. How did you find the Parisians?

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    1. My friend, Candy, did some research on where we might want to stay, then did a lot of looking on AirBNB. That's where she found our apartment. I wouldn't have known where to begin! That part worked out really well though. It was in a good location for us.

      As for eating, we mostly just chose places on impulse or by looking at the menus that each restaurant had posted outside. We usually had dinner in our neighborhood where there were at least twenty cafes within a quarter mile of us. Any one of them would have been a great choice, I'm sure. It's hard to get a bad meal in Paris. All the food is so fresh and delicious.

      We really didn't make a lot of specific plans for our time in Paris, and even the few plans we did make didn't always turn out as expected. I think keeping things open was a good way to go. It gave me the freedom to sketch when I wanted or stop for ice cream when our feet were tired. And we ended up seeing the high points, even if none of them was explored in depth.

      If I ever get back to Paris, I'd pretty much do it the same way, but I'd take the Metro to get around. We only did it once, on the last day, because we were intimidated by it initially, but it was so easy and fast. I wish we hadn't been so hesitant to use it. And next time I'll explore some of the museums and the Luxembourg Gardens and Montmarte, which we didn't have time for on this trip. We only got a taste of the city this time.

      We found the Parisians to be friendly and helpful. It was certain tourists that drove us crazy. By the end of our three days in Paris, I was so tired of seeing self-absorbed people taking pictures of themselves that I wanted to scream! I mean, standing in one spot, a person would take a dozen pictures of herself. What do they do with them all???!!! It was shocking to me that, for so many people, they were more concerned with looking at their camera phone and making faces (with their backs to the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe) than they were with looking at the place itself. It's such a weird way to experience things.

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    2. Your taste of Paris sounds just perfect. I’m with you…I don’t understand the selfie culture either. So many of those who take them seem to be obsessed with inserting themselves peripherally into an experience rather than actually living the experience. I wonder if they will ever come to regret it later.

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  7. Hello Leslie, I found you're blog through a sketching group on Facebook in which you posted and I am so
    happy to see all this! I am in love with your style, adding you to my secret group of admired journal artists! :) thank you and keep it up! Greetings from souther France at the moment as every year about this time, Andrea

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    1. It's so nice to hear from you, Andrea. Glad you're enjoying the blog - stay tuned for more posts from my France sketchbook. I'm on vacation at the moment with the family, so I've had to put things on hold for a week, but can't wait to finish up more of the sketches I started on the Paris/Provence trip. Enjoy your time in southern France!

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