Saturday, July 22, 2017

France Sketchbook - Day 2 - Paris

6" x 8", ink & watercolor on 140 lb. Kilimanjaro watercolor paper

On Day 2 of our Paris visit, we were feeling pretty energetic, since we had gotten a good night's sleep and were recovering from the time change. My friend, Karen, who was coming to the workshop in Provence, was in Paris, so she joined us for part of the day. We thought we'd take the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus to our first destination. Sounds like a good idea, right? See how happy and chipper everyone looked as we waited for the bus? The bus that was supposed to run every ten minutes...

Candy, Karen, and my mother, Saundra
the bus that we waited for for 45 minutes. The bus that never came! Trust me, we were not that smiley when we finally called Uber.

But while I was waiting, I pulled out my sketchbook. Thinking I would only have about five minutes to sketch, I dashed off this little drawing of the beautiful building right in front of us, the Hotel des Invalides, which was originally built in the 17th century as a hospital and retirement home for soldiers. It now houses several museums. (I just noticed I need to turn "de" into "des" in my sketch.)

Hotel des Invalides
Our first stop of the day was the Tuileries Gardens. It felt good to be in a green space in the heart of the city.

The Parisians all seemed so relaxed. No one was hustling to get anywhere. They seemed to have all the time in the world to just sit by the water or in a cafe. (You can tell the Parisians from the tourists because they aren't posing for selfies every ten seconds.)

Even the grass-munching goats were mellow....

There was lavender growing in a formal garden...

plus flowers, garden statuary, and an amusement park.

But in this huge park, complete with fountains, moats, terraces, a grand allee, an orangerie, and a carousel, do you know what is almost impossible to find? This....

There was one ladies' room in the entire park! And you had to pay to use it. It sure made us appreciate the fact that there are restrooms available everywhere in the US. It's definitely not that way in Europe.

All that walking around gave us an appetite, so we found a cafe in a nice shady spot and settled in to have some lunch and do a little sketching.

Karen and I sketching at the Tuileries

Here's the scene I drew while I was waiting for my lunch....

and here's my delicious lunch of buckwheat crepes filled with cheese and mushrooms.

I think the leisurely attitude of the French must have been contagious, because we felt no compulsion to rush off to the next must-see tourist spot. We just nibbled at our lunches, sketched, sipped our cappuccinos and enjoyed being in Paris on a beautiful blue-sky day.

(More of  Day 2 tomorrow!)


  1. My favorite city, and one I lived in for the summer of 1991. By sitting and relaxing you were being very Parisian!

    1. I think it would be so cool to have time to settle in to the city and start to feel comfortable there. I'm generally not a city person, but even after being there for just a few days, I can see the appeal. I didn't have time to even set foot in a museum; can you believe that? I'll have to go back!

  2. Definitely Parisian! If you had sailed the little wooden boats on the pond, you would've given it all away!
    One of my favourite parks.
    So enjoying reading your posts.
    Thank you

    1. I wish we had had time to visit the Luxembourg Gardens, too. Guess that will have to wait until my next trip!

  3. Your sketchbook page is gorgeous!! I liked seeing it sketch by sketch to see how you put it together. I am enjoying your Paris posts. It is a beautiful city and your sketches are wonderful!

    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comments. Lots more posts to come, as I finish up more sketches from the trip. It always takes me awhile to get through them all, but I love reliving the trip this way.

  4. I love how you took advantage of found moments during your day to create this beautiful collage. It's so fun and colorful.

    1. That's the best way to fit sketching into a busy trip. It only takes a few minutes to dash off a drawing - it's the finishing up at home that takes hours, days, weeks, and months. :)


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