Category Archives: France

The Tree in the Courtyard – Le Marais – Paris

The Tree in the Courtyard

An inner courtyard in Le Marais, Paris, on a Walkabout in August 2016.

Like a lot of European cities, Paris is full of small jewels for the eye. All the observer has to do is be alert. This was on a walkabout in Le Marais. I just couldn’t ignore the setting. There were shops on the ground level – quiet, as it had been raining, which explains my unobstructed view. This courtyard was part of a network and you could move from one small “place” to another before getting back to the main streets all around.

A Parisian Wink

Don’t think I ever posted this one. From a walkabout quite a while back, in the city that is so beautiful under the sun – and so depressing when it’s raining.

Red Coat
Red Coat

Paris Moment 2

Cobbled alley, downtown Paris, Spring 2012

One of my favourite paintings – for now. I love the cobbles and the “intimate” feeling. This is in downtown Paris, mind you, not far from Place des Vosges. Can’t imagine walking here with any kind of heels. I guess one has to consider sneakers as a sine qua non of Parisian exploration.

The afternoon sun was lighting the whole street side I was looking at. I couldn’t ignore it. It was like the street, with the perfect, typical family, was staring at me, eyebrow lifted in the “what are you waiting for” attitude. So, really, most of the work was already done. I only had to be attentive ;o)

Paris Moment 1

Parisian cityscape
Parisian cityscape 01

Paris has character. She uses façades like make-up and charms the visitor with perspective. I couldn’t resist this view. So typical. I could have chosen a thousand different streets and would have had just as much fun working at reproducing the “Parisian” feeling. There are quite a few more scenes in my workbook and I’ll surely develop other paintings. For this one, the afternoon light made everything clear without too many high contrast effects from direct sunlight.

Night on the Seine, Paris

Night on the Seine, Paris
Night on the Seine, Paris

Paris has put on her lights and is showing off. I must say evening suits her as well as a designer dress. A good one, that is.

This view is from the Petit Pont, looking at the Pont Saint-Michel. Here’s a Google Earth view of the same spot in daylight:

Google Earth view from the Petit Pont
Google Earth view from the Petit Pont

Capturing night impressions is not always easy but this particular night, Paris and its wonderful façades are making it enticing for me. Particularly with the Seine slowly making its way through and giving me an interesting point of vue.

Night makes all colours equal. A bit strange for me to stay within a limited palette. Of course, playing with the water reflections brings me some relief. I can splurge on yellows, greens and reds.

Café Brasserie

Yes. I know. The title is right there – look closely if you haven’t figured it out yet. Makes naming my paintings easier when I can refer back to something in the image ;o)

So I’m walking on this beautiful Spring day with a few good friends. Paris requires a lot of walking! Which explains why that city is so packed with Cafés, Restaurants, Brasseries, etc. You walk 50 miles, you get parched and hungry. You sit, enjoy a meal, ideally with friends, look at life walking by, get back up, walk another 50 miles and start the whole process again. I can’t get enough.

Everything here is skewed. First, Paris is patterned like a wheel, with streets gradually moving away from each other from a center point. Makes navigating around pretty weird, but also surprise-friendly. Second, streets and corners can be seen from a distance, with the perspective anyone needs to be able to appreciate their beauty. So of course, I can’t help but be totally taken by the “wonderful spaces” I see all around me as I walkabout.

Here’s another place that caught my eye. I’d go back and sit at that sunny terrace any day. I hope you like it. If you’re ever in the neighbourhood, have a drink and chill for a while. Take it in and let it bring you over to the Parisian side! It’ll be worth your while.

Café Brasserie in Paris
Lunchtime in Paris, Spring 2012

Blooming tree in the Jardins du Luxembourg

I call this one: Finally!

Springtime has got to be the best season to be in Paris. The air is mild, people are out and everybody’s in a good mood. Walking in the Jardins du Luxembourg, I happen on this fantastic tree in full bloom. When she looks to her right, I know I have my painting! I hope you enjoy this.

Flowering tree in the Jardins du Luxembourg
Waiting for someone in the Jardins du Luxembourg, Paris

Springtime in Paris

On a walkabout in Paris in March 2012, I can’t help but be totally charmed by the city, as usual. I grok the same mood, smells, and feelings I always felt here. Paris is a jewel. Parisians, if you meet any, considering the incredible amount of tourists on the streets, are warm and friendly if you show the minimum polite attitude. A lot of folks don’t get the Europeans that way. If you come to them and ask a question point blank, without even the most elementary “Hello”, you are being rude. Start with a smile and a “Good Day” and you’ll be fine. Considering the millions of people visiting here, I’m amazed the Parisians can still be civil with us. Just like New York, Paris is swarmed by visitors.

So here’s my first painting from my latest excursion here. Many more to come. Paris is very beautiful – and very busy. I don’t know if I could work here permanently. Visually, I’m definitely swooned. But that applies to pretty much all of Europe, as far as I’m concerned.

Afternoon  in Paris
Paris, mid-afternoon. Can't get better than this, as far as I'm concerned!