Saturday, October 17, 2015

Inspired in Paris

Je suis arrive!  I forecasted this trip over 25 years ago in my high school yearbook, senior year.  I had taken lots of French and was ready to go.  Alas, even with a military career that included a European assignment in Italy, I never made it to France.  Until now, that is!  With my retirement looming, a few months ago I decided it was probably time, and went to the Google with "art retreat France" in the search block.  I struck gold with an Artist Escape in Paris with Jane Davenport--a week of inspiration and fun in this amazing city.  I'm joining ten women, along with Jane, to see the best sites in fun ways while journaling, drawing and painting!

It was an easy train ride from Kaiserslautern into La Gare de l'Est and then I caught a bus to our little boutique bed and breakfast near the Bastille.

The bus was definitely a better choice than the metro.  Even though it was a little rainy and still cold, I was treated to whirlwind views during the quick trip.  Chez Jenny.  That's right!

This little inn is off the street in a peaceful courtyard that makes it hard to believe we're in a busy metropolitan area just down the street from trains, metro and bus stops.  It's called My Open Paris, and it's designed to be a relaxing haven--even the pillows smell good!  The day starts out with a basket full of breakfast goodness.  My first croissant was a life-changing experience.  The girls and I all laughed about how we picked up every crumb off the plate to ensure we didn't waste a single shred of buttery goodness!  And, I have a handy little Nespresso machine in the room that I love!  Normally, I'm a Keurig girl (with my big, dark Community Coffee) so I'm loving the European spin with a nice dark little shot of goodness. Here's a little view out the window from Studio Papillon (aka my room!) Can you see the koi pond?  In Paris?  Haaaaaa How amazing!

Speaking of amazing, after a quick meet and greet with the other girls on Friday night, we set off on the metro, which is an adventure in and of itself, to the Louvre.  Seriously, I just took a jaunt to what is probably the world's most famous art museum.  We went in the evening and, apparently, the crowds are completely manageable.  A quick two hour visit let us see a ton of amazing history and inspiration, but I'm already considering how to explore more when I come back someday as an art student.  The potential is just so exciting!

Anyway, back to savoring the moments of THIS trip...Jane took us to some of the works that inspire her the most.  Think beautiful women with the most expressive, yet serene, faces.  Botticelli comes to mind even before we got to the pieces up the steps near the massive Winged Victory statue.  Such warm colors and interesting proportions.  Incroyable.

As delightfully overwhelming as the guilded halls and giant paintings quickly became, I stayed focused on the light and the ladies to capture a few inspirational shots to work with later once we get into the paints and pens and paper.  Here's a bit of Tintoret from Venice in the 1500's.

And a stare from a piece down the hall.  I failed to write down the artist...guess I'll have to go back and explore a bit more.  haaaaaaa

We got some time to just explore on our own and I wandered with two other girls around some of the ancient art and relics.  There were hardly any people around, so it felt like we were part of some "night at the museum" adventure.  Heck, I guess we were!  

I know...of all the things in the Louvre and I pick "Homme chevauchant un coq."  I thought it was funny.  There's a tiny sculpture of a man riding a chicken from 499 (that's the year, not the room number!  haaaaaaa)

Of course, cat lady has to capture some Egyptian feline sculpture goodness. I imagine this god staring at his pharoah in the morning wondering if he'll get fresh fish or last night's leftovers.

Much of my art and journaling involves lettering and mark-making, much of which has been influenced by ancient alphabets (even if I don't realize it).  The heiroglyphs on so many surfaces are both beautiful and purposeful.  I could wander in the Egyptian hall for days and never stop seeing new details. We studied King Tut back in third grade and that has always been one of my favorite history lessons:  papier-mache death mask?  Yes, please!

This Etruscan pottery pattern was too beautiful.  Look at those lines!  I'd like to imagine it's a rather simple ewer in an upper class home.  This kind of beauty on purposeful items as a way of life.

We left the museum, filled with ideas and excitement, to head back to the hotel...jet lag hitting folks at various rates.  On the way to the station, a small group of us decided to stop at the very fancy Hotel Regina for a cocktail.  A cushy guilded lounge with wildly expensive drinks was the perfect way to both warm up from the cold street and chill out our post-museum excitement.  We were all dying of thirst, so the water went quickly and our champagne and fruitty drinks soon followed. 

We caught the metro home.  I just love this haven of a room, so I snuggled in and fell asleep quickly to happy dreams anticipating the next day!!  More adventures!


  1. Thank your for all the sharing! It's as close as I'll ever get. . .and then you can TELL me all about it!

  2. Great synopsis of your day! Love reading all about it


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Charleston, SC, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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