I made the happy mistake of planning Paris off tourist season. From February 3rd to the 9th, the Paris sidewalks were open, kitschy souvenir stands were shut, and the Parisians a bit tolerant that you don’t know French. Without the crowds, lines, and tour buses Paris was not the Disneyland I initially imagined it to be. Paris was Paris in its most beautiful form.
So I’ll indulge in the romantic in me during this post because Paris was just that, romantic. Beyond the obvious mecca for arts, history, and food which I won’t neglect to note later. The most striking surprise was that Parisians didn’t seem to care. Let me be precise, as this comes off already as a negative. I don’t mean “to care” as in consideration for an individual significance, but rather a “As long as you don’t hurt anyone or damage property, why do I mind what you do?” For example, my first day in the D’ Orsay museum, I found a quiet corner to draw. I pulled out one charcoal pencil and looked both ways, then another, then nervously a single pastel stick. By the end of the day, three paintings later, I was sprawled on the floor, my entire pastel set out, 5 minutes until closing, and no one was there tapping their foot to scoot me out. As my visit began, I structured my days, adhered to rules, and made a plan. Towards the end, down to the minutes, I was unabashedly following my own desires as they arose.
My days structured themselves in ebb and flow between myself and the city. Days were spent revolved around the art, seeing and creating. The best brasseries and boulangeries turned up on the corner when I began to crave expresso and a croissant. Evenings took on good times with a friend, a fine French restaurant, a bottle of wine, galavanting the streets where another monumental cathedral/sculpture/official building popped up on every corner. We were led into a deep rabbit hole of French history and architecture.
Wine flowed, the people were beautiful, and on the final day Paris blew a perfect rain storm that crushed me into admittance that I love Paris. Outside the Montmartre Basilica, Roy and I sat outside a corner brasserie sipping cafe au laits. To my right I shared seats with an older French couple in charming chatter, wine and cigarettes. When the sky grew dark the pace of the side walkers picked up. A crack of thunder and a fast breeze ripped the sky open in a downpour and the wet streets began to glow, reflecting the lights from the cafe and toy store across from us. The French couple and waiter chuckled over the weather. Our waiter a performer, a magician. He leaped out from under the awning into the rain as if appearing on stage, his audience—the cafe. When we paid our tab, he twirled his hands from his apron pockets to reveal change like a rabbit from a hat and delivered each bill like a mystifying card trick. The rain cloud passed within 15 minutes and revealed a dusk sky. The moment however, became a lasting impression that Paris is a magical city.
The galleries below are divided into artwork created from the Paris trip and art replicated from the masters I observed in the museums. Au Revoir!