Feeling artistic in Paris

Today I’m going to show you some of the pictures I took in Paris that I felt were kind of artistic. But first a quick story. Of the two of us, Mark is far and away the more creative and artistic. I would never label myself an artist of any sort, whereas Mark actually considered a career in art before becoming an internet hacker. He goes through phases; sometimes he’ll draw for hours a day and sometimes he doesn’t pick up a pencil or brush for weeks or months. He seems to be especially inspired by travel, though, because whenever we go on a trip he draws with every second of downtime he has. He was especially prolific on this trip. I have a picture of him in Nice literally sketching while crossing a street. He never plans ahead well enough to pack drawing supplies, though, so whenever we are in a new city, we have to find an art supply store so he can buy a sketchpad and other supplies. So when we were walking along the Quai Voltaire in Paris and he saw an art store, we had to go in. Although it had two stories, it was small and crammed with stuff and the employees were running back and forth locating items for customers, and I felt completely in the way with my backpack and camera, but I refused to wait outside because I was charmed by how old the place seemed to be and how completely different it was from any place in the States. Finally Mark purchased everything he needed (EXCEPT AN ERASER, which was to haunt us later), we went on our way, and I kind of forgot about it. Until today when I was reading Anna Gavalda’s Hunting and Gathering (at the recommendation of a commenter!) and some of the characters went to an art store on Quai Voltaire called Sennelier. I figured it was the same shop we’d been in because I didn’t recall seeing any other art supply stores, so I googled it and apparently it’s famous for serving Cezanne, Degas, and even inventing products for Picasso. Which is what I love about Paris. You can’t AVOID history or art there. You’re trotting along and hey, there’s Notre Dame. You walk into a store and ask for a bottle of India ink and the great-grandson of the guy who mixed paints for Degas and Picasso retrieves it for you.

Moving on to my sorry excuses for art…. This isn’t a particularly great photo, but something about it reminds me of very early photographs. I think it’s the guy in the middle – his coat looks like he could be from almost any time period, and something about his pose just makes it look old-fashioned. Taken with my infrared camera, as were all the B&W pictures in this post.

As I mentioned, Notre Dame crept up on me.

It’s an enormous building. It’s hiding in this picture.

Another very famous church, Sacre Coeur. This one I had specifically gone looking for.

Sacre Coeur is worth climbing the stairs of Montmartre for just in its own right, but being located on the highest ground in Paris, it’s also a great vantage point from which to see the city.

If you don’t want to climb the stairs you can apparently cheat.

But the stairs really aren’t bad at all and you can stop as many times as you’d like to take in views like this one:

Another place we visited was the Rodin Museum. We only saw the gardens, which are open late on Wednesday nights during the spring and summer, only cost a euro, and contain many of his statues.

The flowers were all very pretty as well.

As were the flowers at the Jardin du Luxembourg.

The Seine was super muddy during our trip; I don’t know why. Brad and April reported it hadn’t been very muddy when they were there a few weeks before us.

It was so muddy I almost prefer it in false color, even though I don’t usually like false color.

At sunset, though, the muddiness was downplayed quite a bit.

No post about art in Paris would be complete without a pseudo-artistic picture of the Eiffel Tower, right?

I am ready to move on to Nice now. (I am also ready to move TO Nice now; it was splendid.) I have a lot of animal pictures I wanted to share, but maybe I can cram all of the animals from the entire trip into a single post. I’m not sure – there ARE two weeks worth of animals… We’ll see. It looks like tomorrow we’ll be spending the third day in a row sitting in a hot house waiting for the air conditioning repair people to make an appearance, so if I don’t die of heat stroke before then, I may post again then. If not, Happy Memorial Day to those of you in America….tomorrow Mark and I will have managed to celebrate (or in the case of France, endure) three different national holidays in three different countries over the course of three weeks!


  1. radioactivegan Said,

    May 27, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

    Those are really great pictures! Now I want to get a fancier camera and visit Paris 🙂

  2. Suburban Snow White Said,

    May 27, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

    Wow. Wow. Wow. These photos are amazing! And I loved hearing about your sweetie’s artistic adventures. It’s true about Paris — every corner has some historic surprise. Enjoy yourselves!!

  3. Josiane Said,

    June 1, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

    Your pictures are fabulous! I loved seeing Paris through your eyes – and lenses! The infrared pics really have a sense of timelessness to them; I love it. You totally captured the Paris I know and love.

    The story about the art supply store is simply delightful! My gentleman friend and I will have to make a stop there one day…

    I, too, took pictures of flowers the first time I was in Paris, although it wasn’t just because they were pretty. It was more because they were perfectly healthy flowers, outside (in the garden of the Musée de Cluny), and we were in mid-effing-January!!! (I know you see what I mean here, right?)

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