Archives For Paris

An artistic pilgrimage.

Sennelier, ParisAcross the same bridge over the River Seine to the same, small green shopfront near the Louvre.

I stood in front of Sennelier for the second time.

Last time I was there, there was no art career. There was a lifetime of interest and dabbling, but no career. I bought my first pastels there, after hearing about Sennelier on NPR. That same year, I embarked on a career change, determined to make art a way of life.

And here I stood, years later, in front of the store that feeds my art and brings my pastels into being. We went inside and I touched the worn, wooden drawers containing every color pastel. We maneuvered around the cramped, aged art store, past the old wooden ladder and over to the notebooks. I made my choices and with a timid “Merci” purchased some notebooks, future home of new doodles. Something I can keep.

Like standing in the English field among the sheep that I’d drawn so often, standing in Sennelier was another step in coming full circle. But it was not the last.

Mont Martre.

With our umbrellas and soggy shoes, we left our lunch at the Eiffel Tower with our sights set on Mont Martre, the gathering place for artists past and present. Last time our visit to Paris was so brief, we only had time to touch this section of the city. Rain or no rain, we would soak it in and look over all of Paris from the hill of Sacre Cour.

Laughing and out of breath, we slipped and climbed up the steep sidewalks to the top of Mont Martre. Navigating through umbrellas, we wove our way past cafes and windmills, artists shielding their work from the wet weather. With easy smiles and free spirits, we leaned on the fence in front of Sacre Cour, the carousel below us and Paris spreading its arms as far as we could see.

Sacre Cour, marker & ink doodle

Sacre Cour, marker & ink doodle

We moved down the steps like children and stood in front of the carousel, watching it spin and entertain. I knew every piece, a former pastel now shared in a home somewhere in Alabama. A piece of Paris.

Carousel, marker & ink doodle

Carousel, marker & ink doodle

My art career has grown and my life has deepened over the years. The beginning, the inspiration, the moments have come full circle with this trip of pilgrimage. I have said my thanks and recognized those things, those places and those people that have moved me and brought me thus far.

Like the turning carousel, I made it around and stood again in the same place, I very much changed.

And now I have a renewed heart and new adventures to explore and draw and share…

moving forward with much warmth and these memories in my pocket.

Traveling from St. Pancras Station, London: marker, colored pencil & ink doodle

Traveling from St. Pancras Station, London: marker, colored pencil & ink doodle

A dark, early morning cab ride to St. Pancras. Heavy bags, heavy eyelids, heavy steps. Slumping into our seats, we barrel under the English Channel towards France. Riding backwards, the zooming landscape alternates with dark tunnels, only my reflection for a view. Our friends have scattered to more destinations, or have arrived safely back home. Now I, with my husband and his aunt and uncle, journey on.

Farewell London, Bonjour Paris.

June 27, 2014 

“France began with a little chaos. We popped out of the metro by the Arc de Triomphe, with its constant swirl of speeding, honking cars, surprisingly without a clue how to find our hotel. When in doubt and lost, hail a cab. So we did.”

We unloaded our baggage burdens at last and made our way into the city, aiming at a “do-over” of the Arc de Triomphe. A lunch of croque madames at an outdoor cafe (where, it must be noted, a bird pooped on my head…what a nice welcome), we strolled down the Champs Elysees to the Tuileries Garden.

Notre Dame, colored pencil & ink doodle

Notre Dame, colored pencil & ink doodle

The gardens were full of color, children with ice cream, people in green metal chairs around the circular ponds, pigeons pecking for crumbs. The sun was warm and smiles bright. We headed to the Louvre and split up to see the city.

Returning from the Musee de Orsay to our rendezvous by the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, a wind whipped up and enveloped everyone in huge, swirling dust clouds. With my scarf on my face, we laughed in surprise until the dust returned to the ground. We watched the men selling cheap souvenirs, the pigeons trying to impress their mates, the people enjoying a Paris summer, until it came time for dinner.

The next morning, rain fell lightly on Paris, adding umbrellas to the beauty of the romantic streets. With a croissant and cafe creme at a cafe near majestic Notre Dame, life felt still. The close sounds of french conversation, busy pigeons and clinking mugs on plates was interrupted by the pealing of bells. People and umbrellas moved quickly towards the cathedral, where an unknown church service spilled far into the courtyard in front, projected with speakers and screens.

Tuileries Garden, ink & marker doodles

Tuileries Garden, ink & marker doodles

La Tour Eiffel

From Notre Dame, we moved on towards the gorgeous Saint Chapelle, then finally “La Tour Eiffel”…the inspiring Eiffel Tower. For our 12th wedding anniversary, Stephen long ago made reservations for us to eat lunch high on the Eiffel Tower. Nervous and excited, we were taken up in a small elevator to the second platform and to our window seat, a view towards the Arc de Triomphe.

June 28, 2014

“So began our 5 course meal that took 3 hours. 3 hours in the clouds above Paris. The food was incredible, the view breathtaking, the company the best. We watched the rain over Paris, people under shiny umbrellas reflecting off the wet pavement below. No rush, no hurry, no stress. 

When we came down from the clouds and walked out from under the tower, we wound our way down a path by a pond full of ducks. We came upon a rainy street lined with pointed white tents selling piles of food, bowls of candy, clothes, scarves, hats, bags and the coveted umbrella.”

Eiffel Tower, ink doodle

Eiffel Tower, ink doodle



Love at First Sight…

Mary Liz Ingram —  December 3, 2012 — 2 Comments

Everyone remembers the day when you first met your true love. Oh, the euphoria of that first glimpse, the excitement of realizing what has been revealed before your eyes.

About 7 years ago, I was walking across a beautiful bridge in Paris, on my way to visit Notre Dame. It was a beautiful, romantic afternoon in an amazingly romantic city. The clouds were soft, the water languid…I was strolling along, making my way unexpectedly through the city, when I looked up. Continue Reading…