Sunday, June 30, 2013

Les Grandes Eaux et Jardins Musicales de Versailles

'Last night I dreamt I went back to Manderley'...no wait it was Versailles
The plan was to visit the marché Notre Dame in town and look up a few patisseries. The musical fountains were an afterthought. *Take the Direct train from Gare Montparnasse. No fancy trellis decor but just 13 minutes et voila. Get a free 'plan' or city map (not a carte as yours truly called it. Carte = menu ahem) at the welcome desk in the Versailles Chantiers train station. Then take the B bus across the street and more voila. FYI the above watercolor is mainly Burnt Sienna _ Fr Ultramarine blue (Winsor and Newton watercolor paint).
See! You don't need 60 colors.
I did this tracing on top of my iPad.
From this photo.
BIG MERCI for supporting Parisbreakfast dear PBers! Just a few more watercolors to ship out. Now back to those delightful fountains.
The weather cleared up so I headed to the Versailles gardens. You'll need to buy a ticket. Some cafes even sell them and have signs outside. No free entry when the water is bubbling (3:30 to 5pm, 8.50 euros). I love these hole-in-the-wall entryways leading you down a long dark passage. Then suddenly...
You're in a grand enclosure.
'Conceived exactly as open-air drawing rooms, the groves in the garden contain superb examples of 17th and 18th century decorative arts.'.
Other fountains are out in the open. The negative ions are all over the place so you'll feel positively delightful. (or is it positive ions?)
Long passage ways lined with cherubic fountains.
This little girl is keeping her fish wet - very sweet I guess...
You do begin to have delusions of grandeur after a bit...
These guests are completely ignoring the fountains!?
The grounds are so huge it doesn't seem too crowded. The music is of course Vivaldi.
You have many areas to yourself
Serenity now!
Lovely no?
You are NOT supposed to picnic in the gardens except in designated areas - this was not one of them. But a Corcheval from Maison Guinon must be ok no? Draped crepe over a vanilla concoction with rasberries intermingled.
And the box is sooo pretty. I bought the pastry mostly for the box I must admit... Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Friday, June 28, 2013

Merci Paris

Thursdays are party nite in Paris. Paris Bee kindly sent me her invite to Merci's homage to Vahram Muratyan and his tres witty book, Paris vs New York.
Muratyan created orange, yellow, turquoise decals for the walls, floors and hanging from the ceiling.
Plus you could get your picture taken with the author.
Or wait patiently as only the French do for most anything
To get shaken and stirred with a Brazilian cocktail of cachaca.
The theme was Brazilian/Portuguese and the eats were intriguing. Perhaps welks sitting in a bit of jelly plus a pink strip of an unknown vegetable.
Squares of guimauve/marshmallow covered in coconut. The dipping sauce kept disappearing when errant guest assumed it was a cocktail. Haha
Crevette mini sandwiches gaily colored in orange/yellow to match Muratyan's various world-wide editions.
What to wear to such an affair?
The long trailing colorful scarf sans fancy knots and twists.
Has replaced (thank goodness) the big wrapped blanket 'look' of winter.
More turquoise to match the books cover.
Probably staff so appropriately dressed in turquoise dancing the Samba. I wish the invite said we should wear the book's colors - orange, yellow and turquoise.
Boots are still A-OK in Paris, especially Louboutins.
A terrific Brazilian/French band livened things - Clube dos Democraticos. A snippet is on YOUTUBE.
Do you know Paris vs New York? It's great fun to page through for a taste of both cities and how they differ. Plus he keeps you smiling :)
I couldn't help noticing even Merci has Summer sales on.
Bleu Bird in Paris.
Hope you enjoyed this week's party!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Les Toiles du Soleil

Mini watercolor box
When Annie saw my paintbox post she moaned," I was so disappointed as a kid to get a box with just ONE row of colors. I made a mess with them". Having more colors does not necessarily help if you don't know what to do with them. It's like seasoning a dish - how much or how little you add of one color to another. Too much salt and...ahem. I bought this one-row set in Aix. When you're a paintbox junkie you gotta get your fix any which way.
In Aix I discovered Les Toiles du Soleil fabric makers. They have a shop at 101, rue du Bac and one on west 19th street in NYC but it never made a dent pre-Aix.
Somehow all that color and all that sunlight in Aix worked it's magic...
This place is a riot of colors and they all work beautifully together.
Textures too...
I would love to visit their factory in St Laurent de Cerdans, Perpignon. Formerly Catalan weaving it was found in 1897.
Yet the combinations look so contemporary.
More vibrant stripes on rue du cherche midi at Contesse du Barry
Round the corner from Les Toiles by a kids playground these painted bollards.
My watercolor teacher David Dewey made us paint with just ONE warm color to begin with - Burnt Sienna.
Then we got to add a cool ultramarine blue. Those exercises were drilled into us and I still fall back on them time and again.
I'm always telling people to get David Dewey's watercolor book though it's not easy at all. Lots of exercises to work out, but it's one of the best. I left my copy in NYC for some unknown reason and just reordered. The gorgeous cover alone is such an inspiration. Aix had something to do with wanting it again I think...
Color and stripes are everywhere you look...
Apple sketch sheet
Isn't color delicious?!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Birds of Paris

It's so easy to fall for the wrong guy isn't it? Who knew there could be so much heart break over a chicken timer?
Sunflower still life
When I let my secret passion out of the bag, PBer 'Switchboard' of Baltimore felt obliged to help me out. She insisted on sending Monsieur Chicken no matter what.
I received updates,
"the chicken has flown the coop".
Unfortunately M. Chicken did not work/ne march pas upon arrival. We won't go into the gory details. Switchboard was beside herself with grief. "I'm a little worried about the chicken" she wrote.
 
My First macaron
Low and behold another smaller chicken was sent et VOILA!
This one works perfectly.
 
I seem to have a thing for birds along with paintboxes and bears. Sadly I left quite a few behind when I made the big move to Paris.
 
But Yellow Bird, has always been 'Top Dog' among les oiseaux so he made the grade even though he now has a broken left foot.
 
This classy guy has had many a fine petit dejeuner etc.
 
Petit Dejeuner at Mme. Corinne
Framboise macaron
He's quite fond of macarons too even though his origins are questionable.
 
On Sunday I happened to pop into Saveurs d'Alsace and there in the window a blue bird caught my eye.
 
The other birds are not best pleased and raising a squawk, but what's a girl to do?
Today is the 1st day of the SOLDES/Summer sales in Paris. Everyone is out with their giant shopping bags knocking people over. Ho hum. Must go feed the birds.