Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Rue Mouffetard, Place Saint Sulpice, Luxembourg Gardens, L’Academie de le Grande Chaumiere

We had a lot we wanted to pack in to our next to the last day in Paris, so early yesterday morning we walked to Rue Mouffetard, a neighborhood in the Latin Quarter, for petit dejeuner (breakfast). I snapped pictures along the way; our route was a part of Paris you don’t often see in photos. I love graffiti, so bear with me please. 

Rue Mouffetard, one of Paris’ oldest and liveliest neighborhoods, is a pedestrian avenue with restaurants, shops, cafes and a regular open market. Shops were just opening as we arrived; shopkeepers and workers were preparing for the day, the crowds had yet to arrive. 

After a full breakfast, our first stop of the day was Place Saint Sulpice, a large public space with the Fountain of the Four Bishops, a huge sculpted fountain with wonderful lions, in the center of the square. The adjacent Church of Saint Sulpice was built in 1754. We sat on benches and sketched. We then moved on to the Luxembourg Gardens, with the intention of sketching but got waylaid by George. George was a small, grizzly, disheveled French man who was passing by; Ann asked him for directions to the toilets. We left Phil with all our drawing paraphernalia as George, who spoke not a word of English, escorted Ann, Judith and me to a bathroom halfway across the park. The trip to the bathroom was so long we feared for our lives (again) because we knew we were passing several restrooms along the way. Phil was frantic and on the verge of notifying the authorities because we were gone so long. Turns out that George was leading us to a bathroom that would not charge us a fee for use. By the time we came out of the bathroom, George was gone. Ann and Judith were conspiring en route to hook me up with George. Thank you very much. When we had all finally merged together again, instead of sketching, we dallied and tried to figure out how to best use our time. We settled on quiche at an outdoor cafe.

We took another much needed walk to what I was looking forward to since we arrived in Paris, L’Academie de le Grande Chaumiere, where they have open sketch groups with live models. The studio is directly across the street from what used to be the atelier of Gaugin and Modigliani!  We got to the Grande Chaumiere, paid our 18 euro fee each, hustled into the studio, clamored for a good spot in front of the model stand and waited eagerly for the model to arrive. As is the case in almost all art studios nowadays, photos were not allowed of models. Our model was a lovely dancer, we speculated around 50 years old. She posed in a series of 5, 15, 20 and 30 minute poses, there were about 30 artists drawing or painting. Not a word was spoken once she began posing. The only sound was the scratching on the pads of paper and the calling of the woman in charge when the pose was over, “Change” (in French..shaaanj). Kinda cool. There were a couple of 15 minute breaks when we could chat and see what each other was doing. During one of the breaks, a pretty blonde woman noticed Kippy’s southern accent and introduced herself. Teresa Davis, an interior designer from Memphis currently living in Denver, was in Paris for a painting workshop also. She joined us for dinner afterwards at a cafe around the corner and will join us today to visit galleries and see the David Hockney retrospective at the Pompidou.

We got Phil back to his hotel room and his love box, and we got back to our apartment and laptops. We spent the next hour or so decompressing, quietly catching up on our friends' Facebook reports of the eclipse, news, email, whatever, took showers and crashed.

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