These are the last sketches of France for a while, this from inside a cafe called Un Zebre dans Monmartre, where it is cooler than ever to be bohemian. Montmartre is home to Sacre Cœur and has lots of stairs. It is also where Moulin Rouge is set, and if you take the time to hike the windy streets, you will find one of the two windmills left.
Charles Marville photographed Paris as it was converting to boulevards and grand buildings, and the photos he took show us what was left of a ancient city turned medieval city turned modern city…breathtakingly romantic and festering at the same time.
The drawing above was from one of his photographs that I can’t seem to find now, but you get the idea of the light and darks of the narrow streets, and the deteriorating buildings. You’ll find such narrow streets in the Marais area of Paris still, but the rest of the city has wide streets with grand buildings which replace what would have been many streets back in the day.
It was this setting whose rooftops were the initial inspiration for all those rooftop rabbit paintings!
Children’s Book project – Paris Rooftop Adventure image 1
After my last trip to France I kept daydreaming of rooftops and chimneys, so now I’m working on a Children’s Book project about a boy afraid of heights chasing his grandmother’s escaped rabbit across the rooftops of Paris. Now, let’s just pretend that there is no gravity and no danger and that nobody ever falls, ok?!
I love riding into Paris by train. The fields and small towns go by and the modern, depressing tall apartment buildings complexes sprout up out of nowhere. They have patches of graffiti and parking lots huddled around their foundations. Maybe a shantytown. And then the architecture suddenly becomes majestic. It happens so quick.