Monday, May 30, 2011

Add Two Letters

There are signs on the métro cars with quotes from various literary sources, well-known and not.  Last night I noticed one that said "Ajoutez deux lettres à Paris, c'est paradis".  Add two letters to Paris and it's paradise.  The last few days even the additional letters haven't been needed.

Where else but paradise would you see this poster offering a reward for finding someone's lost unicorn?  Just to be sure you've found the right one the description specifies a large white female with a horn in the center of her forehead, very friendly, last seen at the Concorde entrance of the Tuileries gardens.  No other unicorn will do.

We spotted this on our way to visit the annual Portes Ouvertes of Belleville, the open artists studios we've done before, although this time in another part of the quartier.  Aside from the possibility of coming across some art that interests you, this event offers the opportunity to sneak peeks at the courtyards and gardens behind locked street doors.  In this one we found several artists showing paintings and sculpture, but what we were taken by were the carnets de voyage of Nicholas Dupayron.

Scattered on a table top were the charming notebooks he had kept from dozens of trips, filled with watercolor and ink sketches, bits of ephemera like tickets or brochures, and notes about what he was seeing and his reactions to it.  We fell in love with these not-for-sale carnets and came away with several prints from limited editions he had made of some of the pages.  It's almost like visiting Burma or Ile de la Réunion with him.

Along with being an artists' enclave, Belleville has many immigrant communities.  These kids were likely of Chinese origin but the crêpe stand interested them as much as it would have any other kids.

The last studios we visited were on a street that was a work of art in itself.  Serious graffiti effort was expended on the walls here, and the combination of summer weather, open studios and French Mother's Day had hordes of people sitting, standing, walking and dancing in the street.

And as for that unicorn?  I suspect she's run off with this fellow, always ready for a party.

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