Archive for July, 2011

Paris Inspiration

July 23, 2011

It’s fair to say that getting to know Paris takes more time than the average American vacation–it takes a lifetime!  Having only three days to spend there requires being extremely selective (and it helps if you already have a little experience getting around.) Since this trip was for my 16 year old son, we decided to do what we called “Tour des Morts” or “The Dead Guy Tour”

We focused on the gorgeous cemeteries like Montparnasse and Pere Lachaise, trying to see as many famous tombs as we could.

Pere Lachaise itself is worthy of a week of exploration, so we power-walked our way to a small selection for this trip.

We also went down into The Catacombs.

If you can get through the morbid history, the sheer volume of the bones of millions of Parisians re-entombed there, you will find a little bit of design inspiration.  I tried really hard not to see the artistry. It became easier as we walked along because we were simply overwhelmed by the place and wanted out.

So while we skipped around the city from tomb to tomb, I sought other sources of inspiration.

Like the Dome in Galleries Lafayette–circled with all of the individual designers’ retail spaces (I think I’d only need, oh, about three weeks here each season to take it all in!)

Or perhaps more appropriate for a short visit–the chocolate bar aisle (this is only a fraction of the entire chocolate display) in Lafayette Gourmet, where you can find incredible edibles.  I love big department store food!

A quick Metro ride from L’Opera to Trocadero at dusk brought us to the Eiffel Tower just in time for Friday night sparkle! Hearing the throngs of people gasp in unison as the light show began was worth having to always share the Eiffel Tower with throngs of people.

The Pantheon has a large number of famous people entombed there.  It also has gorgeous domes to inspire, should you look up.

Ditto Les Invalides, where Napoleon is entombed directly below this glorious dome:

And, of course, a quick run through The Louvre to see the highlights, including my favorites:


The Nike of Samothrace (Winged Victory) is my favorite piece in the Louvre.  And check out that dirty girl Psyche . . . . she got around! That’s her with Cupid in marble, and with Hermes in Bronze.  I love how she makes Hermes’ toes curl!  We also spent a little time in Musee d’Orsay, where I got to introduce my son to Dante and Virgil in Hell by Bouguereau. No pics allowed in the galleries, but this work screams to be experienced up close, anyway.

I was unexpectedly impressed with the Musee Rodin.  Wow.  I’d never really been very interested in his work–I certainly am now.  I can’t wait to go back and stroll through the gardens a little more leisurely.

I’d like to return to sweet Hotel du Nord when I have time to ride one of their bikes along the Canal St. Martin (or maybe use Velib when the US finally gets around to having Chip and Pin credit cards–but that’s another tale) And maybe if I’m really lucky, I’ll get to plan a trip around Pour l’Amour du Fil.

Care to come along?


Another Missed Quilt Show

July 1, 2011

Two summers ago, I was in Sisters, Oregon just two days before the Beautiful Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.  We couldn’t change our travel plans, and two kids actually had the flu, so our time in Portland was spent nursing them in a hotel room rather than exploring as planned.

A few weeks back, I was in Rudesheim, Germany, just days before

How do I do that?  Don’t answer that!  This time it’s just because I just don’t pay attention to international shows–because otherwise I would have changed my trip around to attend this one!  In any case, I fell in love with Rudesheim.  My son and I spent a day cycling through the vineyards along the Rhine. It was truly inspiring. I now want to spend more time along the Rhine when I can cycle a little more leisurely–and perhaps enjoy the wine, too!

And Cologne!  Wow!  The Cathedral is enormous.  We climbed the 500+ spiral stairs to the stop of one of the spires–making me think twice about my lack of fear of heights. I was thrilled to finally see Gerhard Richter’s controversial window–a modern interpretation of traditional stained glass.  My camera just couldn’t do it justice.

Some German friends recommended we go take a stroll through Frankfurt’s Palmengarten–an incredible botanical garden complex.  We initially planned to just stop by to humor them, but ended up spending nearly an entire day there.  By the time we left, all of the other things we had planned to do were closed for the day–but we really didn’t mind.

"Life is Short, Art is Long"--Goethe (Goethe Gardens, Palmengarten)

Oh, Germany!  I had no idea I would love you so much!  But I should have phoned ahead and let you know I was coming.  Maybe I could have found an open fabric store in my serendipitous strolling of your streets.

I did love your quilt magazines.  Good thing I brought an extra bag to haul them home with me!


And what do you think Tim Gunn would have to say about this look (in a small shop in Wiesbaden). My daughter calls it “Booblashes.”

Coming Soon:  To Paris!  To Paris!  Mais bien sur!