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Inspiration in Paris

18-02-2010   



As soon as I stepped out of the airport and started my journey across Paris on the metro, I was already taking everything in. I heard someone say that you must never close your eyes; always look out of the window at the people and the places around you to make sure you never miss that sudden strike of inspiration.

Surrounded by babbling Parisians, and the crowds of the metro, I squeezed onto a seat with my tiny case, trying to pick up any French word I could understand. Even the language itself could serve as inspiration – there is such a smooth flow of speech and some beautiful sounds. However, it was the surroundings which were really appealing. Even the run-down suburbs, where the shutters were wonky, the paint was peeling and many a car was scratched or dented.

After meeting my sister and having a quick catch up over a Starbucks, she showed me the highlights of Paris. Needless to say we visited the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and arguably the most famous landmark: the Eiffel Tower. Despite my early 3am wake up, and a day of roaming the freezing streets of the city, I still managed to get a few ideas down on paper before I managed to somehow find enough energy to head out for the night.

sketch


France is so rich with culture; it was easy to soak up the atmosphere. Strolling down the backstreets of Paris, I came across so many cute little shops and patisseries. Looking at the window displays, it reminded me of Karl Lagerfield’s haute couture collections for Chanel for summer 2010. He was inspired by the patisserie counters and looking at the designs of the cakes and meringues, I could see why. The soft pastel colours, wispy trims and shimmering beads echoed the carefully made, sugary sweets.

I took so many photos which captured still life. There are heavily detailed photos, full of shapes and colours. Below is the grand salon in Napoleon III’s Louvre apartment. If you look closely at the photo, there are so many minute details to study, from the painted ceilings to the intricacies of the chandelier.

chandelier


Then there are the simpler images, which evoke feelings, rather than giving shapes and colours.

Landscape


I looked at structural landscapes, such as man-made stairs, the underside of the Arc, or natural rocks with icicles (Have I already mentioned how cold it was?).

structure

I must also mention a certain avenue which I think will be of interest to many of you shopaholics. If you are visiting Paris, make sure you look down Avenue Montaigne (if you haven’t already) which is a road off the Champs Elysées. It is full of couture houses, with designer names everywhere, many of which have their headquarters here!

Avenue Montaigne


What I learned from this trip is that you can be inspired by anything, from the tiniest coin, to the busiest landscape. It is personal to you; how you look at things, how you take things in, but most importantly, how you transfer these things to ideas.

By Helen Batstone




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