It’s now less than two weeks away that I’ll be traveling back to Paris, so for the public transportation prompt today we have the Paris Metro. Well, not the actual subway, but the sign that marks an entrance.  I typically shy away from anything with letters in it, so I decided to give this a go. And it’s the primary way of getting around in Paris cheaply and efficiently so I’ll be seeing this sign quite a lot soon. Although there’s an occasional issue, you can usually count on waiting only three minutes before the next train arrives. I was there on my birthday a few years ago and had fun getting off at various stops, arriving in completely different neighborhoods that I’d not visited before. Philippe was still working there at the time, so I was on my own a lot during the day. I love getting lost in Paris, but as long as I can find an entrance to the Metro, I know I can always find my way back.

When I first met Philippe, I began to study French and although I got rather good at reading it, actually speaking the language was a complete loss. No matter how I pronounced anything, it was nearly always guaranteed to be wrong. I spent months watching online videos of people trying to explain how to pronounce the French “R” in hopes I might be able to perfect it. Instead of sounding like a native, I sounded more like a chain smoker just getting over a bad head cold. I thought, perhaps then, I could simply make a concerted effort to avoid words with an “R” in them, but that proved stupid and absolutely impossible. Since that time, it’s been over two years since we’ve been back and I’ve not practiced my French at all.

With less than two weeks to go, I’m starting to look at those French lessons again, but it’s far too late to do anything meaningful. Thankfully, when I’m there and traveling underground, simply seeing the sights, I’ll never have to talk to anyone at all. This is the part I’m looking forward to most. The inevitable interactions with people there, on the other hand, are going to be perfectly awkward and thoroughly embarrassing as always. Maybe one day, I’ll finally figure out how to speak the language without sounding so ridiculous. Until that time, you’re far more likely to find me quietly observing everything from a safe distance. I’ll be sketching there for the first time now, whenever I can, while heading underground every so often, to travel by Metro.

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About the Doodlewash

M. Graham Watercolors:  Gamboge, Pyrrol Red, Cobalt Teal, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal.
Day 11 #WorldWatercolorGroup Paris Metro Sign
Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

38 replies on “Traveling In Paris

  1. *Swoon!* I love your painting — et je suis vraiment jalouse à propos de ton voyage ! Paris is my favorite city, even if every visit brings at least one mortifying linguistic gaffe. But at least we’ve made an effort, right? And I’m sure you’ll charm their socks off anyway with your beautiful sketches.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In my 20’s I spent 5 months in Paris. I relentlessly practiced saying “No, merci” so I wouldn’t have to talk to the sales clerks in the department stores when they asked if I needed help (I had NO money to buy anything). Luckily, I was living in the suburbs where all the people were really friendly, didn’t care about my accent and were just thrilled I was attempting to speak French. Paris remains one of my favorite places in the world. Haven’t been back so I’ll have to travel vicariously through you. So! . . . you’d better have a great time!

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  3. Your sign is neat! I wish I was heading back to Paris. It’s been awhile since I was last there.

    Oh my gosh the French R!! I practiced that R at the back of my throat for months! I found a good lesson and very nearly had it. I can read French too pretty well, but speaking it…I’m never going to be fluent, and I butcher an awful lot of words when I speak it, so I totally get it! Still I’d love to go and try!🙂 Heck I’d even try plein air sketching and painting! Something I’ve rarely done.

    I’m looking forward to your posts from the city of Lights. Bon voyage!

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  4. My mom lives in a residence for people with Alzheimer’s. One of the other residents was born in Casablanca, and having lived at this residence for at least 8 years, her illness has caused such a decline that she now speaks a lot of French. Trying to be kind to her and meet her where she “is” right now, I started talking to her in French. She never understands anything I say, but she smiles graciously.
    May you have the same warm response in Paris – a smile, graciously given. Au revoir – even if it’s a few weeks away.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I tried (sort of) to learn Spanish before my trip to Mexico but failed miserably. I learned to point a lot and say, Gracias when I was there. Lol! 😉 I’m sure you know more than you think! Look forward to your Doodlewashes while you are there! How exciting to have some time to wander and paint while you are there! 🎨💕👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jill! 😃💕 I find Spanish much easier than French… at least you pronounce everything that’s there. But still have an “R” issue in Spanish as well. I think I was doomed when it comes to that letter. Even had to go to speech therapy as a kid to speak the English “R” correctly. Lol Hoping for lots of time to wander and sketch (without having to talk to anyone! hehe)! Can’t wait!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A nice one this Doodlewash-metro-sign, very clear and you can see it from a distance, that,s a safe-feeling for many tourists!
    Paris is wonderfull and interesting.
    I have paint a serie of Paris, about 20 paintings, in acrylic, two of them making over in watercolor and I have the intention to make a few more in this medium. It is not so easy to watercolor a well known city as Paris but one day I will give it a try!

    For now Charlie have a nice day wherever you are at this moment!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so happy to see your Metro sign. Before reading your post, I hoped it was going to be about your upcoming trip, so happy it is! Sounds like you have a perfect plan for a very enjoyable trip with or without speaking French!

    I look forward to seeing this lovely city through your eyes Charlie!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love your Metro sign, Charlie. It would be like a beacon in the fog for me. I got lost in Chicago trying to find the El. As an Iowa native, I find myself very intimidated leaving my “safe” haven. The rest of my family have no problem exploring. So, I admire your sense of adventure. Have a wonderful time while in Paris and I will anxiously await a peek into another part of the world I will never see!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Can’t wait to read of your adventure in Paris and see what you sketch! I am sure you’ll overcome the language issue one step at a time as you explore. That Metro really does sound like an efficient way to travel and see many places, and only a three-minute wait! Enjoy every minute!

    Liked by 1 person

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