Last night when we were having dinner and drinks with our friend, she talked about riding her bike sometimes through the streets of Paris. Watching the many cars go by and seeing the often narrow and precarious streets on our walks, I couldn’t possibly imagine riding a bike here without being terrified much of the time. As it turns out, the experience she described, confirmed that it is indeed quite dangerous. Though cars are one thing to deal with, motorcycles and rent-a-scooters are zooming by on the streets as well. It’s quite clear that that two-wheeled power vehicles follow their own rules and rarely adhere to stoplights or even the proper direction on a one-way street. Even walking can be a bit of an adventure, so I can’t imagine riding a bike here. Also, not a single person wears a helmet, which does sort of remind me of riding bikes when I was a kid. It brings back memories of when I rode all around my neighborhood, and was much more fearless. I asked Philippe if he rode a bike here when he was a kid and he said, “Yes… it was scary!” It seems we have very different childhood memories of riding bicycles.
Today, we had lunch with Philippe’s mother and the walk back to our apartment felt so bitterly cold my toes were starting to go numb. We decided that next year we’ll push our little trip a couple months forward so we can get some warmer weather. The sun has only made one brief appearance in our entire time here and it would be nice to have a bit more sun to truly enjoy the sights. Yet, in many ways it’s made this trip feel even more like we’re just living in Paris for a bit. The lifestyle here is wonderful and I adore it every time we come. Each time we arrive in our new apartment, and I spy that tiny refrigerator, I realize I’m home again. No more weekly trips to the grocery and a hope that you got everything you need for the week. Here, you just walk around the neighborhood and get only what you need that day on your way back to your apartment. Not only that, we have an option of four boulangeries to get our baguette for breakfast each morning. And we’ve already discovered the best and worst of the mix. All baguettes taste better here, but some taste even better than others.
This year, I’ve decided to spend more time in my attempts to learn French. Much of my inability to communicate properly here comes from the fear of seeming foolish or like a total failure. Each time I’m not understood makes me even more shy to speak, which is most of the time, unfortunately. In that same spirit, these last few doodlewashes have been a break from my usual objects, looser than my typical style, and even include humans. I’ve found the same pattern of fear in my art. I’m often a bit shy to try really new things and worried they’ll turn out horribly. My schedule only allows one attempt each day, so these posts are raw, real and a bit like performance art with no rehearsals. But, DOing is the only real solution in all cases to get over such silly thoughts. That combined with lots and lots of practice, of course. And who knows, as I journey onward with a bit more of a fearless spirit, perhaps I’ll discover a new artistic style I enjoy, finally be able to speak French properly, or maybe, one day perhaps, even find myself riding a bicycle in Paris.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!), + Leaf Green, and Cobalt Turquoise. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!