David Gentleman's Paris
Paris is a special place for me as it was where I spent my honeymoon, Montmartre to be precise, in February. Paris is a beautiful city any time of the year, but for me Paris is a Winter’s Day.
Through his beautiful watercolours David Gentleman has managed to capture the real feel of Paris, its people and buildings, old and new.
He starts his ‘watercolour’ journey on the Seine, in particular the bridges of Paris, remarking: ‘Parisian life flows as easily across it as along it. It is well used and carefully looked after, and it is a source of great beauty.’
Paris has 37 bridges over the Seine; the Pont Neuf dates back to 1607 and stands on the western point of the Ile de la Cite.
David Gentleman journeys next to the Left Bank, which is where he lived as a student amongst the ‘small street markets and warren of streets’. The Left bank seems to have everything; from cafes such as the Deux Magots and Flore made famous by Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, to open spaces like the Jardin du Luxembourg and onto the Hotel des Invalides, which was originally built in the 17th century to house 4000 old soldiers who had been invalided out of the army.
Next on our Journey are the Marais and the Islands, Ile de la Cite and Ile St-Louis. As well as the architectural jewels such as Notre Dame, this is also home to the Law Courts and the Hotel Dieu hospital.
In the Marais we see the Place des Vosges: ‘…the most spectacular of the set pieces of the Marais, which was begun by Henry IV in 1605, this saw the building of many fine mansions in this area.’ Paris has so many things to see that delight the eye, whether we are taking a linear view from the Palais de Louvre to the Grande Arche at La Defense or raising our eyes skyward to see the domes of Paris.
But Paris is more than a city of buildings and gardens, it is the people and their lives which also make up this wonderful city.
Contributed by Theresa