As creatives, inspiration comes from many places and in many forms. Whether direct from nature or from man’s hand, these moments can be dormant for ages before they permeate the creative gene and bursts forth into the world.
On our recent trip to Paris, I witnessed the power of inspiration through the eyes of our very own Mia and Joseph many times. The city—rich in architectural delights, public gardens, museums, and people—sparked countless points of inspiration in each of us.
Much like Mia and Joseph, I am always moved by the controlled and celebrated architecture in this city nearly 2,000 years old. Each Parisian generation helps preserve what came before, Parisians are casual with the everyday, omnipresent nature of these buildings. There is a sophistication in these cities that can only mature after hundreds of years.
The apartment we called our own for the week had a lovely limestone façade. This amazing square greeted us daily with a family of magnolia trees planted simply in Versailles boxes. We found ourselves in this wonderous space often, studying the nuance of light play from the sun and moon, marveling in an almost trance-like state at the precision of this ubiquitous Parisian style. Alone, these limestone blocks are simple stones, yet when assembled and composed by an inspired hand, create an opus of stately beauty.
Often art of any kind inspires, and naturally Paris did not disappoint. My favorite museum, the Musée de l’Orangerie in the Tuileries, houses some of Paris’ true gems. Although, the intensity of emotions in Monet’s chapel to les Nymphéas draws the most to worship, for me it is the hidden gems in the lower level the inspire me most. The collection of Soutine portraits are the quiet ambassadors of the museum. Matisse is represented by two Odalisque canvases, which despite my aversion towards his other work leave me spellbound by his ability to create layers of painted fabrics in bright disparate colors.
Nestled under the square at the Centre Pompidou, Atelier Brancusi gave me a new appreciation for this artist with his spare forms and deliberate hand work. This is one moment that I will revisit in my mind and let ruminate on that creative gene somewhere deep inside.
We found inspiration in the Art Nouveau interiors in some of the chicest restaurants. The sinuous and sensual lines of these gems from the Belle Epoch left us in awe, thinking about the many artists who dined within these walls.
One just needs to walk the streets to see the many forms and textures found in objects and everyday situations. Cutting through the orchestral explosions of beautiful passages all around, sometimes it’s hard to focus in on the singular beauty of one glorious moment in time. For me this patch of bergenia, in a centuries old cemetary on top of Montmartre, was one such moment. The spring growth burst forth over the lichen-encrusted monument, taking in the first true spring sun of the season—a cycle likely to repeat for decades. How fortunate to be in this very perfect moment to witness such forb bliss.
Quaint floral shoppes on every other corner of the city always make us smile, knowing the Parisians value these ethereal cut blooms.
With every return to Paris, I make two immediate stops to visit old friends. The first is the Musée de l’Orangerie as mentioned above to visit my Soutine friends, and the second to the Musée d’Orsay. The d’Orsay houses a collection of Art Nouveau furniture that has become a second home to me. The collection is so complete in its depth and breadth that one can feel the movement pulsing through the body while walking the galleries. Those that know me well know my soul is a lost vestige from the Belle Epoch era. I am always pulled to object, architecture, and literature from this wonderous period. From the maximalist interiors of English country homes of this period, to the jewel box designed interiors of the townhomes, my soul tries to return to a time when design permeated every inch of life in a choreographed flourish of new discovery and reverence of good form.
Whether it is color or brush stroke—art inspires the soul. The greatest civilizations have always been built on the arts. I like to observe others when they are taking in these works. My inspiration also comes from their reactions. Some “look” because they are directed to do so, and others connect in their own unique ways, yet others seem to be transported deep in their gaze. All these connections and observations make me smile within, knowing that simple brush strokes and color can indeed connect us all at some level of humanity.
Looking for inspiration on gallery crawls lead us up and down through passages that could have witnessed the very French Revolution, leaving us laughing as we wandered about.
Sweet treats and beautiful packaging left us gobsmacked by the care taken to celebrate these lovely pastries.
The theme of the intricate beauty in the everyday was never lost on us. We were often stopped in our tracks to gaze, or rather marvel at the wonderous architecture everywhere, as the many Parisian pigeons strutted about.
As Midwesterners, citizens of a country that is barely out of a toddler stage, these trips help trigger sleeping memories of past lives and help lay fruitful ground for projects to spring forth. Somewhere deep within all of us lays a gene that allows us, the players in this lifetime, the ability to soak in and appreciate beauty—beauty of the everyday, the imperfect … beauty in the moment, or simply beauty as defined by one’s own eye. So much can inspire if we can just allow ourselves to be open to be present moment and all the emotions present within our hearts.
We look forward to sharing our many new Parisian treasures with you when they arrive soon at fleurdetroit. We hope you are as inspired as we were when you shop our finds this spring.