Friday, November 2, 2012

Church of Saint Paul - Saint Louis

Terry was using a Foders map to navigate various walking routes through the city. The map of Paris never seemed to show the name of the street we were on. I was almost bowled over by a baby carriage and an elderly lady as I searched for my bearings. We were walking on Rue Saint Antoine when we happened across this church which I recognized from Ronald Searle's sketch from 60 plus years before. I pulled his Paris Sketchbook out of my art supply bag and I searched for the exact spot he had sketched from. It was exciting when every line and angle matched up. In his day this was a working class neighborhood with vendors pushcarts and shops. Today the neighborhood has been gentrified with upper class fashion and jewelry shops along with some smaller bodegas.

As I sketched, an elderly man in ragged clothes and a boy stood in front of me speaking in French. I didn't understand a word, so I shrugged my shoulders and kept sketching.  They persisted and the man pointed at the pens clipped in my bag. I decided to give him one of the dried up pens and satisfied, they walked away. If I knew some French I could have asked them to pose. Like everyone else, they seemed in a hurry. It was threatening to rain and there was a light drizzle, but not enough to stop me. Victor Hugo had his first child christened in this church. Everywhere we went, we seemed to be walking in Victor Hugo's footsteps.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


Anonymous said...

Splendid sketch! You're very lucky to have a patient traveling companion. I can barely get my husband to let me take photos. A 2-hour sketch would be unthinkable.... :-)

Bethann at fruit.root.leaf. said...

What a neat "then-and-now" opportunity! I live in Quebec City and am utterly fascinated by the countless grand churches.