France is getting ready to celebrate its national day of independence: Bastille Day on 14th July. Over the last year I’ve been celebrating Gallic culture and iconic French landmarks throughout the nation in several of my Cityscapes and in doing so, getting better acquainted with my European neighbour.
I’ve collaborated with French giftware retailer La Chaise Longue on creating a sustainable tote bag and ceramic mug range that captures the local culture and character of several French cities and regions including the capital, Paris.
My favourite design is probably the land that I look out to sea at (albeit it’s too far away to actually see!) … Bretagne! I am intrigued by the two ladies in the big hats, who welcome people to their homeland. I love the ornate architecture of France, as epitomised by the gothic cathedral at Nantes, medieval town of Pont Aven and ecclesiastical architecture of Rennes and Redon. And of course Nantes has 3 lighthouses as well as lots of lovely local cuisine, which are all things that I love to draw.
Talking of food … Lyon was a delight to draw, with its many bridges crossing the Rhone and the Soane Rivers that form the confluence and shape the landscape of this gastronomical capital of France. I love all the little red-roofed houses in the old town as well as at Croix Rousse over which fireworks sparkle and sizzle their way to the ground.
My illustration of Nice is different again and shows the diversity of France. The Promenade des Anglais is central to the design and lies in front of the old town and behind the beautiful beach that looks out onto the Baie des Anges.
Last but not least, I redrew Paris this year, which is always a pleasure to revisit, whether it’s on the drawing board or in person. I love the hill of Montmartre and enjoy the walk through the narrow streets, where cafes and zinc bars adorn the corners, down to Opera and La Seine. I also love the calm and quiet that you find in the heart of Paris on Ile De La City and where I’ve often stopped to enjoy a Prix Fixe or a glass of wine before my onward journey to Saint Germain and my final pitstop … a café crème in les Deux Magots!