A Bounty of Lilacs in Montreal's Botanical Garden

A Bounty of Lilacs in Montreal's Botanical Garden

I visited the Montreal Botanical Garden on a beautiful May day. I brought my camera with the intention of going on a photo safari: an activity where I pick a theme and focus on artworks (or in this case, plants) around that theme, with the aim of looking at everything differently. At first, I thought I [...]

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Monet's Giverny in the Summer

Monet's Giverny in the Summer

Let's travel through time and space to colorful Giverny, France in the summer. Claude Monet made his home at Giverny for over 40 years, until his death in 1926. In the warm season, you can visit his house and studio, as well as the famous flowerbeds and reflecting pond that inspired his sublime paintings. To visit [...]

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Gardens of the Way of the Cross - Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal

Gardens of the Way of the Cross - Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal

My Montreal museum cocktail for the week led me to the small museum in Saint Joseph's Oratory, the grand basilica located on one of Mount Royal's peaks. I had already passed the Oratory and its enormous dome several times, and I was excited to learn what it was exactly. On a sunny May day, I arrived at the base of the Oratory's hill and was faced with seemingly never-ending outdoor stairs winding their [...]

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Love in a Garden

Love in a Garden

This painting, this fête galante, full of lovers in a garden, is a celebration of flirtation and love. While the young lovers are the focal point of the painting, a full half of the painting is dedicated to the landscape, to the architecture, to the physicality of the scene. As I looked at this painting by Nicolas Lancret, newly [...]

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Smell the Roses at Malmaison

Smell the Roses at Malmaison

Some heritage is meant to be inhaled. Empress Joséphine’s roses at Malmaison are a prime example. Visually beautiful, yes, but their real power lies in their luscious perfume. Stick your nose in one of the enormous blossoms and you are instantly, and forcefully, transported. Certain blossoms were almost the end of [...]

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Salon d'art floral

Salon d'art floral

One of my favorite springtime rituals is heading to the mairie of the 6th arrondissement for the annual Salon d’art floralThis weekend exhibition of floral art features the creations of gardeners from the Jardin du Luxembourg and neighborhood florists, who sculpt blossoms and greenery into fantastical forms. The event is held a grand [ ... ]

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Let There Be Light

Let There Be Light

The lack of light in November is driving me a little bit kooky this year. It’s dark out when I go to work and it’s dark out when I come home. I feel like the sun only comes out on the weekends. Darker moods are knocking at the door. And then I was talking to a friend on the phone on my way home from work this week, complaining [ ... ]

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Two Medici Villas

Two Medici Villas

(As I finish up my thesis this month, this blog will be temporarily transformed into Garlands in Florence with posts about summer in Italy) My drawing class took its first field trip; we went to two nearby Medici villas. At the first villa, the Villa Medici di Castello, we sat out in the gardens and drew whatever we [ ... ]

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Happy Place: Garden of the Musée Delacroix

Happy Place: Garden of the Musée Delacroix

This is part of Happy Places, a series about making the time to have experiences that bring you joy, but can be hard to justify with a busy schedule. The Musée Delacroix is so small that it is hard for me to justify return visits. If I am a Delacroix mood, I’ll make my way to the Louvre’s collection. But [ ... ]

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Kicking and Biting and Screaming!

Kicking and Biting and Screaming!

This is what my thesis is teaching me: Life is in this moment. I am so tempted to say that life will start again when I turn in this massive document. That I will literally never have a reason to be stressed ever again. But to think that this moment a waiting period for ‘real life’ is a dangerous [ ... ]

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Waiting for the calm after the storm

Waiting for the calm after the storm

I am in the midst of finishing a 150 page thesis (in French) about mobile apps in temporary exhibitions in Parisian museums. It is eating me alive. Needless to say, stress is a constant presence in my life right now. I've been fighting back with an arsenal of calming techniques, including candlelight, [ ... ]

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Musée des Augustins de Toulouse

Musée des Augustins de Toulouse

Toulouse is known as la ville rose due to the pink bricks used to construct many of its buildings. The Musée des Augustins is no exception. Built in 1309 as a Augustinian convent, today the building houses a collection of paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. The galleries [ … ]

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Textures in the Secret Garden

Textures in the Secret Garden

Every morning as I descend the staircase of my apartment building, I am drawn to the windows at each landing that look out over the courtyard. My apartment building has a secret garden. I don’t know who is responsible for maintaining it, as I have never seen anyone gardening. In fact, the only time I’ve seen a neighbor in the [...]

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Easter Picnic Pins

Easter Picnic Pins

An Easter picnic in Paris practically screams for tissue paper flower pins. At least, that’s how I felt when getting ready for an Easter picnic in a park in the Marais last Sunday. I happened to have a lot of leftover tissue paper from my Tex-Mex dinner party decorations, so I got busy making tissue paper flowers. It was an easy and relaxing project: cutting out flower-shaped layers, stapling them together and then fluffing [ ... ]

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Daisy Crowns

Daisy Crowns

I was in Toulouse this weekend, visiting a friend’s family. On Sunday, we spent a lazy afternoon lounging in the backyard, soaking in the warm southern sun. We put down blankets and stretched out in the soft grass. It turned out the lawn was scattered with tiny daisies. My friend's cousin's [ ... ]

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A Rosy Birthday Party

A Rosy Birthday Party

I found myself in the midst of a polar vortex for my birthday this year, at the tail end of visit to my family in the Midwest. In the midst of record-breaking amounts of snow, I decided to throw a small party with hints of Spring. There would be roses, punch, and lots and lots of streamers. When I was a little girl, my idea of [ ... ]

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Exhibition: Josephine

Exhibition: Josephine

Should you find yourself looking for a delightful way to pass a spring afternoon, might I suggest visiting Joséphine at the Musée du Luxembourg. The exhibition is short and sweet, giving you a glimpse of the life and influence of the first wife of Napoléon, via Empire-waisted gowns and bee-encrusted [ ... ]

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April in Paris (in March)

April in Paris (in March)

April in Paris has come in March. Daffodils and crocuses have popped up all around town. Cherry trees are in blossom (I’ve been cracking myself up by calling them the made-up word “neigiers”, or “snow trees”). Black down coats have been replaced by black light jackets. And the most exciting sign [ ...  ]

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