The final installment!So I will try to sum up the last bit of our trip to France in this post. We left off with our visit to the Chateau of Versailles. The next day we began painting the marbles at the bottom of the panel. The marbles in the panel are direct references to what they used in the palace. Green Campan and Sarrancolin. My favorite is the Sarrancolin. Something about the bold rusty red and grey/white strikes me. Pierre talked about how marbles are quarried and used in decoration, how they are cut; pass cut vs. cross cut, etc. It was the hardest part of the panel for me to execute. To make it look “natural” you have to be conscious to not create 45′ angles with the veins, and to make everything random. Since it was such a new marble to me and we didn’t have reference photos to work from I had to rely on the demonstration by Pierre and sorta “wing it.” Pierre was very helpful to everyone, walking around and assisting those of us struggling.What really surprised me was how much faux there was in the palace. And same with the Louvre. I didn’t realize that before the Louvre was a museum it was the original palace of the king before they moved out to Versailles. (Perhaps I shouldn’t have fallen asleep in Art in the Dark in college?) Because of the number of rulers that lived there, there are many examples of faux marble and woodgraining because each successive occupant would paint over what was there instead of ripping out and replacing elements. Thus they would paint over one type of marble with another to suit the tastes of that particular period. This is Pierre discussing with Mike how the marble here was painted over with a new type.
The Louvre also seems to go on forever. When we arrived, we entered in the lower level and we could see what was the original foundation of the fortress built in the 12th century. Every monarch since then would put his own stamp on the building by adding on and redecorating.
The morning of the Louvre tour, Pierre met us at the Notre Dame and took us on a foot tour of the areas within the 1st arrondissement. Everywhere we looked there were beautiful things. We walked into a church (I can’t even remember which one) to see beautiful marbles, paintings, gilding, and more. We also took a walk around the galerie de montpensier and fogged the windows at the cafe Le Grand Vefour where there were incredible paintings of grottescas and decorative elements.
We made it to the Louvre around lunchtime and spent the afternoon going through various areas of the museum; the Apartments of Napoleon III, the Grand Gallery, and other areas I can now not remember their names!
Here are a few images of our little B&B “Villa Versailles” which I highly recommend. Vanessa, the owner, is extremely accommodating and brought us homemade treats. She speaks English (whew!) and she has a dachshund named Elvis who only speaks French.
One evening a friend of Pierre came to demonstrate water gilding. I got to try my hand at it, it is so very delicate. You can read more on Pierre’s blog.
Our final dinner was at a restaurant in Versailles. The food was incredible and dogs are allowed! Apparently the French are huge dog lovers and the idea of not being able to bring your dog into a restaurant is unfathomable. We were all presented certificates of completion signed by both Jean and Pierre. Everyone came up one at a time for a photo op. I took the opportunity to get a kiss on the cheek like a Tour De France stage winner does from the podium girls :).
It was a trip of a lifetime and we were sad to go but happy to get back to our boys and our king size bed :).