Europe19: Four nights in Paris

July 15, 2019 | 10 Comments

Most of this trip has been ‘work’ with the occasional day off for sketching, but for the last two weeks, I’ve been mainly on vacation with some work fitted in around my sketching. So first up I visited Paris for 4 nights.

It’s hard to believe that its been 10 years since I was last in Paris. You can check out all my previous posts here and it’s fun to see how my work has developed in the last decade. During my 2009 visit I was much more concerned with drawing, while this time I was focusing on colour.

Also ironically, last time I lost my watercolour kit on the plane and so was forced to use watercolour pencil for the first few day. This time, I intentionally introduced some Caran D’ache Museum Aquarelle pencils into my work (but more about why in a separate article).

Being my third visit to the city, I had no ‘must see’ list so instead I just roamed the streets deciding in the moment where to go and what to sketch,

A number of my Paris friends were away/unavailable so I had two completely solo days. And this is exactly what I needed. But I still caught up with a few local – my friend Madgy and the USK Paris group at the beginning and end of my stay.

I remember how beautiful I found Paris 10 years ago, but somehow it was much more gorgeous than I remembered! I had a wonderful stay and three days of lovely sunny (but not too hot) weather.

Anyway here is a collection of my sketches.


Dinner on my first night with my friend Magdy and a quick pre-dinner sketch of the side of one of the Notre Dame towers.


A morning walk and quick sketch of The Louvre before the crowds built up.

Here is a close up of the sketch.

Next I popped into the lovely Sennelier art store…

and made a few purchases for testing purposes.

Another grand Paris building – Institut de France

And then it was time for some tea and scones at Mariage Freres.

And my sketches!

I then tackled Notre Dame standing on a bridge in the sun, looking into the sun! Tough going but a great way to finish my morning sketching session.

This was a more challenging view on the way back to my hotel… but I didn’t feel like sketching it at the time.

After a little nap and some work I headed out for an afternoon sketching session. First stop was the Pantheon area…

where I sketched the very interesting exterior of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont. I had a lot of fun using my new Caran D’ache Museum watercolour pencils.

Here is a close up.

And then I sketched Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève.

This building is rather special to me since I have great memories of wonderful history of architecture lectures at UNSW by Dr Peter Kohane and drawing an exploded axonometric of this building as part of an assignment. (I’m not sure if that means anything to anyone else… but it’s a special memory for me!)

I didn’t end up sketching the Pantheon – too big and imposing for me on that afternoon.

Then I got something for dinner and ate it in the gorgeous afternoon sun at Le Jardin du Luxembourg. Too tired to sketch!

I ended the day by sketching the view from my hotel room. (And oh, btw between sketching and dinner I went back to the Sennelier store to get a few more colours.)



I started the day with a big view of Notre Dame using my new pencils and new brushes. I wasn’t 100% happy with the brushes and thought at the time that this complex subject would have been better drawn with ink.

Next stop Hotel de Ville sketching using the Museum pencils again. The use of green was an accident – I thought it was payne’s grey. So once I had a few green lines in my sketch I had to stick with it.

Another quick sketch of Hotel de Ville

Then it was time for lunch so I headed to Laduree for some food. The fancy interior was fun to paint.

After my savoury food, I had some macarons – of course!

A super quick sketch of a corner building with a red awning cafe as I walked back to my hotel.

In the late afternoon (after another quiet session of work in my hotel room) it was time to tackle the west front of Notre Dame. I was surrounded by tourists when I did this sketch standing up (there is not much room in the area these days with all the works happening after the fire).

I ended up doing the same thing for dinner (in Le Jardin du Luxembourg) but I managed a sketch this time.

Then I walked back to my hotel via the Pantheon and did a quick sketch using the Museum pencils again.


Magdy had circled a few nice places on my Paris map so I followed one of these to the lovely Place de La Contrescarpe. Oh ah! this was a fun sketch. I returned to ink for my lines but was using my second Fude pen with De Atramentis Document Urban Grey ink. I liked the result…

… so much so that I did another sketch!

Then I popped into the interior of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont – I intended to do a full waterolour pencil sketch but the outline did enough for me.

I went in search of a ‘good coffee’ cafe but they were either too sunny (it was a hot day) or crowded. Instead I stumbled upon the oldest houses in Paris.

Then I headed to Les Halles area to meet up with USK Paris. Here is my first sketch for the afternoon – of the back of Église Saint-Eustache and a nearby street.

Then my second of this fun but complex canopy.

And then a super quick third sketch of Église Saint-Eustache.

Then it was time to share our work – a big group hey?

Lovely to meet Amandine and see Delphine and Marion again! A great afternoon.

Then I went with three other sketchers – Andi, Agnes and Juan to sketch Ponte Neuf during the golden hour. A lovely way to finish the day.


I only had a few hours to sketch before heading to the airport, so went back to Notre Dame – sketch 1 for the day.

And then I did another version.

I had a nice time sketching in Place Dauphine and then it was time to go.

But I stopped and did one sketch along the river, and then sketched in the hotel waiting for my taxi.

Wow! what a fantastic time I had in Paris! It was good to have a few catchups with sketching friends and also have some quality solo sketching time.

Barcelona up next.



  • Sabine Koch says:

    I love every single sketch! <3 I'm really looking forward to the "Watercolour on location"-course.

  • Magdy Molotkoff says:

    Fantastic summary of some nice sketching days ?. It was great to see you in Paris ? ! Looking forward to follow the end of your European adventures !

  • F Chome says:

    Thank you Liz for making me travel in Paris just reading your lovely post. My favourite sketch is sketch 1 Saturday of Notre Dame. I love the way you manage to add poetry to your sketch no ink, watercolour only. Colours are singing.

  • Joanne kalvaitis says:

    Lovely post Liz. Thank you so much for the sketch photos, building/street photos. It’s great to follow along with you

  • Jeanne Crockett says:

    I follow along with you on Instagram, but really appreciate these summary posts. Love your Paris sketches. My favorite place. Didn’t realize until your last sketch that you were staying on rue Maitre Albert! We lived on that street for 20 years. Don’t you love how you come around the curve and suddenly, there is Notre Dame in front of you?

  • Marilyn Hansen says:

    Thank you so much for the wonderful sketches of Paris. I have lived in Paris on and off for years, but it has been 5 years since I was back. I am only sorry that I wasn’t sketching at the time, but now I have another reason to go back!
    Love your sketches as they inspire me so much. Glad that you got to Sennelier! It’s the true candy shop in all of Paris!!
    Enjoy Spain and sketching!

  • Great to see what you sketched in Paris since I will be heading there for a few mostly solo days after leaving Amsterdam. I hope I get to sketch as much as you did, especially since my hotel is right near Notre Dame.

  • Emily Neel says:

    Ah…. Paris. Thanks for the memories. I studied at the Sorbonne in college, so this was a real treat!

  • Cora Brown says:

    Would like to hear more about the Da Vinci Casaneo dagger brush. I love their size 0 and 2 quill (mop) brushes. Rosemary brushes are difficult to get where I live, and I was hoping the Casaneo brush would be a good substitute. I’m enjoying the introductory videos for the watercolor on location class, and I feel like I’m on location with you following your Instagram stories.

  • Marianne Camps says:

    I’m looking forward to your opinion about the Da Vinci Casaneo Dagger!
    I went on a day trip with my sister today, and to my surprise we found a very nice art shop. Teoh Yi Chie mentioned the Casaneo brushes in his videos covering the USK Amsterdam event. As it happens the art shop had the Casaneo Dagger size 10 and I purchased one.

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