After so long cooped up inside, so many restrictions and fears, I was a bit nervous to travel again. I do the planning and organizing when our family travels and I had sleepless nights prior to our trip where I worried about all the potential things I may have forgotten to think about or stressful things that could come up along the way - but, thankfully everything went smoothly and we had a lovely trip, the four of us.
France, my 10th time traveling to this beautiful country - a place that has started to feel familiar. Things I look forward to seeing, eating and smelling with each new trip. The flea market in Cours Saleya on Mondays feels like a treasure hunt and a history lesson put together. I am especially looking for vintage paper and fabric scraps but also soaps, jams and old frames. This trip I only found some lovely old paper (the guy selling them to me said they were from the 1700's but my son was sure I was "had") and 10 lovely soaps - my suitcase smelled nice.
France, above anything else, is, for me, a sensory experience. The old, highly ornate architecture. The flowers - mimosa was in bloom when we were there and the smell drifted through the streets. It was also artichoke season - the purple and greens of the artichokes! Fresh fruit and vegetables in the outdoor markets, products of a Mediterranean sun that both nourishes and burns. To me it is a world firmly planted in the past. It seems odd to see a very modern building and minimalistic Scandinavia style has not really caught on, but I love it still. The golds, plums, greens and blues that you see in the wallpapers, embroidered fabrics and traditional paintings are colors I associate with France and that evoke a kind of cultural richness that is interesting yet maybe a bit oppressive for contemporary design.
That being said, there are a lot of amazing contemporary artists in France. We went to the Museum of Modern Art (MAMAC) and was introduced to Yves Klein. A post-war contemporary artist known for his use of ultramarine blue - images below. I was struck with the impact of using just this one color. It's hard to explain, but it is both comforting and surprising at the same time. It is not usually a color I use in my own work, but now I am intrigued and will try it. Just happened to walk past an art supply store, bought some fun stuff, of course, and the nice guy in the shop gave me a tube of ultramarine blue!
The colors in France had an profound effect on me and I keep thinking that it is most likely because we have been living under snow, ice and darkness since November-December. But as we return to the everyday here in Oslo, the sun is just a bit warmer, the ice and snow is nearly gone from our street and the tulips are showing the tops of their sweet heads in our garden - spring is just around the corner.