paris underground by mark ovenden

  Metro maps, stations, fonts, logos, signage, colors, metro tiles, vintage photos... Paris... graphic design and renowned font designers. Since all of that intrigues me I totally enjoyed this book. Actually I poured over it.

First, I love Paris. And I enjoyed the metro system too. What an amazing way to get around a huge city. I remember wondering why all the metro stations didn't look alike or have the same metro logo or signage. Well this book explains the evolution of the metro, the lines, the graphics, fonts used, even who designed the maps and cover art.

The book even gives a metro alphabet and logo timeline and a current graphics standards manual. It also gives a directory of designers which includes font greats Adrian Frutiger and Eric Gill.

A word-of- mouth sensation, Transit Maps of the World garnered rave reviews and offered delicious eye-candy to the many who devoured its lusciously designed pages. In Paris Underground, Mark Ovenden turns his attention to the famous Paris transit system with its inimitable Art Nouveau inspired stations and Art Deco signage. More than one thousand maps, diagrams, and photographs—historical and current—along with fascinating factual tidbits and enthusiastic, informed commentary embellish this gorgeous cultural history of the Métro’s design and construction. Transit buffs, Francophiles, and anyone who appreciates beautiful design are sure to make Paris Underground the season’s must-have volume. - penguingroup.com

http://youtu.be/S9YGPW9aZV0

 

movies

we use to see a lot more movies. But then we lived in cities with much less to do. We love movies and here are our latest.

Harry Potter, a must see. I did re read the last book which was very helpful. This movie jumps right in where the last one left off and was every bit as enjoyable as the books and other movies.

 

Possibly the best Woody Allen since Annie Hall. Owen Wilson was great in it and I am not usually a fan. I think I like him better when he is channeling Woody Allen. And of course it is Paris. I really need to see this a second time because there was too much to get the first time.... references to artists, Paris scenes I wanted to look at more... It is on our Netflix list and it will make a great cold Winter night movie.

 

This is a documentary that I watched this week as I worked on London Doodles. Alice Neel was an amazing portrait artist. It is the story of her life and art and told by in part her sons. She was certainly a bohemian artist in her day. I do think her children suffered for her art. And she seemed to feel she needed to suffer for her art too. Certainly being a woman and a single mother in addition to an artist was not an easy life. It was a good movie to have playing as I worked.

I enjoyed all of these and all are or will be available on Netflix.

 

If you are interested here is a a 7-day free trial to lynda.com.

kiki & coco in paris...

Here is just the cutest little slide show ever. Stephanie Rausser is the photographer, check out her site. She is a kids and lifestyle photographer. Her profile is interesting as is her extensive client list. I like the scribblely handwriting on her site too. So pretty much I like everything about her delightful site.

5 paris blogs...

I miss Paris. To be fair I missed Paris before I ever went there. I've missed Paris all my life.

I especially miss the Montmarte area near the Sacre Coeur. Photos from this area give me a real deja vue feeling. A psychic told me once that I've had 3 happy lives in Paris so maybe that is it.

I took this picture. This was a moment of awe. We had wandered to the Eiffel Tower at night and were standing here at 10PM when all these white lights went on. We had no idea it lit up in this way. To be standing in this spot at that moment in time it felt like the Tour Eiffel had been lit just for us.

Since it will be a while until I can make a trip back to Paris I've decided to visit daily though the magic of Paris blogs. So here some that I am going to try out.

An American at Home in Paris, Secrets of Paris, Hip Paris,  The Paris Apartment and Little Brown Pen. And all are in English...

font friday... ohh la la... Paris Doodles!

Who doesn't like Paris? This font was SO much fun to do and it was equally fun to revisit our trip of several years ago and recapture it in a whimsical way. Memories of a feeling, a rainy afternoon, a glass of wine, an outdoor cafe, a metro stop... This is a sample of some of the 30 Paris Doodles included in the font.

libraries...my library...and Paris books...

We were recently at a neighborhood gathering. (We have the best neighborhood full of really interesting people.) A comment was made by someone in the construction industry that in 20 years you won't build libraries. Someone in academia mentioned that part of the library here is being re purposed because books are being scanned.

While this is true it makes me very sad. I love the library, always have. One of my best memories is of being little and being allowed to walk to the library 3 blocks away with my 2 younger sisters. We always had on cute matching outfits lovingly ironed by my mother. The library was only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the Summer. Our library number was 243. I would check out as many books as I could possibly carry. And they never lasted long enough.

I have gone to the library wherever we have lived. It makes me truly sad that future generations won't have that feeling I always get when I walk into a library in whatever city I am in. Libraries and museums give me that same sense of wonder. All those books, all that art, and not enough time.

I have seriously curbed my book ownership. Especially now that we are in a small place. I do still have cookbooks, knitting books, art books, typography books, reference books... the rest comes from the library.

I am working on the font Paris Doodles and was quite pleased that I seem to have what I need in my own small library. OK I have been squirreling away books just for this project. Here are 3 that I am particularly enjoying...

This is the first in the series of 'This Is' books, This is Paris is a delightful tour of 1950s Paris from a child's eye view. I remember this set of books from my early library years. Love the illustrations and the typography. I recently got this at Anthropologie.

This book on the City of Lights offers a unique combination of Then and Now. It has over 100 archival photographs contrasted with specially commissioned, full-color images of the same scene today. I will read this one cover to cover, I find this book fascinating.

One thousand buildings arranged by arrondisssements. A great reference guide to the Parisian architecture. John gave me this before our trip there. All in black and white and some shades of gray.

Where does this leave us? Someday no libraries? Will that mean no book stores? No home libraries? Just an iPad? And I love my electronics but I can't quite manage reading a book that way. I know all the reasons why I should but you lose that feel of the weight of the book in your hand, the color and smell of the paper,  the font and white space, the look and feel of the cover or book jacket. Not to mention actually seeing bookshelves full of books in nooks and crannies of your house....

Paris Decoupage Box

My first decoupage project is complete and it was fun to do. Now I know I will be on the look out for wooden things to decoupage. I collected a lot of Paris ephemera when we were there not knowing that I would do with it. It was fun to get some of it out and go through it to pick a few little things to work with. And what do you think the pix below is?

Vintage French Ephemera

I am collecting French or Paris ephemera for an upcoming art project, but that is another blog.Here are a couple shots that my Dad took when he was in Paris during WWll at the Eiffel Tower. And if you have been there you know that it looks a lot different.

This is Dad with a little French girl. The back of this photo says: In front our our schoolhouse home. I assume they were being housed in a schoolhouse.

Here is an illustration from Dad's Pocket Guide to France. This was an interesting read in part because it was before my time. So the information is from a by-gone era. This was a small manual for the soldiers to use to acclimate themselves for their stay in France.

I learned: French beer is flatter and more slippery than our beer.

Don't think peasant means hick in France.

Women don't vote.

Interesting section on prostitutes: Almost anyone can get chummy with a special sort of hard-boiled dame who, for obvious business reasons, is sitting alone at a cafe table....

And: You are a member of the best dressed, best fed, best equipped liberating Army now on earth. Let us remember our likenesses, not our differences. The Nazi slogan for destroying us both was "Divide and Conquer" and our American answer is "In Union There is Strength."