Long ago, Mistral’s daughter

was one of my all time favourite books. Partly because it played in Montmartre, the artist quartier in Paris, partly because of the characters… I loved to hate Mistral, his ego, his passion, his jerkyness…
As you all know by now, we stayed in the Montmartre Quartier, in that same Paris, so it was inevitable that I would meet Julien Mistral… Well, I had not really counted on it, but I did…
Let me tell you the story from the beginning.
Walking down to the metro, we see the campaign for a new french president. A woman, Segolene Royal is one of the candidates. I wonder if she will win….


We take the Metro to Sacre Coeur, and have the pleasure of a strange meeting. I enjoyed it thoroughly, gave the man a probably too small tip, but they were the only coins I had. He brightened up my day from the early morning… (big file, broadband needed or a long time to load). A bit of Texmex in the Paris Metro. Loved it…


We have a leisurely stroll up to Sacre Coeur (I will write up about that one tomorrow). Aaron had been in Paris before, so he knew what was coming. At the back of the Sacre Coeur, the artist environment of Montmartre is alive and kicking.


We turn a corner, and I see my first painter for the day. Not Julien Mistral, but a look-a-like. With a real “Barret…”.
I was on the lookout for a barret (hat), as my dad use to have one, dark blue, with the little tip on top.
The artists in present day Montmartre know each other, and still look as poor as dirt. Which might be only appearance, as the work they sell goes for exorbitant prices. The question is of course if they do sell. I guess there is always a rich American in the surroundings willing to pay for art…


Lots of painters today earn their living with the quick sketches of tourists.
I am not very interested to see my noble looking face portrayed on paper or canvas, I just enjoy the atmosphere. There is a sense of freedom and joy hanging around… The beautiful summer weather certainly adds to the whole experience.


We have it all: nice weather, time to stroll, a good camera to shoot with, and a husband who gives me freedom to stay behind for yet another picture that has to be taken. I am having a ball here in Paris. It all calls my name…


Besides the overpowering building of the Sacre Coeur, we walk in little streets and alleys, and I see a lot of signs. One more funnier then the other.


Lots of cats, or signs that have to do with cats. I am spoken to.


This one looks a bit frantic, almost like me when I notice that my blog does not work in Paris. I am having troubles uploading, and am pretty upset about it. I am not the nicest person to be around when my computer acts up, but my wonderful husband knows somehow how I feel and manages to make me happy anyway with the places he takes me to.


Place du Tertre is certainly a spot that can make my mood! It has all I need, terrasses, sun, painters, brushes, the smell of oil on canvas…


Under the trees and the parasols, you find all kinds of things going on. Lots of little eating places, artists trying to sell their work, I adore this corner of Paris. Probably my most precious memory of our trip…


I want to come and live here… For ever. Even if Julien Mistral is only a fictional character, I could still hope to meet him here, or maybe his spirit.


I must sound completely daft… But hey, this is summer in spring in Paris… One has the right to be a bit daft, almost too happy to take in.
I can not be happier then I am on this day, on the little market of the Place du Tertre.


A girl is posing for a drawing artist, he uses a kind of charcoal, or chalk, soon we have a monotone piece of rich textured paper, with the girl her portrait on it. She is very happy with it. Good… that is what we need: pleased people!


Lots of barrets, still no luck in finding one to take home…


Lunch time has come, and Aaron and me start to look for a place to sit and have a snack. Place du Tertre is not really cheap, they count on name branding, and charge more then normal for a tiny croque-monsieur. No veggies with it, just two slices of bread with ham and cheese.


It can not break my good mood. It tastes like the best meal I ever had. And that is the moment when I see Mistral. (He is not, but I bet that if Mistral still had been alive and a real person – he would have looked like that)


Sitting next to us in an outside make believe restaurant under the trees. Very colourful person. Barret in place, little tip on top, zipping a beer.
Hah, my day can not be ruined anymore. How totally funny. I should have asked for his name (he might have said Julien) – but I was so in awe of meeting a “real” painter that I forgot.


His work is attracting lots of people, he jumps up and down between customers and his lunch… I like the cat he did, sadly enough it is too expensive to buy. If I win the lotto, I will go back to Place du Tertre and hope he still will be there.


And if I am double lucky, the cat will still be there too. Bright colours, nice forms, just what I like.
I watch him deal with an english speaking maybe customer. He is very focused, I hope she buys the painting that he shows her.


I love to look at him, he has great dynamics, lots of facial expressions, a moustache that is more then impressing, and a quilted vest made out of different fabrics. A true painter as most of us would imagine them in our minds.
Before we leave the restaurant, I talk to him for a while, and tell him that it was very pleasant meeting and watching him. He laughs when I tell him that he is what I would expect from “looking like a real painter”. We shake hands and I take off. Aaron is once more patiently waiting a bit further.


I discover my name on a little house, nice… This life is so much better then I could ever imagine still working for the newspaper in Belgium.
Never would I have dreamed that I would be in Paris one day, shooting to my hearts desire, enjoying sun and people…
I like my life now…


Another neat sign and it is time to leave Place du Tertre… Too bad. We hop on a little train (I know, we are real tourists…), and it takes us down to the Place de Clichy, were we need to be for our hotel.
As it turns out, the Moulin Rouge is right around the corner of french residence…


I end this day filled with photographs with a flower store close to Place de Clichy.
More to come…


If someone is visiting Paris and reading this blog, if you see Julien Mistral, please ask his name for me, if you can, and maybe an address where I can reach him… One never knows when we will need a painting of a cat!

See you tomorrow… Life is good when the sun shines on the Place du Tertre…

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8 thoughts on “Long ago, Mistral’s daughter

  1. who painted the “La Rouquinne” series of paintings in ‘Mistral’s Daughter’ movie?

  2. Hi:
    Does anybody know where to purchase a print or an art book of The impressionistic paintings featured in the film series on television (Mistral’s Daughter). The paintings were masterwork of John Bratby, a member of the English provincial realists artists known as the Kitchen Sink school, founded by Bratby in the late 1950s.
    His paintings are shown in the 1984 television mini-series adaptation of Judith Krantz’s novel “Mistral’s Daughter”

  3. All I found was this: The impressionistic paintings featured in the film were actually the work of John Bratby, a member of the English provincial realists artists known as the Kitchen Sink school, founded by Bratby in the late 1950s.
    His paintings are shown in the 1984 television mini-series adaptation of Judith Krantz’s novel “Mistral’s Daughter” about an artist, https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/86/a2/02/86a2026d18fdbefda8595054bf1a9dcb.jpg

  4. Did you find out who painted “La Rouquinne” series in the movie “Mistral’s Daughter”? Does anyone here know? Thanks so much for any feedback!

  5. Now this was a perfect day! Just the kind of post I’ve been expecting…just the way I hoped Paris would look. Today I am seriously jealous of your trip! When I go……I will look up Julien for you. :)
    BTW….your banners are SMASHING!!!

  6. Love, love this little trip to Paris, Cat! Especially the pictures of the street signs and the painters’ and their work – so much of the flavor I imagine Paris to have. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  7. oh my goodness…. Cat, I love Mistral’s Daughter…
    that is where Ted’s name came from, but Shhh…
    don’t tell! :)))
    great pics, as usual. especially the painter, and yeah, he does look like a painter…
    just waiting for the truck. movers are here, but I don’t think a hot cuppa will be to their liking… hee hee hee….
    have a good day!

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