Cafe Avec Le Chat Luxe (Cafe With the Luxurious Cat)

Acrylic on 18×24 Wood Panel

It was our first evening in Paris. We just spent the afternoon wandering through the park, having ice cream, and watching swans swim around a pond. I was on a cloud of disbelief, trying to process the reality of this day. Walking hand in hand with the man of my dreams, through the city of my dreams, this is all too good to be true, I thought as we walked back to our hotel. We stayed at a little boutique hotel, just down these steps and around the corner, to the left. We walked this path each night as we made our way back to the hotel after a long adventure around town. The energy from the cafe lights, inviting you into their doors and the commotion from the patrons gathering with friends, was so enticing!

That night, exhausted from the travel and walking, we decided to stay close to the hotel for dinner, so we stopped at one of the restaurants in the square. I had crammed as many words and phrases as I could to prepare for the trip, but I hadn’t used much of it with actual Parisians yet. We sat down and between the waiter’s broken English and my memorization of menu items, we managed to order an amazing first dinner!

If you look closely at the painting, there is a black cat walking into the cafe. After we finished our dinner that night, we sat at the table with a final glass of wine. We noticed a cat in the restaurant, walking towards us. She came right to our table, looked up, and gave us a friendly meow. We pet her head and tried to give her a little bite of food that was left on our plates. She scoffed and refused to take it. Instead, she jumped on the chair at the table next to us and laid down. Puzzled, I looked at my husband, wondering why she would refuse free food. Just then, the waiter noticed us trying to get her attention again. Trying to find the right english words, he told us she was a “luxe cat,” she only eats from a plate, never from your hand. That sealed the evening for me. I was officially in love with Paris and all of their fancy, stray cats.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Dream a Little Dream of Paris, using the black and white scheme for this series freezes time in each of these memories. For this one, I wanted to add a glimmer of yellow in the lights to bring just a hint of life to the scene. I want to draw the viewer into the painting, standing at the top of the stairs with me, feeling the pull of the warm lights to the cafe.

More in this series (stories to come!): Dream a Little Dream of Paris, The Eiffel Tower, A Walk in Montmartre.

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