City of Lights

I had a blog post all prepared for today. A Christmas theme with angels and lovely artworks and some art history discussion. But I’ve bumped it off the queue to indulge the surge of vicarious joy I felt when I received a photo on my phone early this morning. My niece Olivia turned 16 this month. Now, I gave her a pretty cool gift; two tickets to the Pink concert at Madison Square Garden in May. But honestly it was her mother, my sister-in-law Gayle, who gave her the most fabulous 16th birthday gift imaginable; a trip to Paris. It is Olivia’s first! For those of us who have already been to Paris more than once, we wish we could go back and relive seeing it again for the first time. Olivia’s middle name is Paris, so this is a trip that was meant to be.

Here’s Gayle and Olivia last night on a Paris street. This photo makes me so indescribably happy ๐Ÿ™‚

Art critic John Berger described Paris as, “a young man in his twenties in love with an older woman”. Oh how I love that description! While there are so many great cities throughout the world, each with its own charms and attributes, Paris truly is a standout. People will always disagree and have personal preferences. For example, I loved Venice much more than Florence, an opinion that doesn’t always go over well among the fine arts crowd. I got pelted with tomatoes once! <– just kidding ๐Ÿ˜† But opinions vary on all cities, from London to Tokyo to San Francisco to Prague. Some enjoy those places greatly, while others are lukewarm. Hey, it’s all good. But you’d have to search hard to find someone who doesn’t fall in love with Paris when they visit. I’m sure they exist, but it’s tough. Because Paris is, well, a blast. A sumptuous buffet of cultural enrichment. In the words of noted Francophile Thomas Jefferson, “A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life”.

Promenade at Sunset, Paris,ย Childe Hassam, 1889:

Olivia is blessed to have Gayle for a mother. She knows it too. With all the stresses Olivia has had to deal with regarding her parents’ divorce, Gayle has been her rock, 100% devoted to Olivia’s well-being. While Olivia’s father (that’s my brother) has moved on to a new family, with a new wife, new house, and new step-children, Gayle remains focused on her one role as Olivia’s mother and caretaker, putting her daughter’s needs above her own as a good parent should. It’s made all the difference in the world in strengthening Olivia through the challenges of adolescence and her teenage years. I’m absolutely thrilled that they’re touring Paris right now and experiencing it together. It’s allowing me to keep a smile on my face as I do chores and housework on this rainy day. Bonjour ladies!

Pont Neuf,ย by Edouard Cortes:

10 thoughts on “City of Lights

  1. cauartprof says:

    Really great post! Happy New Year Claudia! I hope the new year brings you many happy surprises. Best, Chris

  2. Gregory says:

    Happy New Year Claudia! Your post has inspired me to take my wife to Paris in the near future. Thanks for all you’ve shared over the past year.

    • artmodel says:


      How wonderful! Excellent plan! If you need an extra dose of inspiration, here’s another picture of my niece in front of a major Paris attraction:

      Happy New Year, and thanks for your continued readership!


  3. Bill says:

    Good for her! Paris, eh? But you didn’t talk about the food — oh yes, my taste buds remember Paris ๐Ÿ™‚ Now that’s a gift and a half.

    • artmodel says:


      Sinatra sounds amazing in that recording. Thanks for sharing! And Gayle’s and Olivia’s taste buds concur with yours about Paris food.

      Happy New Year, friend … ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Jennifer Knight says:

    Such a gorgeous photo of Gayle and Olivia in front of the Christmas lights. They’re probably back in US now, but I’m sure they had an absolutely fabulous time. We went to Paris too over our daughter’s 16th birthday, but it was in the summer and didn’t produce such a lovely photo (Kat has been back to Paris several times since, but I’m afraid only en route to Disneyland Paris!). Hope your Christmas went well enough and that modelling has got off to a good start in 2019.

    All best wishes, Jennifer

    • artmodel says:


      How wonderful that you took your daughter to Paris for her 16th birthday too! Such a perfect gift for young women at that age. Yes they did have a fabulous time and I’m sure Olivia will return one day. Maybe with her Aunt Claudia!

      Great to hear from you Jennifer. Thanks for your comments! Hope you’ve been well.


  5. Derek says:

    I am sorry that you are still estranged from your family. I hope and pray that you all be a happy family. I am glad that you get ing along with your niece.
    Well that is a start. I am glad you are getting on with your life. I am now 70 yeats old

    This year happy belated new year mate

    • artmodel says:


      So good to hear from you old friend! Appreciate your kind wishes. Yes my relationship with my niece is strong and close. She inspires me. Unfortunately things are not improved with my mother and the rest of the family. Mom is heavily influenced by my brother, and his influence has changed her and is making her miserable. He’s a toxic individual. But she can’t see it, or refuses to see it. She can fix things if she wanted to. I can’t fix them for her.

      But I’m grateful for the people in my life who show me unconditional love, and who respect me. I don’t know where I’d be without them.

      Thanks for checking in and for commenting. Hope you’re feeling like a robust 70 year old!


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