Often I remember soaking my bread in milk, as I sat by the window to take the fresh air; while my eyes wandered over a view of roofs — brown, gray, or red, slated or tiled, and covered with yellow or green mosses. At first the prospect may have seemed monotonous, but I very soon found peculiar beauties in it. Sometimes at night, streams of light through half-closed shutters would light up and color the dark abysses of this strange landscape.
I studied the mosses, with their colors revived by showers, or transformed by the sun into a brown velvet that fitfully caught the light. Such things as these formed my recreations — the passing poetic moods of daylight, the melancholy mists, sudden gleams of sunlight, the silence and the magic of night, the mysteries of dawn, the smoke wreaths from each chimney; every chance event, in fact, in my curious world became familiar to me…This level Parisian prairie of roofs, beneath which lay populous abysses, suited my humor, and harmonized with my thoughts…
For three years I lived in this airy sepulchre, and worked unflaggingly day and night; and so great was the pleasure that study seemed to me the fairest theme and the happiest solution of life. The tranquility and peace that a scholar needs is something as sweet and exhilarating as love. Unspeakable joys are showered on us by the exertion of our mental faculties; the quest of ideas, and the tranquil contemplation of knowledge; delights indescribable, because purely intellectual and impalpable to our senses…
The pleasure of striking out in some lonely lake of clear water, with forests, rocks, and flowers around, and the soft stirring of the warm breeze — all this would give, to those who knew them not, a very faint idea of the exultation with which my soul bathed itself in the beams of an unknown light, hearkened to the awful and uncertain voice of inspiration, as vision upon vision poured from some unknown source through my throbbing brain.
No earthly pleasure can compare with the divine delight of watching the dawn of an idea in the space of abstractions as it rises like the morning sun; an idea that, better still, attains gradually like a child to puberty and man’s estate.”
In this way in 1831, Honore de Balzac described the first works on the novel of one of his characters in a secluded room overlooking Paris. When we were working on the French studio, we automatically recalled these lines looking at the roofs and side streets outside the window and realized that the state of mind described by Balzac was akin to a journey – when you find yourself face to face with a new reality and live it all out for the first time. Since the guests of the studio were supposed to become travelers in there, we realized that these lines – written about Paris by the French writer – served as a real prologue to the French studio.
The first thing we noticed once we were in the space of the future studio was a huge window facing the corner of the side street. It was looking out exactly in the direction of a sunrise and our imagination began to draw the Parisian morning filled with sunrise tenderness, sunlights and the scent of coffee with croissants.
We thought this window would work perfectly with a head of a large bed with a white canopy, so that in the summer evenings you could fall asleep under the clear blue sky and wake up in a lighted tent filled with sunshine. To remove the space between the window and the bed, it was possible to slightly raise the bedroom above the rest of the space in the studio to level the bed to the window-sill. And that is exactly what we did.
What is the Parisian morning in the French studio? It is a summer’s sunrise, an open window, and the street downstairs that is already full of life. It makes it difficult to sleep long at such a moment. You need to leave the cozy bed and canopy and go take an unforgettable shower: here the sun shines brightly, jets of water fall down from three-meters above you and spill on your shoulders and out of the window you see … the old roof of the building built in 1896.
This is the morning of romantics and lovers. That is why the shower room of the studio is made of a glass which lets the sun rays pass in the morning and disperse in the interior: if you approach it, it turns out that it doesn’t only blur the contours of the image, but the image becomes clearer maintaining an atmosphere of mystery at the same time.
After the shower – coffee with open windows in the kitchen done in the spirit of French Provence. And birds songs – the French studio is located on the top floor and every morning the tweeting birds and cooing pigeons are heard from under the roof.
And, of course, the French morning is also all about leafing through Impressionist albums that adorn the interior as well as reading a good book after breakfast. It might even be a time for you to work on your own art piece, because the ambience of the French studio very closely resembles the extract from the book of Honore de Balzac.
Read about this studio sibling
on the Tree of Legends: