Francophile Friday: Being Smart About Paris

ink & watercolour illustration, photo inspiration Katie of Katiefornia

I love my car.  I've been told it's not usual to give one's car a man's name, but mine's called Niles ~ as in the TV comedy Frasier.  He's a silver and black VW Golf Cabriolet: he errs on the small side, he's dapper without attracting a lot of attention, and he's very endearing.  Sadly, he's getting on a bit in years now and though he's wonderful for his age and there's no sign of unruly nose hairs yet, he does have a few health issues that are inevitable over the course of enough time.   Much as I don't know if I'll bear to part with him, I'm surreptitiously eyeing off some possible candidates ~ they'll never fill his tyres, but I'm sure I can grow to love them in a different way.  

One of the cars I might vaguely consider is a Smart car, partly due to the environmental side of things, and mostly because it's a good excuse to segue into today's illustration.  Thanks yet again to dear Katie of Katiefornia for the very pretty photo inspiration! {If you love quirky postcards and good humour, you'll be glad to visit Katie's place}.  This was taken in the streets of Paris on a fairly recent trip.  We may need to arrange the removal and smuggling of those doors ~ anyone want in?  And on that shameful note...

Happy Francophile Friday to you!

PS:  Packs of quality art cards with envelopes are now available at my Etsy store ~ you can mix and match any of my illustrations from the store or  from here on the blog to make up a 5pk, and there's also a ready-made Paris pack.  Any questions, please pop me an email...


  1. That's as darling an illo as I've ever seen! The Smart Car folks would be smart to buy it up from you fast and use it to sell some cars.

  2. Yay Smart Car! I saw one on the way to work today, but it was on the freeway and I was very scared for it. Too funny that I didn't even recognize my photo, I just though -- wow, Shell's done yet another cool Paris drawing -- I love Smart Cars! Hee hee.

  3. Poor Niles. Make sure he keeps his dip stick clean; he might have a few miles yet.

  4. Very good, ShSh. I'm no artist, but if I were, I wood've added more color to the walls.

  5. I wanted a Smart car for years, and then blew that aspiration away by having children. You can't fit more than a few diamonds and an expensive hat box in them, I'm told. But one would be a worthy successor to Niles. It would be an Ambrose, I guess.

  6. I saw a Smart car today also. I always think of Paris when I see one as it was in Paris that I first saw one!

    Doesn't the Smart contrast nicely with that blue door? The car behind it looks like a boat in comparison. The Boat was the nickname of the first car I drove: a Monte Carlo. I have never named a car since. Ambrose is a nice name, but would Einstein be too obvious? lol

    P.S. Tell Niles his cousin in CA says hi.

  7. Thanks, Petrea!! I'll be happy to take their fee in the form of merchandise, though it may only secure me a windscreen wiper. :)

    Katie ~ now, that is funny! Considering how many photos you've taken on your travels, though, it's easy to understand why.

    Hiker ~ duly noted, thank you.

    Cafe ~ not a lover of vanilla? Not to worry, I'll find something more colourful for next time. :)

    Mise ~ well, I have no diamonds but two hat boxes, so sadly that rules it out.

    Cali ~ I just googled the Monte Carlo ~ it does look like a substantial vehicle. Did it handle well in the wet, LOL? PS: Niles was so excited to hear from his cousin, he put his own top down!

  8. Oh, Niles is adorable! Such a cute illustration. You're adorable, too :-)

  9. Sounds like Niles should get his own illustrated storybook!

    Smart cars are adorable. Every time I see one, I want to pick it up, put it in my pocket and bring it home to Mommy.

    Count me in for the door-removal mission. I'll bring my special tools and wear my black turtleneck.

  10. OUI! OUI! OUI! IT's Francophile Friday AGAIN!!!! :)
    I'm a very happy girl ShSh! I love Smart Cars. My grandchildren screamed "SMART CAR!" each and evey time they saw one in Paris, and that was a lot. You know I like it best when they park so close together that the bumpers touch.......a French kiss I call it. :)

  11. Ok, now I'm blushing, GyPsY! :)

    PCN ~ you have special tools? Excellent, as I can only contribute a vegetable peeler and corkscrew.

    Virginia ~ hee hee hee!!! I've heard of this French Kiss. I've always shielded Niles from such brazen pursuits. ;)

  12. As you know, Shell, I'm a true New Yorker—and we don't drive. But if I did have a car, my first choice would be a VW cabriolet! Second choice, absolutely a Smart car—since what could be better for parking in NYC? And since all my cats and bikes have male names, the car would be called . . . Nigel (don't ask).
    As for the smuggling of the doors—count me in.

  13. This is how I discovered my blog buddy Bibi. . .a photo she made of a smart car in Paris before she was blogging Belgrade. I got to meet Katie a year ago. She lives in my old hometown :-). I would like to add this and Le Chat Noir to my print order if you ever make them available! Thank you,

  14. Alexa, that's amazing!! I told Niles and I'll swear he blushed. I'm really finding it harder and harder to imagine parting with him. Maybe I'll just move him to the back of the carport so he can enjoy his old age in peace. Nigel sounds like a fine name for your imaginary Smart car, and PCN has the equipment covered, so all you need to do is turn up in your black catsuit.

    Hey, Kim!! I wish we had another couple of hours added to our day when blogs were invented ~ I don't get around enough to a fraction of those I'd love to! It's lovely, the blogpals we make!! You sure can add those prints, and I'll be in touch with many thanks! :)

  15. Maybe Niles needs a little French ohhh la la to perk him up! :)

  16. Virginia ~ he might have to take a number. ;)

  17. You're so right about that extra couple of hours, Shell. I could use it to visit everyone on the web I've come to like so much, plus two more hours to visit new blogs.

  18. You said it, Petrea. And maybe office chairs with built-in massagers to help with the extra sitting time...

    Thanks so much, Lily! I was so close to putting eyelashes on the headlights...

  19. My car's name changes depending on the day, but she is always a girl.

    I'm glad you don't have to pluck any nose hairs yet. Don't let it get to that point, okay? :)

    The Smart cars are so cute, I've been seeing them zip around here more often. It looks more perfect somehow on a Paris street though. As most things surely do. Lovely illustration as ever Shell!

  20. Amy ~ funny how so many things seem more perfect on a Paris street. ;) And you're right, the nose hairs would really test the unconditional nature of our affair...


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