Parisian painter Caroline Faindt grew up in eastern France. After starting work in media and television, she changed track to embark on a career as a painter on the theme of cities, constellations and the quest for self. Ultimately it’s love that’s inspired her to create the majority of her paintings. Here Caroline tells us about her French inspiration and favourite places…
Which French city inspires you the most in your work, and why?
“Without a doubt, it’s Paris. I dreamed of living here since I was a little girl and settled here almost 15 years ago. It’s such a culturally rich city. There are people from different cultures and social backgrounds and of all ages... as you move from area to area, it’s like you go from one world to another. Paris is also a great city for its choice of shows, exhibitions and plays... I absorb everything I see. Inspiration is everywhere and constant here; it’s a city that’s always in flux.”
What are your favourite French spots and experiences to recommend to visitors?
“Every summer I try to do a road trip around France with my partner, moving from guesthouse to guesthouse. We discover new landscapes, new cities, artisans... I love it! France is a beautiful country. It’s hard for me to choose a single city.
“I love Strasbourg at Christmas with its market and illuminations. I always take a break in the tearoom called ‘Au Fond du Jardin’(‘At the Bottom of the Garden’). It’s unique and enchanting place due to its decor, warm welcome and sweet treats.
“I like La Rochelle for its pretty cobbled streets, the architecture of the city centre, its port… it’s a lively city. For a little break and breath of fresh air it’s perfect! I also like the atmosphere that takes over during the Francofolies festival.
“I always love a break in Cancale to eat seafood and explore the beautiful wild side of the Brittany coast – it’s very restorative. Not to mention Saint-Jean-de-Luz and the Côte d’Azur ... in fact, I should write a guide book! There are so many cities and regions that I love in France.”
Is there a place in France that you don’t know yet and would like to explore?
“I’d love to visit the chateaux of the Loire – admire their magnificent forms with a passionate guide who can tell us the history of France and its kings and queens, and sample delicious wines at the same time. Learning and having fun at the same time makes for a wonderful holiday.”
What inspires you about cities more generally?
“Painting imaginary cities, reinventing worlds, retranscribing the beauty of the world: that’s what I’ve tried to do with this series of paintings. It was a trip to New York that triggered it unconsciously. When I returned to France I wanted to paint what I saw there, to portray the world as I imagined, and to put all the colours that surrounded me straight onto the canvas. I had a desire to build and imagine a better world with my brushes. This series on cities is also, for me, a way of travelling constantly; painting a canvas is like opening a window to the world.”