Oh, Paris! Pastel painting of the Eiffel Tower.

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Nicholas, 9

Guy de Maupassant hated the Eiffel tower so much that he ate lunch at the tower restaurant every day. Seems unreasonable?

When he was asked why, the famous writer replied: “It’s the only place in Paris where I can eat and not see that hideous tower”. True or not we do not know but the anecdote is fun to tell the kids.

Hard to believe it now but the Eiffel Tower caused so much controversy while in the process of building and when it was erected.  Paris would not be Paris without it yet it produced such strong feelings that it had to be protected from the people with dynamites and crazy ideas. Now the times are different which of course does not mean that people stopped having strong feelings about the structure. Au contraire, having strong feeling was the reason of an extremely passionate woman named Erica to propose and merry The Eiffel Tower in 2007.  Mr. and Mrs. Eiffel still live happily ever after and have one of those wonderful marriages when they can’t even find a reason for a quarrel.  Ahhh…

Anyway, oil pastel seemed perfect for the job. I believe that it is a very trouble-free medium besides it just glides on the paper. Terrific feeling.  Any paper that is not too smooth will work;  for the class we were using Strathmore 80-Pound pastel paper.

Architecture is not the easiest subject and that is why in the beginning  everybody had a bit of a struggle.  So I helped the little ones by drawing a long triangle and explained that the easiest way to do it is to draw a triangle and shave off the sides to make it look like the tower.


This  souvenir that we bought in Paris many moons ago was really helpful or you can certainly print a picture for the reference. To have something to draw from will make the job much simpler.

First, we did the pencil drawing: triangle, shave off, divide into sections:

Maxim’s unfinished work

Then, when everybody started working on the background it was a time to decide the weather and pick the appropriate color of the blue. All kids wanted clouds. 🙂

The pastel painting has a very simple design yet the center of attention seems to attract eyes with its intricate construction. Of course, do not make the kids go overboard with the complexity of the metal structure. Depending on the age, they will unmistakably decide how difficult they want their drawings to be.

See what I mean:

Alexandra, 5
Sasha, 9
Nicholas, 5
Valeria, 5

Light French Music was a perfect compliment for the class. We also listened to the Amelie soundtrack during one of the other classes. You can not go wrong with a french music; as soon as you turn it on you immediately dive into the atmosphere of busy Paris cafes and sense freshly baked bread and coffee… Do all have this feeling or is it just me?

As a rule, I tell the kids interesting facts, history or biography of a famous artist. This class we had a list of facts about the Tower, bien sûr.

  • It is the most visited sightseeing thingy by the tourists from all over the world.
  • It shrinks when it is cold by 6 inches. (I probably shrink more but only when humidity is on the rise).
  • It was build for the fair and was supposed to be temporary. Fortunately, some smart guys decided to use it as a radio antenna.
  • Gustave Eiffel had an apartment on the top floor.
  • There is a short Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas, USA and a full scale replica in Tokio, Japan.
  • It is made of iron and called The Iron Lady (La dame de fer) which also was the nickname of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher… But that is the entirely different story.

Au revoir. Enjoy the class!




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