Art Supplies ooh la la!
If you are an artist you can not be in Paris and not pay a visit to Magasin Sennelier, located at 3 Quai Voltaire, just a block or two down the street from the Musee D'Orsay and across the Seine from the Louvre.
This shop opened it's doors in 1887 and since then it has been the go to place for many of art history's biggest names like Gauguin, Bonnard, Soutine, Sisley, Degas, Vuillard, and Picasso. The latter had some specific shades of gray pastels made for him which now form part of the color line of Sennelier pastels.
It was such a treat to rummage around the shelves and drawers of this shop, there were products that are very familiar to us in America, such as Gamblin and Caran d'Ache, but if you looked hard enough you could find some gems.
In my case the gems were these books made by Hahnemuhle (red and dark blue) and the Kunst & Papier (royal blue watercolor book). I can not tell you how many sketchbooks I've collected over the years, and most have not been touched! I think it's an artist thing, I've talked to some who have the same problem, we buy sketchbooks thinking about filling them in the future but never do.
Speaking of sketchbooks, I went a little crazy when I found this shop called Grim'Art, a stationary store with handmade leather bound books.
How can you choose one with so many choices? Just box them all and ship them please...If only I had the space and money for all of them.
Instead of a leather bound book I settled for this beautiful leather and marbled paper sketchbook. This one is made by an Italian company, Legatoria Koine, who specialize in leather journals, photo books and bags. I have a nostalgic thing about marbled paper books, my grandfather used to use them for his accounting and note taking. I'm sure he would love this book.
It's hard to find a leather or any kind of handmade sketchbook with good paper. Most manufacturers bind books with the journalist in mind, but a good heavy drawing or watercolor paper in these bindings is hard to find. This book has a warm white, laid paper with deckle edges, total artist's porn...I had to get it!
I could stay for days in both of these stores, just lock me in and leave me a loaf of bread and I'll be a happy guy. One place I did not get to visit is La Maison du Pastel (The House of Pastel), I wanted to see how hand made pastels are made, and yes perhaps shop a little. There is always next trip my friends!