I had longed to visit Sennelier for many moons and last October, I got my wish. Established in 1887 by Gustave Sennelier and still run by family members, this classic art store seems to cram more merchandise into tall but very narrow space than most others I've visited. And it's good product.
The sketchbooks are by Hahnemuhle and Fabriano (among others) and while they do carry Golden paints, which I like very much, I was there for the Sennelier brand of juicy watercolors in a palette so big, I could hardly decide!
They are noted for their pastels, which Sennelier created especially for Edgar Degas including 30 shades of browns that the artist used from a collection of 700 colors. His grandson, Henri, later created oil pastels, specifically at the request of Pablo Picasso, in 1948.
There are any number of art stores in Paris, but this one ticks both the art and the history boxes.
Visiting Paris, want a book but unable to read French? Not a problem!
A short walk east from Sennelier and you will find the legendary Shakespeare and Company with its selection of English language books and a long and fascinating history. There were actually two Shakespeare and Company bookstores. This is the second, which opened in 1951 on the banks of the Seine near Place Saint-Michel. (The first closed long ago.)
Among those who called it home were Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, James Baldwin, Lawrence Durrell, Bertolt Brecht and many others.
George Whitman had modeled his shop after the original, owned by Sylvia Beach. Originally named The mistral, Beach herself gave Whitman the name of her shop to use for his.
On the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth, Whitman renamed his store "Shakespeare and Company," describing it "a novel in three words."
Look about! Type a bit on a vintage typewriter, imagining who else might have sat at this very spot.
Then soak up the atmosphere of the Tumbleweeds, writers, intellectuals and artists in need of a bed who were invited to sleep among the shop's shelves.
Their payment: They must read a book each day, assist several hours in the shop a day and write a one-page autobiography.
Even if you're not into book shopping, take a peek in here!
Man does not live by bread alone, but one could live rather awhile on a two-kilo loaf from the renowned Poilane Boulangerie.
Located at 8 rue du Cherche Midi in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, this is the sight of the original Poilâne, which opened in 1932. It is still considered the bakery's flagship store.
The bakery's original owner was Lionel Poilane who used stone ground flour and a wood fired oven. The shop also offers several types of bread and some delicious shortbread cookies. (Yes, I've had both the bread and the cookies!)
His son, also Lionel, continued the business, keeping largely to traditional methods with the exception of machine kneading.
There is a second Poilane on boulevard de Grenelle as well and one can arrange for tours. (We didn't do this, much to Rick's chagrin!)
The company is currently run by Apollonia Poilane, who holds her degree from Harvard University.
Let's just say that you are traveling with a classical guitarist who wants to maybe, just possibly, buy a new guitar while in Paris. And, if not that, at least some sheet music.
If so, the place to go is Rue du Rome area (Europe metro). There one will find numerous spots to entice the musician, whether looking for music or, say, a guitar!
Of course, there are more than shops for luthiers in the area. You could find a piano, a violin, brass instruments.
Some pretty heavy hitters have walked into these rooms and looking at the memorabilia on many shops walls is almost as much fun as shopping. (OK, if you don't happen to be the musician, it's more fun!)
Most of these shops are small and the proprietors are more than happy to let you try out the instruments ...
...or give you a little performance themselves.
It's the best free entertainment in town!
Of course, you can find, books, music, bread and art supplies in loads of places on Paris' streets. Enjoy!
Tamara's site HERE for links!