Sunday, June 30, 2019

Paris in July 2019: Specialized Shopping in Paris

Whether one is window shopping or looking to buy, Paris certainly abounds with choices in just about every price range! But sometimes when one is traveling, the lookout is on for just the right thing! As I once again join the Paris in July blog festival, here's a look at some of my favorite specialty shopping in the City of Lights! If you have other favorites, please be sure to leave them in the comments because I know I will be back!

Art Supplies:

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.

 English-Language Books

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!

This post is part of Paris In July, an annual blog event with posts related to France! Check out Tamara's site HERE for links!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Trying to Get Life Back to Normal

Sometimes there is woefully little about which to write. I haven't been doing a heck of a lot but laying on the couch and occasionally accomplishing something, then giving myself far too much praise for doing a task that basically required less than ten minutes and little effort.

My garden is mostly herbs which are growing great guns, thanks to the rain. My strawberry plants are a little erratic. I think it has been too cool and wet for them. On a good day, I might pick three. Today, just two. No shortcake here! (Hopefully the farmer's market will have a better yield.)

We did hit the last of MSU's outdoor theatre plays, a delightful musical, "Dames at Sea."

I think I tap danced vicariously through the whole thing because the next day I couldn't get off the couch. I am learning that recovery from pneumonia is hard!

Rick has done wonders in being a good support, even (on a rare nice day when it didn't rain) making a Japanese-style cookout. We had somen noodles, cold and delicious.

Then yakitori -- chicken skewers marinated in a mixture of soy sauce and mirin and grilled on skewers with spring onions. So good!

I was greatly cheered to see my sweet pea bush finally coming to life with its first blooms. Pretty soon this will be a mass of pink and white flowers!

The other plants are hanging in there. The cool weather means the pansies have survived so far...

...and my Southern Exposure basket done HERE in April is looking good.

So, too, is this Southern Exposure project, done at THIS workshop.

And yesterday for the first time in weeks, I picked up a paintbrush. This is from a Cotswold window and isn't done yet. But close, I think.

And this is my friend Penny's cat. I'm trying to practice with the dreaded greens. More work is needed but it did feel good to touch brush to paper.

Paris in July, Tamara's annual blog event, begins next week, so look for some posts on Paris to come. And I hope to start sending "Postcards from the Lake" beginning next week too.

Meanwhile, I leave you with my "therapy cat," a bit fuzzy because she's always in motion. Except when she's not!

 Can you believe we are very nearly in July?

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Felties are Taking Over My World!

Things are nice in my little corner of the world, now that I'm feeling a little better.

Fairy fungi is probably the only mold that isn't in my basement, so I need to make my own!

But the cat is happy...

...and so is the pup.

The bird, meanwhile, is relieved that felted critters can't be after him! The red, red robin goes bob-bob-bobbin along!

And the wise old owls go "Who?"

At the Feltie Farmyard, the sheep are full and happy!

The bunnies are dancing with joy that it's spring...and it has finally stopped raining, at least for a day or two!

...and some even dress for the occasion!

So whether you are puttering in your cozy house...

...looking out at a barren forest...

...or a lovely day on the lake...

...of just window gazing...

...I hope you have a good time of it. And again, thanks for all your kind comments. I'm on the upswing now and all that good energy from you helped, I know.

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