Monday, October 20, 2014

Sonia Delaunay, Kenzo ♥ Printemps

Trying to paint a geometric 'Sonia Delaunay' watercolor is not as easy as it first appears.

Everyone asks how I find out what's on in Paris as if I had some secret source and could I please fess up? My big ole secret is: 
I see a poster.
I shoot it.
If the poster is revolving as many do in Paris, I'll wait for it to come back and shoot it. I stash the photos in a file on my ipad and on Flickr. I noticed the Delaunay show was opening the 17th at the Musee d'art Moderne. So I ran over the day before and caught the press preview.  Very lucky.

This is one huge and very beautiful retrospective.

Delaunay lived to be 91 and never stopped producing artworks.

Her husband, Robert Delaunay, is perhaps more famous than she is and that's her doing.

He died at the beginning of the Second World War in 1941. She went on to promote his paintings assiduously while working in a multitude of mediums including fabrics, home furnishing, fashion.

I don't know if Delaunay turned her hand to design in the kitchen(cuisine). Most likely. If you want a break mid-show, which isn't a bad idea, go next door to the snack bar (called Smack) in the Palais de Tokyo - one of my favorite quick lunch places in the 16th on Avenue President Wilson. Healthy, yummy and reasonable.

Delaunay was a prolific fashion designer first only for herself and then, because of the demand, for others.

Her gouache sketches are simply wonderful.

Many of her designs turned up in the theatre. The brilliant colors and geometric patterns were perfect for dancers. This is a don't-miss show in my opinion. You will leave deeply inspired I promise.
More SONIA DELAUNAY pictures on Flickr.

More geometry and bright colors at Printemps' homage to Designer Kenzo.

These might well be the perfect outfit to wear to the Delaunay show.

Printemps has lit up the entire store for Kenzo.

I was turned upside down by the jazzy bright colors.

Don't miss the jazzy religeuses at Cafe Pouchkine inside Printemps.

Witty windows. I could use an extra pair of hands in my purse..

There's a new accessory floor (the 4th) and LE SNEAKER is the IT shoe if you can believe it.

Downstairs more crazy patterns from Kenzo and cupcakes from a Sugar Daze pop-up shop. Or you can get your geometric kick (licorice Allsorts) in a red-striped bag at the outdoor stall at Metro Odeon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jam Trouble - Paris Sketch Letter

It's that time of the month again when I go through torture creating the newest Paris Sketch Letter.

Inspiration for October's letter came last Spring when Coco Jobard showed off her wonderful old Alsatian jam(confiture) dish towel. Jars of luscious fruity jam spell Fall to me. I'm crazy for the hand-written labels, the fluted glass jars. Jam on toast or a croissant plus tea and a good book is the best no?

But researching jam for 3+ weeks is maybe not the best kind of immersion for the easily tempted.

These jam hats (chapeau pot de confiture) made me swoon. You can find a wonderful variety of hats on

Some of the best hats are worn on the best jam made in France by Alsatian Christine Ferber. She hand-ladles her heavenly jams into each pot to maintain quality. I dream of visiting her shop in Niedermorschwihr if I ever figure out how to pronounce it. These jams are in the new Galerie Lafayette's Food department, moved across the street from the main store.

Three glorious floors of food boutiques and mini restaurants and everything is clearly marked out. Le Grand Epicerie feels like a maze since they redid it. I forever get lost and can't find what I want.

Do come prepared and wear battle gear to browse the huge jam department at Galeries.

If you plan to make jam yourself you'll need a different kind of armor.

Head over to Librairie Gourmands on 92, rue Montmartre 75002 for the best selection of cookbooks in Paris, two floors of them. some are in English. All of them gorgeous.

Their windows right now are full of jam cookbooks. I bought this one though I'll never lift a wooden spoon or stir strawberries in a copper pot. Look for 'cuit au chaudron' (cooked in a caldron) on the labels. Traditional copper pots are great conductors of heat. You want to cook your fruit quickly and evenly.

They have adorable boxed preserves sets with all the essential  accoutrement for jam-making. So tempting.

Researching jam requires a visit to La Chambres au Confitures. There's a new branch in the Marais.

Inside it's wall-to-wall jam divided into seasonal flavors. You can sample every jam in the place and I almost did before deciding on fig. See my sampling spoons below.

If you're like me and have 'impulse control issues' you'd best stick to collecting miniature jars of jam. Once a jam pot enters my house it's 'Gone Girl' in the blink of the eye.

Painting jam, on the other hand, is a perfectly safe activity for the jam-addicted. It is advisable to work from photographs rather than the real thing.

Frenchy script on jam jar labels (etiquettes) always intrigues me. My first banner for Parisbreakfast was a jam label. If you're mad for these little paper stickers the best source is BHV, second floor craft department.

I used mini jam jars to sketch from, to minimize the damage of wolfing down big jars of apricot jam in one fell swoop. Size matters.

Parisbreakfast readers often ask for old watercolor still lives so I decided I'd make the Sketch letters more washy.

Finally, after maybe too much jam research, the October letter is done and on it's way to you.

You can see ALL of the October letter uncovered on Etsy. If you've been resisting subscribing here's an enticement. A jar of pear jam (an original watercolor 4" x 6") sent as a bonus if you subscribe to the Paris Sketch Letters. This is the perfect time of year for jam don't you think.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

City Pharma, Les Deux Magots

Some clever travelers know Paris is a Mecca for makeup and City-Pharma is their bargain land Holy Grail.
26, rue du Four 75004

I met up with two clever ducks Cheryl and Debbie last Tuesday because they'd ordered the Archive of 6 Paris Sketch Letters and they wanted to pick them up while in Paris (so no shipping and instant gratification). 

They raved about the goodies they bought at City-Pharma and even shared a bed shot of their magnificent haul. Yum Yum

I pass this corner (rue Bonaparte and rue du Four) dozens of times a week but never venture in.

I have always been mystified by French cosmetic and hardly put anything on my face but cold water and a dash of makeup. Well that's changed. French girls don't put water on their faces because of the calcite.
It's best to go early as possible. CP opens at 8:00 am everyday but Sunday.

Other customers seems to know what they want and are busy checking off lists like Santa Claus.

The only shopping bag I ever filled to the brim was full of macarons...hmmm

I do love gazing at French packaging.

Aren't these bottles pretty?

At last a product I know thanks to Veronique Marot who said I must get Bioderma Crealine H2O to remove makeup. I still have a few drops from the bottle I bought after my photo shoot with Carla Coulson and Veronique. Time to replace. City-Pharma has bargain bins, so I picked up a Bioderma for 2,98. Clean off your makeup at night with this stuff and you look like a newborn in the morning. It even did  swell job cleaning my macaron bracelet. I'm def going back for the big 2-bottle deal (15€). Their prices are lower than Monoprix FYI.

Everyone swears by Nuxe so I invested in this little trial packet. Their ads in the shops say, 
"Je suis Prodigieuse"

Which always makes me think of religieuse (close spelling).

Here's my mini haul. I was looking for baby powder and grabbed liniment instead(1,98). For some unknown reason toothbrushes cost a fortune in Paris. At City-Pharma only 1,90€. Chewing gum too is pricey. Here just 1,98. You can see I didn't go the full French beauty traitement route. I need to study up. A good place to start is THE CUT's Must-Have list of what to buy at City-Pharma.

These his and her bath mitts are Not on The Cut's list. But I see French girls scrubbing themselves with mitts like crazy post-pool in the showers. They bring tons of lotions. Must take notes next pool visit...

One big problem with shopping at City-Pharma is the lines. This is the downstairs line going round the corner.

They offer 17 caisses (cash registers) one flight up but I didn't see them.

True you can get prescriptions filled here but it's still crowded as heck.

Whilst searching for non-existent baby powder I was directed to the back and down the stairs.

There I discovered a short, fast line and a back entrance. Shhhh

I convinced Cheryl and Debbie to hop over to cafe Les Deux Magots for quick coffee and a short walk from City-Pharma. They'd never been.

Deux Magots is one of my favorite cafes in Paris and they couldn't be nicer. Just a tener for a cafe crème, a divine croissant and jam.
More Deux Magot pictures on Flickr.
The perfect place to unwind after foraging for treasures at City-Pharma non?
More City-Pharma pictures on Flickr.