Monday, March 17, 2014

March Sketches - Alexandra Sojfer - Fragonard

I thought March would be typically rainy in Paris and planned on doing umbrella sketches for you.
Instead it's been so sunny parasols seemed a better idea,
Voila ! Here's why I've been so quiet this past week at PB HQ....
I discovered an extraordinary umbrella shop at 218 bd Saint Germain.
You will time travel when you walk through the door...
Of Alexandra Sojfer.The shop first was opened by Madame Madeleine Gély in 1834
Fifteen years ago Alexandra took it over and made it into a glorious emporium of special umbrellas, parasols, canes and unique jewelry designed by herself.
Every piece is made-to-order and made in France. Prices start at 119 euros.
The shop will repair any of it's umbrellas at any time in the future.
Most of their customers live outside France. A dreamy shop with exquisite items.
I asked Alexandra if these parasols were specifically for weddings?
"Oh no", she told me "these work perfectly with jeans and a T-shirt". Ok!
The French have adored umbrellas from way back though we have to thank the Chinese for inventing them.
Manet, Monet, all the Impressionists were very fond of adding an umbrella or two into a scene.
The new Watteau to Fragonard exhibit at the Jacquemart-André musée just opened.
Quite a few parasols hither and thither add for a touch of color and shadow.
The word umbrella or ombre means shadow or shade.
The museum is open late on Mondays and Saturdays till 8:30 pm. By then the crowds have despursed and you'll have it more or less to yourself - a delight.
The gift shop at Jacque-mart is usually themed to its current exhibit.
I couldn't resist these fancy-pants printed tissues(1,50€ each) a la Fragonard.
Down the street florist Savanhi has umbrella-shaped arrangements..
But I couldn't find any umbrella-shaped pastries. Le Bonbon au Palais does have nifty little umbrellas with a cone of chocolate inside. Georges gave me a few to shoot but I ate them instead.
*By the way I have new fancy-pants Paris map envelopes for all gift subscriptions on Etsy. The March sketches will start going out tomorrow so you can go on MAILBOX ALERTE dear PBers!


  1. I love that umbrella shop on St. Germain. Reminds one of the Umbrellas of Cherbourg, non? There's one on St. Michel, too, but not quite the charm. There are always umbrellas I want, but they are soooo expensive!

    1. I have a natural gift for losing umbrellas in the Metro ;(
      Many should thank me but none so far...

    2. Precisely why I don't "invest" in umbrellas---tempting though they may be!

  2. My must-see list just expanded. I might even spring for a rabbit handled umbrella!
    Hope you aren't suffering with that smog!

  3. I took all kinds of photos of the wonderful "sign" on St Germain, but never dared to go thanks for taking me...I loved umbrellas when I was a wee girl, so protective, so pretty & fun to dance with. Thanks for showing the art exhibit. Do you know the rhyme: Pluie pluie et parapluie...? The American kids at the library love that one...

  4. Enchanting all around! Who knows, Mary Poppins may well be living in Paris nowadays, carrying a parasol!

    Happy St. Patrick's Day,

  5. thank you Carol! I received your packet today :)

  6. That shop could lead to serious umbrella collecting.. I stick to collecting them on my Pinterest board,but do have a few real ones..Your envelopes and art are so nice..~More than so nice.
    I remember having umbrella chocolates as a child:) I loved the look and wanted to try..but my cones are not non stick..
    Ahh Las Parapluies De Cherbourg,now I want to see it again..

  7. Anonymous10:40 PM

    Did you get to see the movie "The Wind Rises"?
    We saw it this weekend here in Chicago and it was
    amazing...the scenes were divine. The sunsets and views of the airplanes flying over the fields were magnificent. It was an artistic masterpiece and a lovely story.

    1. I can't wait to see it
      It's at the top of my to-do list
      I'm a Myazacki fan big time!

  8. a very super envelope arrived for looked like it was from the fifties....classic par avion envelope etc but it was from you.....i know i am going to get much joy; once the whole set has arrived

  9. Was researching on places to go for my short Paris summer trip, and came across your blog. Just had to let you know that your blog makes me smile (:
    So much pretty and quirky and happiness in it!

  10. Umbrella Genius!
    Love the umbrella art and blog. You're full of great ideas. I love how you pull an idea together with photos, paintings and words. A collage master.

  11. Love your choice of pics, along with lots of brolly info. Your followers seem happy to be receiving fancy 'par avion' envelopes so bright and cheerful to see in the mail box instead of the usual brown or window envelope, knowing it's a bill !!

  12. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!! Something about the shape of umbrellas is so lovely.

  13. I too have only photographed the outside of that lovely shop, never having had the courage to enter.

    You've added another exhibit to my list for the days I'll be in Paris in April and May. Thanks, I think!

    Love the envelopes! Will have a pile waiting for me when I get back to Woodland in mid-May. Just like Christmas!


    1. Hahaha
      That's a Great line, "just like Christmas"
      Can I use it?

  14. Susab B10:15 AM


  15. Kathyrn10:27 AM

    Delightful! The carved handles are brilliant. I am a sucker for the floral tea set. Love your kitty umbrella stand. He/she looks so dutiful. I want the yellow and blue parasol in the upper corner. Love the diagram. Didn't realize you had an Etsy site. I'll pass it along. Look at the long legs on that first shot with the spiky heels AND under a sky of colored balloons. Oh, you do catch the essence of Paris. Hugs, K

  16. Hi Carol, Lovely morning read, as always! And by the way, I was thrilled to get my beautiful February PB print, thanks you!! I will wait with bated breath for March's fancy shmancy Paris map envelope :) xo

  17. Awesome post! Love those teacups -- makes me
    want to get on a train and check out the store and
    exhibit. Thanks for sharing

  18. This was so fun..the shops are so unique and it would take me hours to go through them...

  19. Bonsoir chère amie,

    Je suis impardonnable ! Je suis rentrée depuis le 27 février de l'Île Maurice et je n'ai pas encore trouvé un moment pour te laisser un message ! je cours après les heures, je ne parviens pas encore à trouver mes marques !
    Je me régale aujourd'hui en admirant ce très joli billet... En guise de parapluie effectivement avec la douceur et l'ensoleillement inhabituelle en ce mois de mars je pense que je vais opter pour l'ombrelle !
    J'aime peindre également les parapluies. J'en ai peint plusieurs et aussi les parasols de Deauville.
    La toute dernière toile avec un parapluie, je l'ai peinte lors de mon séjour à Maurice. Je l'ai publiée il y a deux semaines.
    J'adore toutes tes aquarelles... Je viens de passer un très agréable moment en ta compagnie.
    Gros bisous à toi.

  20. I was so excited to get my first Paris Missive the other day! Loved the image and the fun stuffies inside! I almost lost the Victor & Hugo piece because Rick is author Vic's fave fan and he was enamored with it. Maybe he'll see it again -- but not till I've enjoyed looking at it all first! Love those umbrellas!

    1. I'll send you another V&H carte de visite.
      Not a problem Jeanie
      No fighting over the Paris souvenirs now ;))

  21. Carolyn11:13 PM

    I love the umbrellas!!! I have walked past this shop and can't believe I didn't look up to see that cool sign!
    And, I received my letter too in the great par avion envelop. My favorite part was the small piece of original watercolor that was included :) Thank you!!!

  22. You may enjoy the Peps umbrella shop in the Passage de l'Ancre if you don't already know it. He has one in the shape of the Eiffel Tower,

  23. I love that umbrella shop. Those hand made umbrellas look fabulous - the handles are great.
    Beautiful low-light shot into the well-lit interior of the shop.
    Glad you are back!

  24. Alexandra Sojfer10:15 AM

    A big thank you for your interest in our house!!
    See you very soon!

  25. umbrella
    joli nom
    soleil ou pluie
    Magnifique votre post
    je les connais bien
    j’ai acheté une ombrelle rouge pour l’été
    il y a quelques années !!


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