Sunday, September 07, 2014

Candy Land - September Sketch letter

Pauvre Bear. I tried hard to include Bear in the new September Sketch Letter but he didn't make it.

A lot of intense back-to-school research went on the past two weeks in the ParisBreakfast studio.

And a lot of candy was eaten. Some of it before I got to paint it, so replacements had to be bought ahem.

If you're traveling around France you MUST try out local specialties where ever you are. Even if you hate boiled sweets (les sucres cuits) it's a great way to get the flavors and culture of each region. So many of these classic French candies (at least 70 varieties) are bound up with memories of every French childhood. It's not enough to tie your scarf right.

Paris has many small candy shops specializing in these regional candies if you can't travel into France profond. Les Bonbons at 6, rue Brea 75014 is just closet-sized but packed with treasures.

I'm enthralled by these adorable tins in their window. Someday I'm going to Vichy just for the checkered tins. I almost ran off to Montelimar Tuesday to immerse myself in guimauve and nougats but common sense stopped me. I'll go soon. Marshmallow immersion is a must-do no?

La Mere de Famille at 35, rue du Faubourg Montmartre 75009 is another traditional  candy haven. Their fait maison chocolates are pretty divine too.

I love this wagon full of les roududous in their window.

Along with researching candy shops all over Paris (many tragically still closed for vacance like Servant and Olga Chocolatier) I dove into vintage French children's ABC books.

The graphics in old French schoolbooks are entrancing.

Ask any French person what is their "madeleine de Proust" and they will dream back to favorite sweets of their childhood. This attachment is never lost and kept alive by Paris' candy shops.

Enfin, back to my favorite Parisian candy shop, Le Bonbon au Palais at 19, rue Monge 75005.

Et voila! Right under the big jars of regional candy, the answer to my September Sketch letter prayers.

The original cahier (school notebook) of a close friend of owner Georges Marques' from when he was 8-10 years old and the perfect design format for my September letter. Georges lent me this precious notebook without my asking though I was dreaming, and click-click, taking pictures like mad. Before running off to the printer I showed Georges the finished art and he ever so slightly straightened the Bergamot bonbon on the left side. It made all the difference. Sometimes you need friends in high places ;)) yes I did misspell Bergamot and Georges caught it but...

Voila. If you want to see the whole finished September letter please visit Etsy. By the way I've moved to a bigger envelope so there will be less folds in the letter in case you plan to hang it on the frige. And there is an ALL NEW SHIPPING DEPARTMENT at ParisBreakfast Studio, so we can be faster, more orderly and spell your names correctly (hopefully, fingers crossed). Bon Dimanche!


  1. Sugar shock!! Darling drawings of Bear---so sorry he didn't make the letter. And French handwriting? I love it, even though interpreting it can be a challenge.

    1. You can't eat too many at one sitting of these...

  2. how wonderful that he loaned you the (60-year-old??) notebook of his school friend!!! What a serendipitous bit of inspiration.

    1. Bery lucky indeed after wracking my brains trying to solve the composition. I just blew up a page at the copy shop and finally knucled down to it. It went so fast after a lot of daudling...

  3. Such a cute post..smitten with the books..I bought some cahiers ..and printed up examples..would love to teach the boys to write the way I was taught..
    Seems like such a lost art in schools now.
    Bear was pretty cute in your art..he didn't make it..
    Is he sulking?:)

    1. They do still teach handwriting here. Al the pots of ink and pens and blotters and notebooks. No wonder the entire family turns out to decide what color notebook to buy. I'm sure the discipline effects many other elements in French life...the orderlyness for example.

    2. You are right.. to me it is a lovely discipline..the art of writing well.

  4. Oh my ... Those Bon bons! Love the vintage calligraphy books..not to mention the pretty assemblage. Over the years it's sad to notice how the US has lost so many candy shops. One more thing that makes Paris so wonderful - Paris lives and breathes embracing its past!

    1. So true Geri...Paris/France embraces its past with open arms.

  5. Yay on the bigger envelope -- I hang them all -- sometimes several at a time because I can't bear to take them down! Poor, sweet Bear. His time will come! And I loved all your research sites and those fabulous books! Can't wait!

  6. I would love a box of candies with a taste of every region. Doesn't that sound delicious?

    Sadly they are no longer teaching children cursive in SoCal. I just think that is the saddest story I ever heard. When I asked why they said they did not have time in the curriculum.


    1. Le Bonbon au Palais does have little bags with maybe one each of many regional candies.

  7. I would so love to try lots of French bon bon! I have a funny little story to tell about the Pierrot Gormand lollypops. Here is my photo and post on my Flickr page from August, 2012 . I called it a
    "Sweet Coincidence"

    I hope this works. I have only tried posting one of my photos on someone elses blog before.
    I hope you don't mind! My idea came from another French blog, "My French Kitchen."

  8. I forgot to mention that Ronelle van Wyk is also a watercolor artist. Her blogs are, "My French Kitchen," "African Tapestry," and "Coin Perdu." Perhaps you already read her blogs. She lives in an
    old French barn that they have been remodeling for several years.

  9. Wonderful candy stop in Paris, Carol. I'd certainly 'begalot' for them too! What a honey George is and what a cahier he had. Imagine keeping that from school. Never thought of going to Vichy for the candy containers - you know me, I much prefer the er, water ;-)

  10. Love that old schoolbook! You bear sole responsibility for the 4 jars of French candies in my pantry. After reading about them, I could not resist when I found them on Amazon. And they come with a bonus: I am not tempted to eat them en or two at a time is just fine with hard candies! And I got a decent oil painting out of them! Merci!

  11. Cynthia Rieth1:30 PM

    great news about the envelope - I want to frame mine!

  12. Anabella2:32 PM

    'Marshmallow immersion' could be a sticky affair but it's worth trying once for sure. Straight fromRoald Dale's tales of Charley and the chocolate factory no?

  13. Love the precious original cahier, the wagon, the abécédaires....and Bear: I LOVE the drawings of sweet friend, Bear & hope to see more, OK? Since I can't eat bonbons, I glance quickly at your photos of them. The colors sure are pretty. But alphabet letters in French écriture, THEY are, to my eyes, DELICIOUS!! Your bonbon letter is adorable.

  14. Memories of Montellimar - nougat capital of the world circa 1978....
    loved this wonderful sweetie/childhood wander down memory lane.
    Such wonderful pictures of 'temps perdu'.
    Much love e and Buster

  15. Photos to die for and beautifully composed post.
    I love the vintage poster art; nice one, Carol!

  16. Wow ! you really have done your research , love every bit of info. My son in law has passed on his childhood memories of bon-bons to our grandchildren after living in Paris during his early years. It's lovely to see the tradition carried on.

  17. Carol, where oh where to begin in commenting on this sweets post.

    First, be patient Bear. You are not only photogenic, but also have great graphic potential. Ask Carol if somewhere in Paris might be a place that will createa stamp made of rubber with your portrait, that might be applied to a stamp whatever color you might prefer, dear Bear. I see your image possibly appearing on every single Paris in your mailbox envelope.

    I am in awe of that French map of regional sweets. Now there is a tour to take. It might be advisible to check with your dentist in advance, but come on, wouldn't this be an amazing trek?

    The early introduction to beautiful French cursive handwriting is something that I would hope will never be taken over by any computer. Carol, as you might remember, your posts have encouraged me to renew my attempts to have a fine handwriting.

    Today was primary election day in NYC and so over to the neighborhood school I went, to sign the page where my almost 30-years-ago recorded signature loomed above the blank line for today's pen.
    I cannot tell you how much I liked seeing that today's penmanship didn't look so shabby.

    Carol, I am sure that there was more I meant to write, but will leave this comment box with what's already typed. xo

  18. Anonymous11:21 AM

    Just wanted to say that yellow "Chanel" jacket is in fact from Zara ss 2014 collection... my wife has one ...just thought you would like to know that lady tried to fool you...

    I love your blog...


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