Cezanne, Degas, Picasso and Trudy

So what do we all have in common?  We buy our art supplies at Senneliers, the oldest art supply store in Paris!  It was founded in 1887: Cezanne bought his oils here, Picasso liked their grey pastels, and Degas was one of the first clients for their 700 colour range of pastels. I resisted buying any more pastels (I do have a rather extensive collection…) but I wanted to buy a sketchbook for life drawing sessions here in Paris.   I ended up buying three instead of just one.  What was I to do?  They were all nice and I couldn’t make up my mind.


The display and storage counters are original and have a lovely patina of age.  The store isn’t all that large, but it is steeped in history and packed with beautiful art supplies. This wall of dry pigment is stunning and so are these luscious giant soft pastels, but check out the price, almost $20 each!


imageBesides spending money on art supplies, I saved lots of money at the Louvre. With my permanent teacher’s certificate I was able to purchase a yearly pass for only 35€.  The entrance fee is 15€ and I intend to visit often, so this is really quite a bargain.  I wasn’t sure that the agent was going to accept my Certificate, but after a little discussion, in French, he decided it was OK.  One of the best things about this pass is that I don’t have to wait in line to get into the Louvre.  There is a special entrance for pass holders.  This morning when I arrived the line up to get inside was wrapped around the pyramid all the way to the reflecting pond in the front of this picture and was three or four people wide.   Once inside it is necessary to line up again to buy a ticket.  I was able to go in another entrance to buy the pass, so I didn’t even need to line up today either.  Yay!


I wandered around inside the Louvre for an hour or so and started to feel very tired and had a little cough and sore throat starting so I decided to head home early and get a bit of rest. Walking to the metro I found several streets that seem to be all Art Galleries, one after the other.  I will have to return another day.

I crossed the Seine on the Pont Neuf,  the bridge with the love locks (lovers attach a lock with their names on it onto the bridge and throw the key in the Seine).  This is being discouraged as it pollutes the Seiene and puts a strain on the bridge structure due to the weight of all the locks.  They are removed periodically, and today there were not as many as I have seen in some pictures.  Then I saw one of the things I don’t like much about Paris, a man relieving himself in plain sight on the bridge!  Not all the puddles here are from dogs…

imagePerhaps a few pictures of my apartment will give you a idea of the size of the average Paris apartments.  Mine is 12′ x10′ with a 6′ x 3.5′ kitchen nook.  It also has a little bathroom with a 2′ x3 ‘ shower that is actually quite generous by Parisian standards, for a total of about 170’ square feet. I saw an advertisement today for a similar looking apartment that was 23 square meters, or about 240 square feet for sale for 240,000€ or about $336,000 Canadian!  Remember this is also not in the heart of Paris, but in the 10th arrondissment.






I’m In Paris!

I am in Paris and it feels as though I am exactly where I should be.  Interestingly, I never felt really excited before I left home.  I thought it was because I was so busy getting ready for the trip and still dealing with all the things that needed taking care of before I left, but even on the plane I just felt very relaxed, almost as though I were going home instead of just starting a trip.

The flights were good, almost no turbulence and three movies helped the time pass.  Iceland is part do the Schengen Co-operation and Canada is not, so we needed to go through security before being allowed to enter into the airport area with other passengers.  Going through security made the one hour connection between flights a bit tight.  There was just enough time to find a washroom and it was the  final call for boarding.

At the Charles de Gaulle Airport my suitcase was the first one to arrive on the baggage conveyor belt.  I thought that must be a good omen.  I headed for the taxi stands and was able to walk straight out and get a taxi.  My driver, Jean Paul, didn’t speak English but we had a nice conversation all the same.  I am doing quite well speaking French, even surprising myself with what I remember.

Getting into my apartment was not so easy.  I hauled my suitcases up three flight of very narrow winding stairs.  The entrance to the building, the stairs and the hallways were very old and very dirty.  This was rather discouraging.  I rather nervously waited a half hour and then a neighbour kindly let me use his phone to call my host.  Turns out he was just outside the apartment so he arrived a couple of minutes later.  The apartment looked exactly like it did in the posting on Airbnb .  Matthiew spent a few minutes  giving me an orientation and then I am on my own.

The street outside my windows is quite busy, so it is noisier than I had anticipated, but after all, I am in the heart of a city, so I guess that is to be expected.  The windows are double glazed so when they are closed it does cut out much of the traffic noise.

I went for a little walk about 7:00 pm and felt quite comfortable.  There is a grocery store right across the street and a lovely little fruit and vegetable shop right next door.  I even found a health food store just a couple blocks away but it was already closed for the day.  I will check it out on Monday.  I bought a roasted chicken for my supper and a few other groceries, and finally went to bed about 9:00, only a 29 hour day!

My first meal in Paris.

My first meal in Paris.