I went to Paris this week. I am always on the lookout for old paper so the first time I came across Au Petit Bonheur La Chance in the Marais I was lost for hours. This shop is heaven, crammed with old pencils, pens, vintage Christmas wrapping paper, and best of all, old unused exercise books. I came out with 4 pairs of vintage floral super-resistant household gloves and some blank notebooks. I used the paper for Peep in the Dawn Chorus. When I visited the shop again this year I stocked up on exercise books (but steered clear of the gloves).
I love the way the children’s books in Shakespeare and Company are laid out in a cosy corner with lots of covers showing. I got a bit overexcited in Magasin Sennelier on Quai Voltaire and opened lots of drawers filled with gorgeous colours.
Unfortunately I was a week too early for the Paris book fair: http://www.salon-livre-presse-jeunesse.net/lieu-dates-et-horaires/ Last year some of us from the Children’s book MA at Cambridge School of Art were invited. The hall was packed with gorgeous books and it was amazing to see how much time and care French illustrators took over book signings. Simone Rea whipped out his paints and pencils and spent ages creating a rabbit. Beatrice Alemagna drew a lovely lion and it was fascinating to watch how Isabelle Arsenault drew Virginia Woolf. It was hard not to join every queue with so many fantastic illustrators in one place. I am sure it will be just as inspiring this year.