Diamond White, Autumn Leaves, Naples Yellow. These are just some of the color creations lining the walls of the historic Maison du Pastel boutique in the 3rd arrondissement. The shop sells a range of pastels that date back to the 18th century. Artists, enthusiasts, and curious travellers can visit the shop for one of Paris’ last remaining feasts of color. Well, of this kind at least.
La Maison du Pastel (The House of Pastels) is run by Isabelle Roché and her American partner, Margaret Zayer. Roché, who like many in her family began her career as an engineer, decided to make a career change, and joined the family pastel business in the early 2000s with a mission to keep the pastel-making tradition alive.
With the help of Zayer, she uses the family’s pastel recipes to develop new colors for today’s artists. Zayer and Roché roll the pastels by hand, transforming powdered pigments into new shades that can’t be found anywhere else. Zayer is in charge of inventing new colors to expand the shop’s range with subtle, often unexpected new tints.
Though the shop’s most popular colors are rich reds and blues – favorites of the shop’s more famous clients, Sam Szafran and Edgar Dégas – the pair recently took to creating more contemporary options for a new wave of pastel artists and color enthusiasts. Zayer has developed colors that draw the eye, including shades of millennial pink, sparkling autumnal hues, and even a pure black that rivals Anish Kapoor’s controversial Vantablack in pastel form.
Maison du Pastel – 20 Rue Rambuteau, 75003 Paris. Open Thursdays 14h -18h or by appointment. +33 01 40 29 00 67.
- For a more modern experience of art in Paris, head to Atelier des Lumières.
- Looking for something alternative? Check out Paris art squats.
- Paris College of Art tells you where else you can buy affordable art supplies.