The Best Paint in Paris

The Best Paint in Paris

After visiting Shakespeare and Company, it was time to venture to the art store.

But not just any art store.

This art store is the home of the paint that Picasso helped formulate.

The story goes that Picasso was on the hunt for a medium that could work on any surface but not require a special coating (according to

Picasso was a frequent visitor of a local art store in Paris that was known for working with artists.

The original owner was Gustave Sennelier, who was obsessed with chemistry. When he first opened his art store he only carried pre-made paints. But he soon learned the art of mixing and grinding pigments and developed his own line of paint.

Artists knew that if they needed a color that they were struggling to find that Sennelier most likely could make it.

For instance, one day Edgar Degas wanted different browns to be able to work with which inspired Sennelier to make over 700 shades of pastels. Degas ended up using 30 shades that became known as his browns.

Something similar happened with Picasso but with Sennelier’s grandson.

You see, he decided start making paint like his dad. So when Picasso came in with his inquiry he started experimenting and developed what we know today as oil pastels. Picasso was impressed and purchased 40 of the 48 colors that Henri Sennelier made.

It’s pretty cool that the original art store is still in operation today at the same location on the Seine and is still run by the Sennelier’s family.

Learning the history of this store made it even more special to visit.

Knowing that I was walking the aisles that artists that I have looked up to for years used to peruse felt pretty magical.

It was so packed with all of the different mediums and pigments.


When it came time to try and pick which paints to get it presented a challenge.


How do you limit yourself when you are at THE ART STORE that invented paint for PICASSO?!?!

Somehow I made my choices. I went home with my typical choices of teal, red, a mossy green and white. I was so very pleased with the consistency of the paint and how vibrant it is.

The checkout process was full of hilarity. The team member helping us didn’t speak English very well so it was funny to see his coworkers give him a hard time whenever he had trouble communicating with us.

Overall it was a truly magical experience and I’m excited to have a new brand of paint to start experimenting with. 

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