View Full Version : Visiting the Maison du Pastel

09-18-2013, 11:34 PM
Hey, we went to Paris last week and stopped in the Maison du Pastel (Henri Roche). What a fabulous experience to say the least! 700+ colours, many of which are only available in the shop. Isabelle was there and was ultra friendly. We spoke for about a 1/2 hour. She let us test sticks, take tons of photos and answered every question under the sun. After all that she told us we shouldn't feel obligated to purchase anything- and I think she meant it! It was a great experience. In the end we got a beautiful green gold and she even let us make up a 3 piece 1/2 stick set out of some loose stock she had which happened to be incredible, pure colours. The sticks are a pretty good size, bigger than I thought. We will post photos when we can. These kinds of small businesses are the kind of places I like to support, and what better example than the Maison du Pastel!

PS: I know everyone is curious... it was something like 37 Euros total. Money well spent IMO.

PPS: I have heard them compared to many brands... I feel they are most like Girault in the sense that they lay a uniform, controlled, not dusty powder down, yet the lay down is more like Schminke in terms of what stroke you are left with, if that makes sense.

09-19-2013, 07:39 AM
Good for you! It is wonderful that Isabelle has taken up the family tradition.

The strokes are very characteristic, and it is obvious that Degas created his "magic" with Roché pastels. I love the clarity of the pigments, the purity of colour. Even the tints are not floury or chalky.

I too consider them more like Girault than anything else, but they are distinctly different from them. Yes, hard to describe in words, it has to be experienced.

They helped me pick a set of 36 sticks, via email. Luxury, yes, and I gave it to me because I'm worth it. ;-) I've broken the sticks, and I've experimented with them, as I quickly realised that they're so different it takes some time to learn to handle them. (I used other brands for underpainting, though.)

09-19-2013, 11:55 AM
I would only add that they seem to have a bit of "bite" to them, so they are great for a top layer - well they a great anywhere actually - but they seem to have a bit of pumice or something that allows them to grip and lay down fabulous color wherever you want it. Wish I owned the entire set!!


09-21-2013, 12:23 PM
I have my little box of pieces and love them! Their feel is unique and they are so dense. Sort of category with Girault and also with the pumice mix Diane Townsend ones but such intense pure color!

When I get spending money, some half stick sets are on my "next to buy" list, carefully chosen. If I ever got up into "rich famous author" level of income, way up into middle class and save up for it, I might someday get the full range set in the lovely rosewood cabinet. I dream of that too. Oddly that is the biggest big-ticket item I'd get if I ever won the Literary Lottery or the state one. Compared to "fancy car" and such, it wouldn't bust me and I would probably be able to make it pay for itself someday.

And promptly raise price on any piece done with them by the "explain to buyer and let them see it" best materials hook. This really did impress people when I'd put the real gold in on watercolor things and so on.