I've never tried the Giraults Sandy....I do however have some of the Mount Vision that I got from Dakota that sound similar in the hardness/softness you described.
I find that I don't use them as much. Lately, it seems for me I tend to start with the NuPastels and then once everthing is blocked in I come in with the really soft stuff like Terry Ludwig or Schmincke (both of which are fabulous!)
Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one. (Stella Adler 1901 - 1992)