Ah, beautiful Paris in spring!

It is March 1973 and Paris looks gorgeous and inviting. Of course first things on the list were: find a place and let my agency know I am in Paris. At first we stayed with our friend Cooky Debidour and we checked the “for rent” lists, ideal would be an “Atelier de Artist” ( Artist Studio) and so we found an agent to look for us and they sent us to our first appointment that looked interesting because it was a little house surrounded by a garden. When we saw it we liked it although it was not very big, 2 floors and not very light but very nice,  so we thought to maybe take it. But then a young woman came looking at it as well and she fell completely in love with it and she begged us to let her have it because she had already seen so many places and this was the one!  We asked her if she had seen an Atelier d’ Artist and she said YES! 11 Rue de Douai, fantastic place, really good for you! We told her to hang on and went to see the address she had mentioned and we on our turn fell in love with that place when we saw it. A beautiful old elevator brought us to the 4th floor and we could not believe the beauty of it all, a big artist studio with an enormous skylight, an incredible wooden sculpted fire place so big you could stand in it, a grand entrance which was actually a room, a lovely kitchen, a very big bathroom and a very nice bedroom with  big French windows, very high ceilings and a white marble fire place, that did not work but looked good. Double doors would open to the studio which besides the skylight also had 2 big windows to the street so the light was impressive. The entrance and the kitchen had both big windows to the courtyard, OK! My heart was booming, what a place, unbelievable! But to our big disappointment the lady said NO, she did not want to rent it to us. That was a blow and we started depressed going down the stairs. She must have felt how sorry we were because halfway between the third and second floor she called us back and asked Salvador if he was a painter and when that was confirmed everything changed, we went back up and heard the story of her father who was a painter and had build this studio ( and the whole building) in around 1890 and the whole building was hers and she herself lived in an other part higher up that in the olden days had been connected to the studio and that’s why there was this beautiful stairs and balcony there.

Alejandro and his friend Apple Sackman on the balcony

Now we were so happy, finally our own place, right in Pigalle near Place Clichy ( Moulin Rouge). A very interesting area where a lot of artists had lived and still lived, easy walk to Rue Lepic with its marvellous market, walking distance to Gare St Lazare and the Opera. In short a great place! Now we only had to make sure we could pay the rent which was quiet a lot at the time.

Here you get an idea, I am sitting in the bottom corner on the left.

We had all our things, including our beautiful heavy Spanish table, beds that we had had made up, paintings, carpets and everything else sent from Madrid and when it all arrived and was put into place we were the happiest people on earth.


We stayed 8 years in Paris and did a lot of work so I have to divide that in several posts and honestly, at times it is difficult to remember exactly which year it was and I easily mix up 73 with 74 or 75 but that does not really matter I guess, It would be possible to do it exact but it would take a lot of time, so I hope you don’t mind.

Salvador started painting, it’s all he wanted to do, when friends came over he would continue working or make drawings of the friends,.

and made this wonderful painting of our bedroom.

Alejandro having a snack in the kitchen, look at that light!

Alejandro went to Ecole Bilinque in a beautiful place at Parc Monceau so he could learn to speak French and correct English. He spoke English already and Spanish but it was a good way for him to learn French. It was a very expensive private school and he was in the class with the son of Sophia Loren who I saw sometimes there picking up her son like other mothers. Alejandro looked so cute with his dark blue uniform and his big schoolbag. After a year or 2 when he spoke French fluently we thought it was ridiculous to pay so much money every month as he was already a full-blood Bilinque and the school was nothing special, just very chic and in a wonderful place, loved the Parc Monceau. Later he went to a Rudolf Steiner school and those, yes, are very special.

I myself was still with “Models International” and my first booking was with Helmut Newton for French Vogue….

24 thoughts on “PARIS, PARIS JE T’AIME

  1. Wow, so wonderful to see the home I started my life so many years later…lovely post! Thank you!

  2. Willy, thoroughly enjoyed this. Didn’t want it to end. Hope you pick up where you left off and tell more and loved the new pics I hadn’t seen! (and Sal’s drawings). What a fabulous place that was that you lived in!

  3. This is wonderful, Willy, the memories are flooding back of this place. I remember in 1973, I was 23, and I was walking up the road to your place with Cookie, one early-evening, passing all the scantily-dressed “working-girls” lined up along the walls and standing on the street corners that surrounded your apartment building. I remember wondering why they weren’t wearing coats as it was quite cold at night. Then it dawned on me who they were and what they were. The Girls stared at Cookie and me as we walked by and crossed the road towards The Moulin Rouge which was all lighted up and sparkling in the cold night air and the atmosphere was very vibrant and exciting; I was very impressed.

    • Well, I can see you know to write very poetic, thank you and yes it was impressive all that goings on. Love you Lara, stay good

  4. LOVED this little blog, and I too didn’t want it to end…we were in Paris at the same time and with the same agency…Do you remember going on go-see’s to areas of Paris where it was still not yet built up from after the war? That always got to me, that they hadn’t really gotten to it yet. Although this was a little earlier, in 1968 actually…I’m really enjoying your writing! This made me miss Paris, A LOT!
    Thanks, Willy.

    • Dear Patty, I am so thrilled you read my blog and yes that was a few years earlier but I was there then too many times and I know what you are saying about some areas still being like after the war but probably I noticed these things less as I came from Holland and there they were still rebuilding too. Please stay in touch, much more to come.., love

  5. It is wonderful to see photos of the studio I have a print of hanging in my living room. It is the most amazing painting. Keep these posts coming.

  6. Willy , these experiences of a Paris in a sort of rebirth , (that being the late ’60’s and early ’70’s) are so fascinating .. I was so fortunate to also find my self there . Pigalle by night was extraordinary with the drag clubs such as Madame Arthur and Chez Michou.

    • Ha ha Corey, so good to hear from you and of course your comments are very appriciated, after all you are a Connaisseur! Yes, yes, Chez Michou and Mdm Arthur, wonder if they are still there, what a golden times Paris was in, unforgettable, much love to you and hopefully you will follow the next ones….

  7. dear Willy, all this looks so will not believe it but in the summer I still wear a flower dress bought at your shop..think about you every time all my love grat lady

    • Dearest Irene, thank you for your comment, so glad you read my Blog as you were a very special person for me in Paris… love you

  8. as usual it’s a dream to read & to see the pictures & salvador’s paintings as well, can’t wait for the next episode! luv, louise

    • Louise, what can I say, so happy you read my Blog and I love your comments as they make me feel good, thank you, much love

  9. Dear Willy, sooo wonderful to read this, I love your blog! Can’t wait for the next post!
    Sending you love from Ibiza…. xoxo

  10. Que la casa va a estar disponible próximamente quiere decir que Salvador y tú os marcháis, de nuevo, a París y a esa bonita casa? Muchos besos, preciosa Willy.

    • si Olvido, esta es la nueva casa, Studio de Artista, en Paris. Las fotoos son de different epoca’s come vivimos en esto studio mas de ocho anos. Viendra un momento que hablara de los tiempos en Elda y los zapatos que tu conoses tan bien, un beso

  11. This is around the time that we first actually met. I had seen you both with Alejandro when you were in Ibiza .. you were on the Port and were very a very striking young family, full of colours .. I saw you from quite close, but didn’t know you then ! I love reading your Blog, your fotos are excellent .. how well I remember visiting you at there. x

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