Tuesday, March 18, 2014


La Place Blanche
   I first met Arbi about twenty years ago at the Montmartre café Chez Camille on the rue Ravignon two doors up from the apartment that I had recently sublet.  Arbi was wild about my Paris paintings and flattered me to no end. I asked him what he did for a living. He told me that he sold peanuts, more precisely, praline or sugar coated nuts in The Flea Market in Saint Ouen. Not a potential client I thought.

Out of courtesy, I visited his stand, and sure enough, he had a great following.  He was constantly stirring the boiling sugar onto the fresh peanuts with one hand while collecting money for the packed sweeties with the other. Still, he was able to chat with me at the same and was smitten by my visit. 

The next time that I saw Arbi, was a couple of years later. He had a little tent-like stand on the Place 
Blanche in front of the Moulin Rouge with assorted colored bon-bons, a coton candy maker, soft drinks and the freshly made praline which  perfumed the boulevard. I made the above painting at that time. 

Now, he has once again upgraded.  He has a genuine kiosque. He makes crêpes and toujours the sugar-coated peanuts. They sell like hotcakes. He is the ultimate candyman.


Ruby chez la princess from paintingparis.blogspot.com