I’m getting ready to spend an afternoon in Paris on the way to and from the South of France in a couple of weeks. In preparation, I’m looking back over my list of addresses from the now deceased blog I had with my friend Meredith Talusan a couple of years back…
I might revisit some, but there are also a couple of new ones to stop in on, such as L’Oisive The and Le Comptoir, which I have since found out about. Do let me know if there are other favourites – or just other things to do. If it is gorgeous weather, we might just want ice cream rather than yarn. Sadly we won’t be able to visit Denis Ocabo at her wonderful chocolate shop L’Etoile d’Or as it got blown up in a gas explosion!
Monday, June 20, 2011
As you head off on your work/summer adventure, I should wrap up my Paris adventure report. I feel like I didn’t do too much yarn related tourism in our brief stay in Paris, but perhaps I was wrong. I checked out some promising addresses I’d sleuthed out beforehand and others I just happened upon. They fitted around much walking and eating, a boat tour of the Canal Saint Martin, a pilgrimage to Berthillion for a cone, a long queued for viewing of the Manet exhibition at the Musee D’Orsay, a morning wandering the Marais art galleries and of course an Eiffel Tower viewing. All of that around the most relaxed few days outside of Paris visiting with my cousins and their kids; eating, drinking, talking, playing and visiting the gardens at Versailles and France Miniature.On our first day in Paris itself, straight from the Eurostar (at 8am: we were on the earliest and cheapest train), after consuming our first croissant of the trip and with a baguette under our arm (from the bakery that won this years prize for best baguette no less), walking down through Montmartre (having taken the funicular up to the Sacre Coeur), we happened upon matière active, a general craftiness store with workshop space for classes and hire for parties.
Rather than their minimal selection of yarn, it was these decals for sewing machines that caught my eye.
59, rue Mont Cenis
Tél: 01 53 28 14 05
La Droguerie is on every Paris yarn store list and rightly so. It was on mine, because I happened upon her sister store when I was in Tokyo 7 years ago and had to see what this one was like.
You enter through a rainbow corridor of hanks of yarn. As tempting to run your hands along as a stick along a fence. It would have been impossible to chose a colour if I was in the market for some.
Here, it was the linen I was most interested in, as it’s a fibre I’d like to be using more of. It has a pretty good environmental profile, especially if you can get some grown localish and certainly in comparison to cotton.
9-11, rue du Jour
Tél: 01 45 08 93 27
Apparently, the yarn department at Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche is related to La Droguerie. There is a wide range of textile related stuff and it’s the most respectable yarn department I’ve seen in a department store for a long time. And the building is beautiful.
Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche
24, rue Sèvres
01 42 22 81 60
It was travelknitter’s list of international yarn stores that tipped me off to Entrée des Fournisseures, with it’s beautiful entrance down a courtyard. A bit of an all rounder, it stocks buttons, ribbons and a lot of Liberty fabric (though lovely, I don’t need to go to Paris for that). The yarn selection was limited and behind a counter, not encouraging touch and feel. All in all, a little spare and chic for me, but it did introduce me to Claire Garland‘s book on knitted animals. The cover of the French edition looks much cuter than the (older) English one.
Entrée des Fournisseurs
8, rue des Francs Beourgeois
Tél: 01 48 87 58 98
As is often the case, I think my favourite places were those I stumbled across, with no expectations (and sometimes even no website). Seeking shelter from the rain, we popped in to Book Off, the Japanese bookshop. I’ve been meaning to write to you about all the knitting books I’ve been ordering. A couple of the new ones (they’ve mainly been older, secondhand ones) have been from Japan. The Japanese bookshop in London isn’t nearly as extensive as this one, so it was super to come across – it even had one of the titles I’d ordered in it’s extensive craft section. The most exciting part for me was the sale section, which turned up some very entertaining titles from the 80s!
29, rue Saint Augustin
Tél: 01 42 60 04 77
Just around the corner from where we were staying in the Marais, we found one of those amazing Paris shops that sells just one thing – sticky tape. Not yarn, or even haberdashery, but inspirational none the less. One to recommend to our friend Joshua Pieper, should he ever be over that way. Did you ever get to see the drawings of tape he made with, well, tape?
Adhésifs Rubans de Normandie
93, boulevard Beaumarchais
Tél: 01 42 71 31 61
Along similar lines, around the corner was a shop that sells lampshades and everything needed to make them. How great is that!? When I made one for Helena Keeffe a couple of years ago, along with a knitted sheep, as part of a little piece exchange, it took me ages to track down a vintage lampshade to use the frame of. It used to be standard to buy the frame to cover/decorate yourself (as indicated by a heap of vintage craft books), but they are nigh impossible to find in London now. I made her one with a knitted cover from white tarn, as our mutual commission was to find its home in our bedrooms. She painted a beautiful set of pillows with California wildlife with an accompanying alarm (with all the little animal noises), which has revolutionised my mornings and facilitated a happy marriage.
Also note the very traditional Parisian “FERME EN AOUT”: closed in August. How civilised.
G. Poublan & Cie
70, rue Amelot
Tél: 01 43 38 43 43
The real treasure trove I serendipitously uncovered was ULTRAMOD. Just my sort of place: ancient, lots of drawers, and with stock from across decades. No yarn to speak of, but trimmings galore. Their storage boxes and slightly haphazard nature reminded me of those at K Trimmings when they were on Broadway, in your neck of the woods.
As well as some beautiful wooden nautical anchor buttons that I would have bought, if they had enough for a cardi, this giant rik rak was what most caught my eye. My inspection says it’s hand made, but I couldn’t quite work out how. Another project in the offing!
3, rue de Choiseul
Tél: 01 42 96 98 30
The last and final address to be added to my list of places to return to was the chanced upon I.D.M, by Les Halles, down the road from fabulous kitchen gear window shopping in the catering trade shops and J. Detoux (where we picked up dijon mustard and other yummables to take home). Having been very restrained in the purchase of none consumables this trip (instead saving our pennies for copious tasting), this was the only place I actually bought something: a medium sized spool of fluorescent pinky orange elastic, which I am hatching plans to use in combination with colour work on the knitting machine. It makes great textures.
8, rue Francaise
Tél. 01 42 33 95 67
And that was it!After that we returned to say our goodbyes to Denise in the best sweet shop ever, it’s greatness rivalled only by the proprietess and her amazing descriptions of each chocolate and what it will do in your mouth. Then there was just time for a crazy poo debacle in a bar we stopped in at for a pastis, buying bread and the most incredible souvenir gift cork screw from the fromagerie owner to open our bottle of wine on the Eurostar home.Let’s go to Paris together one day!