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"Travel Blog: Paris"
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Author:  planetpurl
Tags/keywords:  travel Paris France yarn chocolate pastry
Description:
The adventures of a yarn addict in Paris in desperate need of a fix.
Bookmarks:
06/13/2008 - Yarn Search Marathon: Yarn or Bust!
Even though it was Monday and very likely that most of our remaining targets were closed, we decided to gird our loins and suck it up and see how many yarn stores we could hit in one warm, sunny Paris day. We batted 750, so I was feeling pretty good about this post until I realized my photographer hadn't downloaded my pictures before backpacking off to Spain.  But pictures were sent as soon as he put the Sangria down long enough to check his email.
 
Paris Department Store


Paris Department Store

Paris Department Store

Chez Florence

This adorable shop may be the easist to find in all of Paris.  It's located at 11 rue Dauphine.  Rue Dauphine ends at the famous Pont Neuf bridge (yes, I know that's redundant all you French speaking smarty pants-es) on the Left Bank.  So if you're standing on the Pont Neuf, walk to the Left Bank side and keep walking for about two blocks on rue Dauphine and it's right there on the left side of the street.

The shop is small, but it carries a nice selection of Fonty yarns from France.  The shop also carries a charming selection of toys, children's clothes, and French cross-stitch kits.  I suspect that the Florence after whom this shop is named stocked it with all her favorite things.  If I did that, do you think there'd be French pastry and chocolate in addition to yarn and probably every knitting bag ever made?  Hmmmmm.  I bet you'd shop there, wouldn't you?

And so far, we were batting a thousand!
 

  
Paris Department Store


Paris Department Store


Paris Department Store

Amelie Diffusion

This shop is not as easy to find as Chez Florence, but it has quite a nice selection of yarns I never see in the US.   The shop is located at 86 rue de Grevilliers.  I strongly suggest you Mapquest it, as it is a bit tricky to describe how to get there.  Don't be confused if you first see a sign for the shop that looks empty with a note in French on the door.  Go to #86 -- that's what the note says anyway.

This rustic little shop is jam packed to the ceiling with yarn.  Brands include Fonty, Lammy, Markona Niewegien, Scheepjes, Plassard, and Nevida Moda.  There are wools, cottons, novelties, and a nice selection of sock yarn.  The shop is open Monday, but closed Saturday and Sunday.  Open from 9:00-12:00, closed for lunch until 1:00 and then open until 5:30. 

If you're keeping track, we were still batting a thousand.

 

 
Paris Department Store





 

Mercerie Collection 5

The word mercerie can include yarn, but may also indicate a sewing or quilting shop.  This bright and friendly mercerie did not disappoint us in our yarn shop marathon.   In addition to cross stitch and embroidery supplies, buttons, thread, notions, latch hook stuff and a surprising collection of sewing baskets, the store carries what appears to be every style and color of Pinguoin yarn made.  Sock yarn and everything.  And all arranged in easy to find displays, for a change.  I like a treasure hunt as much as the next girl, but when I'm yarn shopping, personally I like everything neat and tidy so I don't miss anything. 

Mercerie Collection 5 is located at 15 Boulevard Batignolles.  The nearest Metro stops are Place Clichy or Rome.  Boulevard Batignolles is a main thoroughfare and is easy to find on the local maps posted at the metro exits.  The shop is open 6 days a week - closed Sunday of course (this is Paris after all).  Closed daily for lunch from 1:00 to 2:00.

And still batting a thousand, by the way.
 

 
 

Paris Department Store




 

Mercerie Le 16eme Fil

Feeling just a bit smug at finding my first 3 stops open in Paris and on a Monday, I had to push my luck and head of to the 16th district to check out Mercerie Le 16eme Fil (translation: The 16th Thread or Yarn).  It carries Bergere de France yarn, and since Bergere de France closed it's company stores in Paris, it was likely to be my only close encounter with Bergere de France yarn on this trip.  Well, the shop is definitely there, but it is closed on Monday.  Poop. 

Best I could do was peer through the windows.  A poster on the window taunted me with the fact they carry Bergere de France yarn.  Yarn that I couldn't touch.  I could only squint through the glass to catch a glimpse.  So close, but yet so far.  I also noted sewing baskets, notions, latch hooking supplies, needlepoint, and buttons. 

The shop is located 15 rue Descamps and the nearest Metro is Rue de la Pompe.  But if you go, go on Tuesday through Saturday between 9:00 and 1:00 or 3:00 and 7:00, or like me, you'll be left to stand face pressed upon the glass, dreaming of the yarn within.

Oh, and now my batting average fell to 750.
Brokeheartened and emotionally crushed, I had no choice but to go around the corner to the Paul bakery and drown my sorrows in an apricot puff pastry and pot of tea.  It helped a little, at least until I could get back to my rented apartment and help myself to the gourmet chocolate and almond pastries with which I stocked my refrigerator just in case of such an emergency.
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06/12/2008 - Red Babies, Chocolate Crepes, and French Angora

You could come to Paris for a month, visit 2 street markets a day and still not see them all.  And there’s all kinds – fruit and vegetable markets, organic (biologique) markets, stamp markets, antiques markets, flea markets, craft markets, vintage clothing markets, flower markets, a stamp market, and on Sundays next to Notre Dame, a bird and small animal market.  Given the breadth of stuff available at the markets, we checked out some of the biggest in search of artisan yarn.


 
Paris Department Store


Marche rue Levis

To check out a nice, neighborhood open air food market with virtually no tourists and where you can stop and see real yarn, head to the permanent market street at rue Levis.  Nearest Metro: Villiers.  Closed Mondays.  Here you get a sense of a real Parisian neighborhood.  The shops along the street for several blocks have sidewalk stalls, and there are fresh fruit and vegetable vendors, take away foods, chocolate and pastries.  At 39 rue de Levis, you’ll find La Mercerie, a good-sized sewing and needlework shop with a fairly large selection of yarn for its size.  In addition to the fabric, trim and notions, the shop carries Bouton d’Or, Anny Blatt, and a huge selection of Pinguoin yarn.  And did I mention the chocolate and pastry nearby?

 

Marche Enfants Rouges

For more of a street carnival atmosphere, nothing beats the Enfants Rouges (Red Babies) market in the 3rd district.  Hey, don’t blame me, I didn’t name it.  Although I saw no red babies, there was precious little else missing (except yarn of course).  The market goes on for blocks and blocks and blocks.  Antiques and collectibles and people cleaning out the junk in their closets.  An amazing selection of mid-century modern furniture side by side  with worn shoes and used toys.  Plenty of food booths to keep your stomach happy.  Oh, but here’s a tip on the food front – in the US andouille is Cajun spiced sausage.  In France, andouillettes are sausages made from left over parts and organs.  A very helpful French gentleman heard us discussing andouille while in line and told us the difference.  And now you know, too.  The market occupies rue de Bretagne and adjacent blocks.  Nearest Metro:  Filles du Calvaire.  Closed Monday.  8:30 to 1:00 and 4:00 – 7:30 Tuesday through Saturday and Sunday 8:30-2:00.  Go on the weekends when the place is really humming.  But it's strictly BYOY (Bring Your Own Yarn).




 


Paris BHV



 

Elusive French Angora Yarn

I left for Paris with the clear intention of stocking up on French angora yarn.  My considerable efforts had as of yet failed to find that elusive creature.  So, I thought maybe we’d check out the bird and small animal market near Notre Dame to see French angora "on the hoof," so to speak.  The fact that my favorite street crepes in Paris are next to Notre Dame played absolutely no role in this decision whatsoever. 

Finally -- real angora, though still firmly attached to its original owner.
  The market is fun though -- kind of a mini petting zoo.

So to ease my disappointment in the utter dearth of artisan yarn in my market search, I walked over to my favorite crepe station just across the street to the left of the front doors to Notre Dame, where I calmed myself with a chocolate, coconut, and banana crepe.  After soothing my nerves, I did stop to get this photo of me knitting in front of Notre Dame, getting a head start on World Wide Knitting in Public Day. 

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06/10/2008 - Art In Paris, The Search For Hand-Dyed Yarn, And The Last Dying Breaths Of What I Now Laughingly Refer To As My “Budget”

On Friday, we took a break from our yarn shop search to search for garment design inspiration in art at the Louvre and Rodin museums.  Work related, no?  (In case anyone from the IRS reads this).   
 
Paris Department Store



Le Musee Rodin

If you’re exhausted by the hustle and bustle of Paris, head to the Rodin Museum for some peace and quiet.  Besides the unbelievable collection of his works inside the mansion converted to a museum, there is a very large park/garden dotted with another 30 or so sculptures, including the Thinker and the Gates of Hell, which is likely the quietest spot in Paris.  There’s a little ice cream and refreshment kiosk in the park and plenty of benches so you can rest your feet, rehydrate and enjoy the art, all at the same time.  Alas, most of Rodin’s works are not wearing any garments at all, much less knitwear, so we were forced to head to the Louvre in search of knitting inspiration. 
 

 
Paris BHV

Paris BHV


The Louvre

The Louvre is the world’s largest museum with over 35,000 works on display.  My guide book says it would take 9 months just to glance at all the works on display.  The place is a labyrinth, so I think they must have meant it would take 9 months to find all the works on display.  O.K., so I’ll give that it’s a fabulous museum.  I’ve visited the Louvre at least once on every trip to Paris, save the trip at Christmas where the line was all the way around the square in front and before I knew about the Museum Pass.  Sure the art collection is simply without equal.  But I think they could have made more of an effort to showcase some art that included knitwear.  Probably half the art is nude or just draped in a sheet.  The rest is just wearing some kind of period costume.  Even the scenes of winter – no sweaters!  So go if you must, just be forewarned – no pictures or statues of knitwear to speak of.  But do check out the Metro station at Louvre-Rivoli – marble walls, museum lighting and art works (reproductions).  The most gorgeous Metro station on Paris.


 

 


Paris BHV

Paris BHV

 

Arts & Crafts Market Bastille

So after such a disappointing day on Friday searching for knitwear in art museums, on Saturday we headed to the arts and crafts market at Place de la Bastille.  The market is on rue Richard Lenoir right outside the metro stop Bastille.  The art and craft market (“creations” market) is there on Saturdays only and there’s one in Montmartre on Sunday.  I thought this might be the best place to find fiber artists and check out some handspun and/or hand-dyed yarns.  Ummm, still no.  However, there’s plenty of artwork, a fair amount of jewelry and other crafts.  I fell in love with two works and having left my apartment with too much cash in my wallet, bought them.   

So if you visit the Bastille market soon, not only will you see art and crafts, you may also see the tattered remnants of what I now laughingly refer to as my shopping budget blowing around in the gutter.

 After another busy couple of days in service to Planet Purl, I had no choice but to fortify myself for the remaining days ahead with some French pastry.  If you were here, I know you'd do the same!
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06/10/2008 - Lost in Translation
"Fil" vs. "Fil"

Armed with my handy Planet Purl French dictionary (you can dowload it from our site for free in the travel guide section), my spreadsheet of shops organized by arrondissement, and my individual folders of printouts by district -- I said I was organized -- I picked out what I thought might be my best bets.  Generally, these had been touted in French blogging sites as great places for buying "fil" -- yarn to us.  You know, the stuff you work up on "aiguilles" -- needles.  My first stop reminded me of the nuances of language, darn it.  No pun intended. 


 
 
Paris Department Store

Paris Department Store

Des Fils and Une Aiguille

I was feeling pretty good about how quickly we found this shop.  Looked like it was going to be a very productive day right off the bat.  Well, really, ummmm -- not so much.  Fil can mean yarn, but it can also mean thread.  And aiguille is used for knitting needles and sewing needles.  And this particular store meant embroidery & quilting thread and needles.  But it had a terrific selection of kits that would make great souvenirs if you embroider or cross-stitch, so I included it our review anyway. 

The shop is at 1 rue de Chabanais in the first district.  It's pretty much centered between four Metro stops: Bourse, Pyramides, Opera, and Quatre Septembre.  As always, I strongly suggest you print a Google map of the address to take with you.  Then check the map of the area in the Metro station to choose the exit closest to your destination and orient yourself as to direction.  No sense wasting good yarn shopping time being lost!
 

 
Paris BHV

Paris BHV

Paris BHV

Cat' Laine

Our second stop definitely produced some yarn!  Lots of it!  In fact, every visible vertical or horizontal surface of the store was covered with boxes of yarn.  My only problem, after a rather dry spell in the hunt for yarn, was where to look first.

The shop carries a lot of brands -- French brand Fonty, Filatura di Crosa, Grignasco, On Line, Katia, Lanas Stop, Tahki, Anny Blatt, among others, and lots of novelty yarns.  Walk around a few times before making your purchase -- there's a lot to take in.  I found my yarn for my planned Planet Purl Paris Bag, but I'm not going to show you until I've knitted it.  It's a surprise!

Cat'Laine is easy to find.  Even if it weren't painted hot pink.  It's at 19 rue St. Marc in the 2nd district.  You can get to it easily from any of these four Metro stations: Bourse, Grands Boulevards, Quatre Septembre, or Richelieu. 

  
 
Paris BHV

Paris BHV

Paris BHV

Huguet & Cie

When I was  in Florence a couple of years ago, I found a yarn manufacturer's work room behind the cathedral, where you could buy wool by the kilo.  This funny little shop in the 3rd district is like that, but on a smaller scale. 

The sign on the window tells you that they sell yarn for both machine and hand knitting.  When you walk in, there is yarn stacked everywhere.  Some of it is brand name yarn from Grignasco, Filatura di Crosa, Fonty, Lanas Stop, Lane Monterosa, Georges Picaud.  You kinda have to dig around as it isn't sorted or displayed an any discernable manner.

Then there are boxes and packages of bulk yarn and bobbin after bobbin of machine yarn everywhere.  The stuff goes to the ceiling.  They will wind off as much yarn as you want from the bobbin so you only buy what you need. 

This was the only yarn store I saw during my 10 days in Paris that had wool roving for spinning.  I only spotted it undyed, but if you spin and hand-dye and are looking to bring something home, this may be your shop.

Open Monday through Friday and closed on the weekends.  The shop is a treasure trove if you're willing to hunt a bit.  Located at 36 rue Reamur, with the nearest metro stop at Arts & Metiers.

Happy hunting!  I think I need a pastry now.

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06/08/2008 - Beads and Buttons and Bows – Oh My!

Maybe Paris’ status as the world’s fashion capitol explains the plethora of ribbon, button and fancy trim shops.  Have you ever seen a shop in the U.S. that just sells buttons?  Here, there are button shops everywhere.  I think there are more button shops than there are Starbucks in Paris.  And every little “mercerie” I’ve been in carries more buttons than my local mega-fabric chain store.  In Le Bon Marche department store (see Paris Day One post), the button counter is like stepping up to a huge jewelry display.  Not to mention all the silk and fabric roses and trims.  I’ve always been drawn to more architectural designs – clean lines in beautiful fabrics.  But the buttons, beads and bows on display in the shops have sucked me in and I fear I must embellish something now. 


When I was in Brussels in January 2007, I spotted a beautiful knitted bag in the window of a shop.  The bag itself was knitted but not felted, and then was semi-extravagantly embellished with silk roses, beads and gorgeous buttons.  I took a picture of it, which I’ll post when I get back to Orlando.  Now I’ll have to design a similar  bag to use all the trims and buttons I’ve been buying here in Paris.  The good thing is that they take up virtually no room in the suitcase!  Watch our site for a free pattern – the Planet Purl Paris Bag, once I drag out my stitch dictionaries, chart the pattern and knit up the bag.   

 
Paris Department Store

Paris Department Store

 

Mokuba

So, if you’re thinking “Hey, I want to go to Paris to buy some cool trims, too!” I found you just the place.  But bring lots of money, because this place is definitely not cheap.  I’m talking about designer ribbon and trim emporium, Mokuba.  With a location in Paris and one in Tokyo, this shop is like stepping into a ritzy high fashion designer showroom, with all the sales help dressed in big-city black and the entire shop in glossy white.  Aisles and aisles and even more aisles of the most gorgeous ribbons you’ve ever seen on racks and racks and even more racks.  This is the haunt of designers and decorators spending their clients’ money, looking for that something special.  There’s a section of handmade silk roses and bows in every color imaginable as well.  This is where all caution went the way of the wind for me.  Let’s just say my trim for my Planet Purl Paris bag will be very special.  Gulp!  Mokuba is at 18 rue Montmarte in the 1st arrondissement, walking distance to Les Halles shopping area and on the edge of the pedestrian shopping area at Montorgueil. 

 

 
Paris BHV

La Droguerie

And if you’re anywhere near Les Halles, of course you must go to La Droguerie, the yarn and trim shop next to the church of St. Eustace and the underground shopping at Les Halles.  Their private label yarn hangs in hanks along two walls of the first room of the store.  There’s every color of the rainbow here in cotton, wool, bamboo, silk, alpaca, and cashmere.  You order by the 100 grams.  I was surprised, given the popularity of hand-dyed and self-striping yarns in the U.S., that almost all of the yarns available were solids. 

 

The second room is for trims.  Beads and sequins in clear glass jars fill the shelves.  Don’t move them unless you want dirty looks or a sharp word or two in French from the staff, though.  Ask for help.  Purchase is by weight.  They also have a fair selection of ribbons as well as silk flowers and trims.  No photography is permitted inside the store, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

 

La Droguerie is easy to find.  If you are in the underground mall at Les Halles, exit to ground level through Porte du Jour.  Walk straight ahead onto rue du Jour and the shop is just ahead on your left.  From the gardens at Les Halles, walk to the round courtyard between the gardens and the St. Eustache church.  There’s a giant stone head and hand statue in the center of the courtyard.  Face the front of the statue, turn and look over your left shoulder – that’s rue du Jour.  Walk a short distance toward the street and you’ll see the sign for La Droguerie.  They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 until 6:45 and Monday afternoon from 2:00-6:45.  Their website is in French at www.ladroguerie.com or in Japanese at www.ladroguerie.jp.

 
Enough button and trim damage done for the day, I was absolutely required to settle my nerves with French pastry and wine.  Honestly, what I go through for this job…..
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06/07/2008 - French Yarn, Russian Knitters & Baby Stuff
So after making our way on Monday to all the big stores to check out there “mercerie” departments (and buy pastries and chocolate, but that wasn't completely my fault), on Tuesday, we went in search of a real Parisian local yarn shop.  I had a grand plan with maps to all 123 alleged yarn spots in Paris, divided in files by district, and with a Google map to each location showing the nearest subway station.  Yes, I am that organized when I travel.  Of course, there was no way I could make it to all 123, plus, as I discovered, many of them are closed or no longer sell yarn, but I figured my organizational plan would maximize my chances of finding a real Paris yarn shop.  With notebook, file folder and a fair amount of cash, just in case, I headed off to the 8th arrondissement (district) with high hopes. 

Strike One, Strike Two

When I left Orlando for Paris, I had every intention of stocking up on French yarn, preferably angora and/or cashmere, while in Paris.  Although I tried to call stores before heading out, I was unable to find phone numbers for a couple of shops I wanted to check out.  Yeah, that didn’t work out too well.
  First stop was the alleged Bouton d’Or store on rue Vignon.  I figured since it still appeared on the manufacturer’s site, it was probably there.  Ummm, no.  Then on to another store relatively nearby, Lognon, on rue Boissy d’Anglais.  Ummmm, also no.  My feet were a wee bit tired and I can get pretty cranky wandering around with no yarn at all, so I decided to hedge my bets and head over to Modes & Travaux at 10 rue de la Pepiniere.  They had a website still up (though I’ve learned that doesn’t mean much) and it had been recently updated, so I thought there was a better than 50/50 chance I would find yarn. 

 
Paris Department Store


Paris Department Store




 
Paris Department Store



Paris Department Store

Modes & Travaux, 10 rue de la Pepiniere

“Thank God you sell yarn!” was my first thought on entering Modes & Travaux.  This good- sized shop has something for all needlework enthusiasts.  The ground floor is embroidery, needlepoint, and latch hooking.  The basement floor is sale items, buttons and notions.  And I saved the best for last – the upper floor is ALL YARN!  Yep, Anny Blatt and Bouton D’Or and a charming sales lady who was only too happy to help.    So here’s where the Russian knitters come in.  Fabrienne (the nice sales lady) and I had a discussion about knitting in public.  I know you’ll be impressed when I tell you this conversation was in French, my friends, sorely taxing my high school French from 30+ years ago.  So when I recount this story, it may be that she was discussing, say the weather in Germany or how to cook a perfect omelette, but this is my recount of what I thought we were discussing.
  
Oddly, I had never seen a single person knitting on the train in Paris.  Even on lengthy train rides on the high speed trains on previous visits, no one was knitting but me.  On Air France on the way over, I was the only one knitting on the plane.  In the numerous parks I’ve been through in Paris, I never saw a single person knitting.  But there are a ton of little sewing/needlework shops that sell at least some  yarn, so, I asked Fabrienne,  where were all the knitters hiding?    According to her, no one knits in public in Paris.  Her theory is that Parisiennes are too serious to knit in public.  She told me that on World Wide Knitting in Public Day next week, there would be a huge crowd in the  shop, hanging from the balcony, sitting on the stairs, on the floor, oodles of knitters venturing out of their homes to knit in the shop.  But really, is knitting in a yarn store knitting in public?  I don’t think so.  I thought the point was to knit in public, you know, in front of people who don’t knit so as to maybe encourage others to take up needles and yarn and make the world a better (and warmer) place.
 

Are you wondering where the “Russian knitters” in the title of this post comes in?  Here it comes.  I thought this was really cool.  Fabrienne has a knitting “club,” which I gather is just the French version of a knitting group or knitting circle.  Her group has a sister “club” in St. Petersburg, Russia.  They exchange info, emails, photos, etc.  They work similar projects in an international version of a knitalong.  If enough people in the group could scrape up the extra cash, they would visit each other.  All this despite a significant language barrier – only a few members of the Russian group spoke French and no one in the French group spoke Russian.  Considering the number of countries where English is either the most common language, or where English is widely spoken as a second language, my group could have sister groups in a dozen countries.  Another project for when I get home.  I think I’ll get our IT team started on a “group seeking yarn pals” section on our new forum.  I left Fabrienne my card and told her that if her club ever comes to Orlando to take their kids to Disney World, they can come knit with my group.  Hey, that goes for you, too!

 

 

Paris BHV



Paris BHV



Paris BHV

Tiboodoo's

As if the interesting conversation and the fact that I was in the presence of gorgeous French yarn weren't enough, Fabrienne tipped me off to the fact that Modes & Travaux had three shops on the same corner – the one I was in, the Hello Kitty store (?) across the street, and a Tiboodoo’s store right next to Hello Kitty.  Uh, oh.  I sensed my (pseudo) yarn diet was in danger.   

 

I come from a big family – 5 kids – and between us we have 12 children.  None of my siblings are grandparents yet.  So with that information, perhaps you’ll understand why I never understood the whole knitting for babies thing.  I just didn’t get why anyone would spend time and precious fiber knitting something to be peed, pooped and/or thrown up on.  And then my niece, who is the design and programming genius behind Planet Purl, became pregnant.  And the urge to knit adorable little baby things kicked in.  So now I get it – baby knitting is really about knitting for the parents.  So when I saw the Tiboodoo’s shop, I was a goner.
 

The great thing about this shop is that every single design has been knitted up and is hanging on tiny hangers on darling displays.  You can buy the item pre-knitted, or you can have them make you up a kit.  There’s a box on the counter (visible in the pictures) with every color of wool and cotton they have available.  The patterns can all be made with either fiber interchangeably.  Pick your pattern, pick your colors and fiber and they slip into the back of the shop and make up your kit!  Patterns are available in French, English and American (with appropriate knitting terms for the locale).  They were out of the "American" directions for the one I picked, so the saleswoman gave me the pattern in French, took my email address and emailed it to me the next day. 

Modes & Travaux and the Tiboodoo’s shop are just a hop, skip and a jump from the St. Lazare train/metro station.  There are a dozen exits from the station, so I suggest you check the map of the area (plan du quartier) as you exit the subway to get you bearings.  The shop is open from Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.  Their website is in French, and you can find it here: http://www.boutiquemodesettravaux.com/catalog/default.php4

 

 

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06/04/2008 - Paris Department Stores -- Yarn and Chocolate

Paris – Les Grands Magasins.  If you want to yarn shop on a Monday in Paris, you pretty much have to head to the Grands Magasins (large stores).  Smaller stores are generally closed on Monday.  Paris has four big department stores – Le Bon Marche, Galleries Lafayette, BHV, and Printemps.  They are usually open from 10 a.m. to 7p.m., with later nights on Thursday.  They all have extended hours during the December holiday season.  As always, if time is an issue, call ahead.

 
 
Paris Department Store


Paris Department Store



Galleries Lafayette and Printemps

Galleries Lafayette and Printemps are almost next to each other on Boulevard Hausmann, a main shopping thoroughfare in the 9th arrondisement (district).  They are both huge stores housed in multiple buildings. 

There are many reasons to visit these stores, but yarn shopping, sadly, is not one of them.  Oh, they both sell yarn, but their yarn sections are really just tiny Phildar stores.  And if you were really planning to buy inexpensive acrylic yarn in Paris, you’d get a much better selection at one of the freestanding Phildar stores. 

At Printemps, yarn is on the 4th floor.  Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.  At the Galleries Lafayette, you’re looking for the department “loisirs creatifs” (creative leisure) for the craft department that includes other needlework as well. 

Both stores are worth a stop for other reasons, though.  Printemps has a fabulously decorated exterior.  Galleries Lafayette has the most gorgeous interior, with a stained glass ceiling and stunning, ornate plasterwork.  Galleries Lafayette also has a wonderful gourmet grocery that takes up pretty much an entire floor. 

You can get to the stores from a few metro stops – Hausmann, and  Chausee-D’Antin Lafayette are closest.  When you get off the train, looks for signs that say “Grands Magasins.”  The streets are also marked with directions to the “Grands Magasins.” 
 

 
Paris BHV

BHV

A store not worth a stop is BHV.  A regular craft section on the first floor and a "mercerie" section on the 4th, it only carries Phildar (what else?) in a building that architecturally is closest to a well-worn K-Mart. It has some nice trims and buttons, but not anything you won’t find at any of the other stores. 

If you don’t want to take our word for it, you can find the shop located in the 1st arrondissement at 52 Rue Rivoli (Metro: Hotel de Ville).  I’m not going to give you directions from there because I don’t want you to blame me if you decide to give it a look.  

 

 
Paris Le Bon Marche

Paris Le Bon Marche

Paris Le Bon Marche

Le Bon Marche

Le Bon Marche, on the other hand, has a full yarn department and “mercerie” (sewing and notions).  Beautifully laid out and lit, with very friendly sales staff, there’s something for every craft here – knitting, crocheting, cross-stitch, needlepoint, embroidery, quilting, rugmaking, plus gorgeous trims, tassels, braids, buttons and bows.  They also carry a large selection of needles and notions. 

You won’t get a true LYS experience here, but you’ll be dazzled by the selection.   Yarns include Anny Blatt, Bouton d’Or, Plassard, Debbie Bliss, Noro, Rowan, Austermann, Punto Su Punto, and of course Phildar.  Paris’ legendary yarn and trim shop – Le Droguerie – has a section of the third floor as well with a large selection of beads and sequins sold by weight.  If you need a Droguerie fix on Monday morning, this is where to head, since the shop itself is closed on Mondays until after lunch.  


Le Bon Marche is on rue Sevres, right across from the Babylon-Sevres metro stop.  The exits of the station are marked to exit to the store and once you’re above ground, it’ll be right in front of you.  The crafts department is on the 3rd floor.

 

Across the street from the main store is Bon Marche’s incredible gourmet food hall.  Whatever you eat before you fly home doesn’t have to be declared when you clear customs, thank goodness.  Yarn, plus wine, gourmet pastries and chocolate.  I could happily live here.

 
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