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.
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).
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.