Accidentally Craft Shopping in Paris

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

I had read up, I knew where to go and then threw the book away.  I had a simple mission in mind - I wanted a pair of embroidery scissors for my mother.  If you plan to go accidentally craft shopping, stumbling upon these places might just make your day.  I know they certainly made mine.

Le Rouvray 

Le Rouvray is a little quilt store is tucked away on the left bank, a mere stone's throw from the Notre Dame.

I tried so hard to speak french, but beyond the pleasantries, I couldn't talk fabric and blurted out "Je'ne parle pas francais, but I quilt." Little did I know that this is the catch phrase of this darling store.

We were away, looking for something quintessentially french to buy and discussing how incredibly bright Australasian quilts in comparison with traditions from elsewhere.

The stock is an interesting mix of french provincial prints, american civil war prints, a selection of kona cottons and patterns for all.  As I was travelling light, I limited myself to a small cicada kitset.  In hindsight I'm sure I could have snuck the Mona Lisa in my suitcase too - the pixeallated one in the window that is.

Entree Des Fournisseurs

So many of the treasures are hidden away in little courtyards.  If a gate of door was opened, we carefully peered inside, never for one moment expecting to see a craft shop. This one is in the centre of The Marais.

Entree Des Fournisseurs is a veritable candy shop of handcraft.  When you enter the door, you will be in the heart of the knitting, with sublime wools and gorgeous patterns.  Then making your way through the ribbons to the fabric and patterns at the end.  I spent a good while flicking through Citronille patterns and drooling over reels of liberty trims.  Behind the counter there was a selection of fine embroidery scissors and sweet french labels.  If ever the term small but perfectly formed was to applied to a craft shop, this would be it.

I came away with metres of trim for me, the coveted scissors for my mother and little labels simply stating "Je suis une PRINCESSE' simply because every girl needs reminding once in a while.

Tapisseries de la Bucherie

We first saw this store with a very french sign taped to the door "Closed for lunch, open again at 2". Given it's proximity to Notre Dame, this is the perfect opportunity to pick up your own lunch from the nearest bakery and head to the park at the back of Notre Dame to eat.  The re-opening at 2 was taken a little liberally and finally the door opened sometime later in the afternoon.  Talking to the ladies in another store, it appears the woman who runs this store opens when she want to and doesn't when she doesn't.

Tapestries are more my mother's style than mine, but I know enough, to recognise that these ones are divine.  You can get a kitset for a whole chair or just a little miniature.  I was totally smitten with the miniatures celebrating 850 years of Notre Dame Cathedral.  The prices made my eyes water and secretly give thanks for the Wellington institution that is Nancys.

Finding these three gems made my trip just a little sweeter.  I would love to have made it La Drougerie or some of the great Ateliers, but for me, these were enough.  My luggage was supplemented with delicate embroidery scissors, ribbons, tiny kitsets and memories. 

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  1. when were you there Amy? this little series is great, i'm having fierce 'i want to be there' pangs!

  2. i'm simply drooling with jealousy here. my daughter often says to me that she only would like to go to Paris for one thing and that is to see the craft shops. i don't blame her.
    Rosie xx


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