July 17, 2006
France -- where do I begin? Do I start with the friendly -- yes friendly -- people? The wonderful cheese? The interesting sights? The funny language stories? The family fun? The yarn shopping? Ah, that got your attention!
When I travel I love to check out the local knitting scene. Not only does it give me a feel for the place, but I come home with the best "souvenirs". France was no exception. My travels took me to 2 great places to buy yarn, Le Bon Marche (Rive Gauche) and La droguerie. But first, check out my souvenirs...
Le Bon Marche
The 3rd floor of Le Bon Marche (Rive Gauche) in Paris is a delight -- offering yarn from 4 vendors, a wide range of needle work and sewing supplies, and a small branch of La droguerie. Knitting yarn tends to be purchased from a specific yarn vendor instead of from an all-purpose yarn store. Le Bon Marche included 4 yarn vendors -- Phildar, Rowan, Anny Blatt, and one other I cannot remember. Each vendor had its own section displaying its pattern books and yarn along with its own sales clerk. The modus operandus is to find a project in the pattern books, choose your yarn from the display only yarn wall, and then tell the sales clerk your selections. She disappears into the back and returns with your yarn and pattern book ready to go. I liked it -- lots of choice without being overwelming.
Since Rowan and Anny Blatt are available in the States, I decided on Phildar. It was easy to find a pattern I liked -- the French really have a nice sense of style -- and to locate the proper yarn. Although the yarn was a wool, acrylic blend it was reasonably priced and seemed nice. The Phildar patterns are well written and have been a fun puzzle to translate.
This store is an absolute must for craft enthusiasts -- yarn, buttons, trim, ribbon, beads, jewelry supplies, felt, etc, etc, etc. Everything was beautiful and of wonderful quality. I could have spent my entire trip in this store and was on a high when I left. There are branches all over France and I hit two of them -- Paris and Strasbourg. What I loved most was how they mixed and matched the buttons, trim, and beads with the knitting. It's amazing what a special button or pin closure can do for a simple sweater. The sales gals were all young, friendly, and very patient with my limited French. I would go back to France just for this store -- and I mean it! More information on visiting La droguerie can be here.
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