Two ladies and a whole lotta wool
One of the cities I visited on my recent jaunts, was Paris. This was my first ever trip to Paris and I went with an agenda that included wool and maracons. Both agenda items were fulfilled (though I have to say I threw myself into the latter with significant gusto so as to render the eating of macarons far more successful than the purchasing of wool).
I only had two full days in Paris, and plenty of other things on my itinerary. The Canadian and I were staying in a quirky little (really little) Air BnB apartment in Monmartre. For a sample of its quirkiness, please see this Vine.
We were staying on Rue des Martyrs, in striking distance of the Sacré-Coeur; it was a beautiful location. This street is perfect for food tourists (like us) who are simply interested in buying and eating as much food and wine as possible whilst on holiday. There were fomageries, bolongeries, boucheries, poissonniers, marchand de vin (excuse any incorrect French usage) and all manner of takeaways, cafes and bars. It suited us just fine.
But this post is really about the wool shop, and one in particular: La Drouguerie, 9 – 11 Rue du Jour.
I was really excited about visiting this shop from the description – wooden panels, an entire room of jars full of buttons and other delights, wool, ribbons and a whole host of other things. It sounded right up my street. Though I had heard there was a “no photos” policy and I was mindful of this given my lack of command of the French language (I did not want a telling off from a Parisian in a wool shop).
But I did get this picture of the outside:
Entering was like stepping into a crafty sweet shop: walls garlanded with beautiful wool, creaky wooden shelves housing numerous jars of shining buttons, silk ribbons on spools, glass cabinets full of treasures and wonderful knitted up garments hung neatly around. It was a beauty. Now here’s the catch – and I’d read about it before heading there – there is a slightly tricky ordering system.
The wool isn’t in balls – it’s hung on the walls in big loops. You don’t touch, you wait for an assistant and you order your weight and anything else you might want with the wool, the assistant packages you up and you go to a booth near the entrance of the shop and pay. Simple…well, perhaps it is if you speak French. Not quite so simple if, like me, you are woefully inadequate when it comes to languages. Still I wanted to order something, so I went and hung near the counter at the very back where a hive of activity was happening in French. Customers brandishing patterns and off cuts of other materials were being hushed around the shop, picking up their wares here and there. I wasn’t really sure of the queuing system (do they queue in Paris?) or if I needed a number or similar.
Mostly, I just stood there trying to look like I needed to be served while dodging the sales assistants and their customers. In the end, I sort of lost hope and left, dejected and without wool.
In short, this is a beautiful shop and worth a visit only if you can either speak French or are happy to leave without buying anything. I was almost heart broken I left empty handed. It was tough – I consoled myself with wine and macarons.
I visited one other knitting shop on my trip, Cat’Laine – it didn’t quite inspire the awe of La Drouguerie and I probably wouldn’t visit again. It was quite a standard shop in my opinion, there were a couple of nice wools there but nothing that caught my eye and a tad more expensive than London wool shops. It did have a great logo though:
Despite the woolly disappointment – all creativity was not quashed, I still brought my well-travelled knitted critters (of Berlin fame) with me. Here they are enjoying some beer and peanuts in Montmartre:
And, I even partook in some (slightly drunken) drawing. This was my attempt to draw the view from the cafe we were drinking beer at. I was pretty happy with the attempt, especially given I 1) had been drinking 2) was drawing on my iPhone, using my finger and an app called Sketch Book X, an app which I love and with which I’m sure much more skilled artist would create amazing things with.
That’s my crafty trip to Paris in search of wool a nutshell. Hope you enjoyed!