Update: I visited more shops in September 2016. Read the update here.
On my recent trip to Paris, I thought I’d check out the yarn shops. I’ve been knitting for a few years now and I always like to see what kind of yarn is available in places that I visit.
I looked on the internet for Paris yarn shops. I hoped to find a nice listing of all the shops, but all I found were a few blogs listing the bloggers’ favorites. After piecing together information from several websites, I set out to see what I could find.
The first shop I went to was Pierre Huguet & Cie Ets. Once I got my bearings after coming out of the Metro, the shop wasn’t too hard to find. The only problem was that the name wasn’t on the building. I could see it was a yarn shop, though, so I walked in. The owner showed me the little name card in the window so I knew I was in the right place. After her greeting and explanation, though, she retreated to the back room.
The room smelled old and a bit smoky, so I wasn’t too interested in buying yarn. The yarn was piled on the shelf in large hanks. I had read that some French shops store the yarn this way and just measure out the amount you need. There was very little variety – only two or three types of yarn in different colorways. I looked around for awhile but the owner never returned. I called, “Au revoir,” and left.
I walked a few blocks down the street to find the next shop. This shop was called Li’l Weasel, and it was located in a gorgeous covered passageway. The owner greeted me, and then let me browse. She was very pleasant and answered all my questions – in English.
The Li’l Weasel imports Debbie Bliss (England), Malabrigo (Uruguay), and Rowan (England) yarns, but also stocks a good amount of Fonty (French), and a couple other French produced yarns. Most of the yarn is sorted by color, giving the wall a rainbow look, with certain special yarns grouped by themselves. I bought a couple different types of Fonty and so far am very happy with it.
The next day I went to the large – and Paris’s oldest – department store, Le Bon Marché. I was looking forward to shopping in the yarn department I had seen pictured on another knitter’s blog. Although I had a great time exploring the store, I found no yarn. When I asked, I was told they no longer carry it. “Finit!” the clerk said. Le Bon Marché’s beautiful yarn department was gone.
On my second day out, I took the Metro to the D’Italie stop from which I could easily walk to two yarn shops. L’Oisivé Thé et Tricot and the smaller, la Bien Aimee are sister shops in the 13th arrondissement. L’Oisivé Thé is a tea shop that serves delicious brunches. The walls of the tea shop are lined with bins of yarn. The name explains the shop – “thé” which means “tea” and “et Tricot” which means “and knitting.” How fun is that?
Both of the shops sell beautiful yarn, although none of it is from France. Most of the yarn is imported from Great Britain and the U.S., including a nice selection of Madelinetosh (Texas, U.S.). Both of the storekeepers spoke English, and gladly answered my questions.
The next shop I visited was Le Comptoir. This beautiful old fashioned shop displays modern yarns in wood cabinets. The shop carries yarns from Lang (Switzerland), Debbie Bliss, and Rowan along with a little Fonty. The owner speaks English, although not comfortably. The shop was clean and welcoming – I wanted to stay for awhile.
A couple blocks away I found Cat’Laine, another small yarn shop. This shop has a large variety of different textured yarn – mostly Katia (Spain) – displayed in small shoebox-like containers. There were several sweaters hanging around the shop and in the window as examples for how to use the yarn. The owner was friendly and spoke English.
My final stop that day was La Droguerie. I didn’t expect much because I knew this was another store where the yarn was displayed in hanks, like I had seen at the first store. I was pleasantly surprised and excited. The store is bright and clean, with a large variety of yarn displayed in the front half of the store. I explored the store and found a side room full of beads, buttons and patterns. The main room has a large selection of trims, more patterns and a small classroom area.
The store was busy and it took awhile to figure out the system. I was told I had to wait in a line to be taken care of, so I quickly decided which yarn I wanted to buy and got in line. It took a while for my turn, but when the clerk came to me, I had his full attention. He walked with me to see the yarn I selected, taking notes as I pointed. He went to the back room to retrieve the selected yarn, wound the desired amount into a ball and then presented my purchases to the cashier.
I was pleased that I was not given yarn from the front of the store. The yarn there was just for display and had probably been fingered by countless customers. The yarn was made in France, specifically for La Droguerie. The patterns are also La Droguerie’s own brand. I couldn’t resist picking up a couple – even though they were written in French – because I loved the classic French look.
My husband and I wanted to go to one of the outdoor markets and Marché St. Pierre sounded interesting. The area focuses on fabric but there were also two yarn stores. The first one, Tricot Saint-Pierre, had a large selection of Phildar, but also Plassard and Cheval Blanc – all French yarns.
The second shop, Laines, carried a nice selection of Katia yarn. Both were pleasant shops with clerks that spoke English.
On my last day in Paris, I visited one more shop. Elle Tricote, is located in the 16th arrondissement, out from the center of town. The shop owner greeted me warmly and helped me find the pair needles I was looking for. The shop carries Lang yarn, but also has their own brand of yarn. This yarn, along with coordinated patterns or kits, is very exquisite – a bit more than my wallet allows, but nevertheless, beautiful. (Update: The Paris location of this shop has now closed, although the store in Strasbourg is still open).
I had fun searching out all the yarn stores in Paris. When I was in Paris, I thought I had visited every yarn shop there, but now I have learned about more. I guess I’ll have to go back to check out the rest.
When you travel, do you look for items that enhance your hobbies? Leave your comments below.