On my recent trip to France, I did as I always do and looked for yarn shops in each city along the way. This time I traveled with my daughter and son-in-law who both knit, so I didn’t get much objection when I suggested looking up the shops.
When we started out we didn’t have much luck, but as the trip went on we were able to find several great shops.
Our first stop was Nice, France; we arrived on July 13. We spent a good part of the first afternoon getting our bearings – getting out of the airport, purchasing a bus pass, finding the hotel, and purchasing a SIM card.
Our first full day was the 14th. “14 July” in France is equivalent to the 4th of July in the States. We might refer to it as Bastille Day, but locals just use the date. (We also use the date rather than saying it’s Independence Day).
We had located a couple yarn shops on the map, but when we got to the locations, both shops were closed. La Droguerie originated in Paris, but now has shops in several cities in France. The one in Nice was near our hotel, but did not open on the holiday. I wasn’t terribly disappointed because we planned to go to the Paris location later.
One shop that I did miss was Aux Belles Laines. It looked like a lovely shop, but it was also closed for the holiday. I will have to go back to Nice someday to visit when it is open. Although many stores were open on the holiday, the yarn shops were not.
Marseilles and Arles
There were four yarn shops in Marseilles, including another location of La Drogurie. We visited the city on a Sunday, though, and all of the yarn shops were closed that day. I have found that throughout Europe, it is not uncommon for yarn shops and other specialty stores to be closed on Sundays and Mondays. We didn’t walk past any of the shops because we knew they would be closed.
Our next stop was Arles. We could not find any listings for yarn shops in Arles. The city has a wonderful market and I hoped to find yarn there, but I did not.
Our main purpose for visiting Grenoble was to be close to the Tour de France route. Our first day there, we drove up into the French Alps to watch a mountain stage. The second day, the tour was coming right through the city, although not until the afternoon.
We had time to visit a museum and do some shopping in Grenoble in the morning. I was very glad to finally get to a couple yarn shops that were open.
The first shop we visited was Lanae Tricot. The shop carries French Fonty yarn along with imported yarns from around the world – Lang, Malabrigo, Hedgehog, Opal, and more. The shop was clean and bright and the English-speaking owner was very pleasant.
The second shop in Grenoble was Jeux d’Aiguilles (listed as Games D’aiguilles on Google). The shop carries a lot of Katia yarn (Europe), plus Bergère and DMC from France. The owner was extremely helpful and friendly – her English was understandable. I was interested in a pattern for a shawl that was on display. She couldn’t find the pattern, but wrote it out for me – excellent customer service!
Strasbourg and Colmar
We stayed in Strasbourg, but took a day trip to Colmar. There were yarn shops in both cities. In Colmar, we found Tricot Passion. This shop speciaizes in European yarns – Bergère from France, Lang from Switzerland, and Lana Grossa and Rico from Germany. We found many of the yarns to be luxurious, made with silk, mohair and cashmere, but there were also some made from cotton and wool. The owner was friendly, although she spoke very little English. Despite the language barrier, we were able to complete our purchases.
We had a limited amount of time to shop at the yarn shops in Strasbourg, so we chose the ones that were closest to the city center.
We visited the Phildar shop in Strasbourg. I was surprised that the shop carried yarn and clothing. We were a bit disappointed in the Phildar shop because it was small and most of the yarn was made of acrylic or acrylic and wool blends.
We also visited La Drogurie – a unique yarn and mercerie (buttons, beads, and ribbons) shop. I’ve been in La Drogurie in Paris – every time I visit, I want one of everything. The Strasbourg location was newer and brighter than the Paris one, but all the locations carry the same stock.
The shop carries its own brand of yarn. In the front of the shop are all the yarn samples. You can feel and touch the samples, but when you buy something, the yarn is wound personally for you from stock in the back. This way, it isn’t handled by other customers.
The beads, ribbons, and buttons are the cutest ever. The store carries a small amount of calico fabric. There are patterns for baby’s layettes and children’s wardrobes using the fabric, yarn, and trimmings.
Our last few days were spent in Paris. We visited three shops while we were there – La Drogurie, Lil Weasel, and La Bien Aimée. (I’ve reviewed several Paris yarn shops in the past – here and here). La Drogurie and Lil Weasel are two of my favorites, but after this visit, I’ve added a third shop to the list.
La Bien Aimée was a small shop the first time I visited. I was not especially impressed because the store did not carry French yarn. The owner is an American and the shop carried imported American yarn. I believe the owner had carried some hand dyed yarn the first time I was in the shop, but had so little of it, that it didn’t catch my eye. Oh, how things have changed!
La Biene Aimée has partnered with pattern designers to provide hand dyed yarn kits for newly released patterns. When I first heard about the partnerships, I wondered how the little shop in Paris could provide enough yarn. The “little shop” has outgrown its old location and now has a larger, brighter one. I could not believe the entire wall of gorgeous hand dyed yarns.
We visited the shop on our last Saturday in Paris – an hour before closing time. I loved the yarn and bought a few skeins to stuff into the last corners of my suitcase. I will definitely return for a visit, the next time I am in Paris.
My daughter and son-in-law and I had a lot of fun discovering new yarn shops in areas of France that I had not visited before. We enjoyed old favorites and found a new one in Paris.
I’m looking forward to my next trip. I hope to find more yarn shops so I can add to my collection of unique and special yarns.