Thursday, 27 February 2014

Paris, shopping and macarons

I arrived back from Paris on the weekend and what a brilliant but busy trip we had! There's just so many shops to visit and they all had to be fitted in. I thought you might like to read a bit about what I got up to and if you're visiting anytime soon you might want to give some of these places a visit, or book up a trip especially!

The first shop on the list was Galleries Lafayette, it is worth a visit just for the incredible building it is housed in. Its the French equivalent of Harrods or Selfridges, with a beautiful decorative domed ceiling and a rooftop viewing area where you can see all across Paris. A purchase here is unlikely, unless you have a few thousand in your pocket, even the Topshop and Zara sections had the prices hiked up considerably.
The main reason we went to Paris was to go to Premiere Vision, which is a massive exhibition of designers from all over the world, specialising in areas such as digital prints and embroidery. The exhibition also shows the key trends in fabrics, colours, garments and embellishments for future seasons. This time it was mainly about S/S 15 with a small amount of A/W 15. Photographs were not allowed anywhere in the exhibition which was such a shame because there were so many beautiful and inspiring things there.
An absolute must visit in Paris if you're into sewing is La Droguerie, I read somewhere that this translates to 'the drugstore'; perhaps because fabric is so addictive? I had been here a few years ago, so it was right on top of my list. There is nothing like this shop in the UK, the amount of yarn, beads, fabric, buttons and trims is just unbelievable and the old fashioned interior is beautiful. I had to spend a lot of money here, otherwise I knew I would regret it; some Liberty fabric was a must and it was love at first sight when I saw a houndstooth patterned fabric. They have a wonderful selection of coloured feathers all contained in glass jars, I particularly loved the blue and green tones, so a selection of these made their way into my purchases too. I actually bought some of the same glass flower beads pictured below last time I was there, but they are so beautiful that I bought a few more. The little toadstool on a pin was too cute to resist! I was going to buy some yarn too but you have to be served by a member of staff for pretty much everything and you can be waiting in the yarn queue for quite a while. I think I must have waited for at least 20 minutes when I gave up, I also had a suspicion that they would have served the other French customers before me anyway. Nevertheless, I came away with a bag full of inspiring items.

On the same day we visited another haberdashery called Petit Pan near Bastille. This was smaller but definitely still worth a visit, the area around it is lovely to explore too. The shop mainly sold fabric, by the metre or in already cut, rolled up bundles. A table at the front of the shop had glass jars filled with coloured bells and patterned trims lined the walls. I had to restrain myself here so I only bought two packs of star shaped sequins in green and blue.

One thing I have to mention is the Musee des Arts Decoratifs. We visited expecting there to be a fashion and textiles section, only to find out that this part is only open when there is an exhibition on. So I would check on the website if you're planning to go; the upside to the visit was that I bought a postcard of  a Vogue cover in the shop. The postcard features Twiggy, as does the cover of a book I bought in an English and French bookshop called Galignani just along from the museum. It has a substantial fashion section, as well as art books. The books were fairly pricey but it was hard to resist buying just one, so I chose Fifty fashion looks that changed the 1960s. I have so many books like this already but none on just the 60s which is one of my favourite fashion eras.

A beautiful pattern on a screen in the museum
A great place for fabric and haberdasheries is Montmartre. I must admit I was a bit dubious when we got off the metro and walked up one of the main streets, we got offered iPhones, watches and flashy belts by dodgy looking men, so you can see why. But once we got a bit further in, near Sacre-Coeur, the haberdasheries started to appear and there were loads! You could come out of one and go into another, then another, then another; all next door to each other. I was a bit out of money as this was on the last day of the trip so I just bought a metre of a polyester chiffon and a crochet/embroidery cotton from Tissus Reine. If you're visiting Montmartre head towards Marche Saint Pierre which is an emporium of fabric and around here you will find all the haberdasheries.

Another must visit if you are in Montmartre is an amazing chocolate shop called Maison Larnicol; its worth going in just for the amazing smell! They also sell macarons at a good price and you just can't go to Paris without having at least one macaron...


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