Sunday, 8 May 2011

Paris Part 1

On Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to spend the day in Paris with my friends Alice (aka Socktopus) and  Yuvee. Taking advantage of speedy and affordable Eurostar tickets we were able to go there and back in a day, which was fantastic (and a great way to save on hotel costs!)

That being said, in order to make the most of the day, we arrived at St. Pancras at the ungodly hour of 5.50am in time for our train at 6.50am. But by the time we were on the train, and full of caffeine, we were in good spirits!

Upon arrival we swiftly made our way down to the metro (and I mean swiftly - the Eurostar is SO much easier than flying!), and off towards the Bastille. We stopped off for a Parisien Breakfast of toast, croissants, OJ & coffee:



I wasn't hungry and opted for a simple apple juice instead. What arrived was this monster, which I was very grateful for, until I realised it was going to cost me 7.50 Euros! (£6.55/$10.70!) But what could I do? No holiday is complete without some tourist mishaps!
After breakfast we walked a short distance to the first yarn shop on our tour, Entree des Fournisseurs.





This lovely little place is situated just off a fairly busy street in an idyllic ivy covered courtyard. It sells a wide range of buttons, ribbons and some lovely quilting fabrics, as well as a small range of yarn from well known French brands (and Debbie Bliss). As I was quick to learn, yarn shopping in France is a different experience than in the UK. Yarn is kept behind the counter and you must queue to request it from one of the sales assistants. Similarly, buttons are displayed on sheets around the store, and you must queue to get an assistant to help you. The process is slow and inefficient, but must dramatically reduce shoplifting losses, and is rather quaint! 

We wandered for a while longer, spotting a number of engravings like this one;




"Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood", the French motto and, I believe, reasoning behind the colours of the French flag.

Alice lived in Paris as a teenager, and had visited regularly since, so she took us to the Jewish quarter for falafel for lunch. This was my falafel:



It was probably twice as large as it looks in this picture. And it was absolutely delicious. Don't believe me? Look at the queue!


After falafel, we made our way over to La Drogerie, probably the most well known of Paris' yarn shops. With stores throughout France and several in Japan, the store has an unusual business model. Rather than selling yarn from wholesalers, they have their own line that you can purchase in unlabelled 50g cakes (so remember what you buy!) Like Entree des Fournisseurs there is a complex queue-request-wait-pay system, but you do get to fondle samples of all the yarns before choosing what you want. 

It's a pretty shop;


And I picked up 50g of a lovely Merino/Silk blend I'll keep for a mini-project or swatching. I was surprised to find I had absolutely no red yarn in my stash, and am happy to have rectified this!


After La Drogerie our tour continued, but I'll leave that until tomorrow!

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