Paris is the home of haute couture, so of course there are many fabric stores to be found. Most are really great, and some are better than average. But for me, there is one that stands out beyond the others, La Droguerie. I should say first off, that La Droguerie is not just a sewing shop, and there are far larger shops. In fact, there are far better shops, technically. But the quality of what they have and the taste, suits me just fine, and I would feel like my trip to Paris is incomplete without a stop here for a little piece of fabric to take home.
I have many photos of the exterior of the building, but they have a strict "no photos" policy and have a sign on their front door stating so. Though I did find some images of the interior by searching the web. Thanks internet!
When you first walk into the shop, you are greeted by gorgeous skeins of yarn. Now, I am not a knitter, but I can appreciate fine raw materials, and these are lovely. After the yarn, you pass an old-style wooden clerk's booth, which is where you line up to pay. Just past the booth on the right is a wall of trims- Liberty of London bias tape and piping, ribbons, adorable tricot edged trimming, leather roping, and more. It always takes tremendous will power not to blow my whole wad right there.
Across the aisle from the ribbons is a wall of buttons and a glass button case holding fancy buttons and trims as well as fat quarters of Liberty of London lawn. Not only is there where you'll find those notions, but this is also where you line up to be paired with a clerk if you want help on this side of the store, meaning, buttons, yarn, and fabrics. No, there is no sign to indicate this, and yes, it takes a long time of waiting for it to be your turn. But then when it is, it feels pretty luxurious to have your own shopper with you, guiding you through the shop and cutting what your heart desires.
Beyond the buttons and trims is another room that houses more yarn and fabrics. This is one of the smallest fabric selections of all the shops I've been too in Paris, and yet every time I'm there, I have a very hard time whittling down my choices, because for the most part, I want it all. You'll find Liberty of London lawn, and other lawn, voile, and quilt weight fabrics. Most are lawn and outside of the Liberty fabrics, most are unlabeled and are prints that are completely new to me. It's nice to be surprised by something new when you're around fabric all day, every day!
But, if you desire silk, rayon, wool, or basically anything other than cotton, this is not the place for you. We will talk later in other posts about other fabric shops to hit, so don't fret.
Just before the fabric and yarn room is a doorway to the right, leading to the other store front. If you look at the exterior image, you can see that it's actually two store fronts. These are Paris-sized store fronts though, so combined it is still a very small shop. On this side is another counter where people are lined up to be helped for this side of the shop. At the counter are jewelry making notions and some millinery supplies.
Past that, heading toward the front windows are jars and jars of beads. If you make your own jewelry, or use beads in your crafts, this would be very tempting. But as I don't wear beaded jewelry for the most part, I pass by this area safely, without temptation!
Just beyond the beads are more and more and more trims, followed by jars of supplies that could be considered crafty in any other setting, but here seem perfectly chic and reasonable. Here you'll find large and small fake flowers meant for hats, fake butterflies, and other similar items. They even sell blank plain berets if you'd like to embellish one while visiting.
In addition to all of these supplies, there are pattern books scattered around the shop, for both their in-house knitting and sewing patterns. I've never purchased one, because none have gotten my interest quite enough, but they seem quite lovely.
As with all shops in Paris, knowing French will prove to be tremendously helpful here. Everything is in meters and while the clerks are giving you their undivided attention, it is hard to forget about the lines of people waiting for your sales girl as you dash around the shop gathering goodies. So going in with a plan, or at least forming a plan before getting in line, is a brilliant idea.
Have any of you been to La Droguerie? I see on their site that they have other outposts in France, which makes me think that if this is the national chain of fabric shops, it's quite a difference from our national chains here in the US! If you've been there, do tell about your experience, and your purchases!
Top photo by me
Middle photo by Make Zine
Bottom two photos by Oh Happy Day