Fabric Shopping in Paris

The Eiffel Tower, Paris at sunset

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Last year I visited Paris for the first time. After nearly five years living in London it’s a bit embarrassing that it took me so long to get there but after hearing about the fabric shopping there, I had to go! So I packed my bags and set off to catch the Eurostar on a crisp London morning.

Packing for #Paris. Has anyone seen my #beret?! I know I had it here somewhere…

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The plan was to stay with a French friend who lives in central Paris, enjoy the food and wine, and explore the city. But it didn’t go totally as expected; I travelled on November 13th, the day of the terrorist attacks.

It was a weird time – my friends there were very upset, I wasn’t sure exactly what was happening (my high school French is ok, but no good for keeping up with the flood of news information that weekend) and we ended up being housebound for nearly two days.

la place des vosges fountains

La Place des Vosges, Sunday after the attacks

On the Sunday I decided I was going to explore the city anyway and not let the attacks scare me into staying locked inside. It was a beautiful sunny day. The city seemed quiet – most of the cafes and shops were closed but people were still out and about. I sat for a while by the fountains in La Place des Vosges, listening to the street musicians and doing a bit of people watching.

girl sunbathing outside pompidou centre

My friend had gone to the south of France to stay with family but I enjoy being by myself, so I loved wandering the city for the next two days. I, of course, went for a wee selfie by the Eiffel Tower, walked along the river with a hot chocolate, and managed an hour in Le Louvre. But my favourite part of the trip was the few hours I spent in Monmartre. I walked up by the Sacre-coeur and was proud to be mistaken for a Parisien by one of the street sellers!

sacre-coeur paris monmartre in the sunshine

Then I headed into some of the fabric shops at the bottom of the hill. It was basically the biggest test of self-restraint I’ve ever endured! With my teeny tiny case I knew I couldn’t take much back with me. So after a good hour of browsing I picked up a short piece of orange satin to practise with (I had applied for the Great British Sewing Bee by this point, and knew I would need to practise working with trickier fabrics.) My best purchase was a selection of multicoloured striped jerseys. I didn’t know exactly what they would be for, but I knew I wanted to combine them all in one garment…

They became the “multi-coloured-striped-metallic summer hoodie”!

green pink and metallic striped hoodie

What do you think? I rather like it! I have at least the same amount of each fabric left so will play around with it to see what else I can create. The sleeves actually have a metallic sheen to them on the dark grey stripes:

close up of hoodie stripes seam

I definitely want to visit Paris again, maybe this summer. Despite everything that happened, it has a very safe, welcoming atmosphere. After my friend went to the south of France, his flatmates were great and kept me company in the evenings… as well as patiently helping me improve my French. Thanks Jade and John!

If you’re interested in more detail about the construction of the summer hoodie, I have posted a separate article all about that.

So who else has been to Paris? Any shopping recommendations for next time?

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Duncan Carter

Duncan Carter is a Scottish YouTuber with a keen interest in fashion and lifestyle. He also writes a monthly sewing blog for Minerva Crafts and was a contestant on Series 4 of The Great British Sewing Bee.

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