Hello sunny très chaud Singapour! The weather has been unbearably hot and I’m totally missing Europe. The weather on my last day in Paris was perfect and it was spent at Montmarte. The main purpose of revisiting Montmarte is fabric shopping which is beautifully expensive in Paris. The closest Metro station is Anvers. Once you exit the station, walk towards Sacre-Coeur. When you come to a “T-junction” with a carousel at the foot of Sacre-Coeur, turn right. You will see the two giants: Marché Saint-Pierre and Tissus Reine.
First stop: Marché Saint-Pierre which is well-stocked with five stories worth of fabric, ranging from cotton, to silk to chiffon to satin, to upholstery ETC. Fabrics for apparels are mainly concentrated on first three stories. Prices range from 2€ (coupons) to 100€ and above for la dentelle. On the 2nd floor, they have a little corner providing laces and all kinds of fabrics for wedding gowns. Laces are and can be very pricey, starting from 50€. The minimum length you can ask for is 0.5m. If you are looking for patchwork fabrics, they have quite an extensive collection at the back of the ground floor, from about 8€/m.
Dreyfus Déballage du Marché Saint Pierre
2 rue Charles Nodier – F75018 PARIS – France
Next stop: Tissus Reine. Fabrics for apparel are mainly on the ground floor, some wool and towel material and lots of notions on the 1st floor. If you are looking for fabric from Liberty, this is where you should go! I can’t help but splurge on slightly more than a metre. If the bolt leaves a remainder of less than 1m, they may refuse to cut the amount you requested. This is why I end up with slightly more than a metre of Liberty! If you are also interested in getting some Paris-themed fabric such as the iconic Eiffel, they have a corner just for that. They come in jersey, silk/chiffon, and cotton. They also have a wide variety of wedding fabrics such as laces, satins, chiffons etc. Prices are similar to Marché Saint Pierre.
3-5, St. Peter’s Square,
Final stop: Moline and Moline Mercerie (I’m not sure if they are affiliated). Unlike the other two, Moline has many stores along the main fabric street, each specialising in different fabric needs.
2,4,6 rue de Livingstone
Besides the larger stores, you may like to wander around the main shopping street to check out the smaller shops, especially those with the word coupons on the window. They sell remnants/end of the bolt, with prices and quantity stated. Some allow you to cut the desired quantity, while you have to bring home the entire bundle of 3m or more. Though these remnants are usually cheaper starting from 1.50€, many of the fabrics were sold in Marché St Pierre and Tissus Reine.
As I am still in the midst of unpacking, I have no pictures of my Parisien loots to boast. They will come soon!
I had the opportunity to visit Strasbourg over the free weekend. It is a very beautiful town and houses a very beautiful historical centre – the Grande Île – which was the first city centre to be classified entirely as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (Wikipedia, 2012).
One of the attractions of the historical centre is la magnifique Notre-Dame Cathédrale of Strasbourg. There are also many cafés and salon de thé around the cathedral where you can chill during the afternoon. And we did just that – ice cream and limonade on a hot afternoon!
Before we left the hotel room, we found out from the provided travel mag that Strasbourg is well-known for their gingerbread and traditional cookies. We located a few of such speciality shop had ours from Coco LM, located at rue du Dôme. You can either purchase the pre-packed or mix and match your favourite flavours, which they charge by weight.
Besides the main city centre, we made a trip to the very scenic La Petite France, just south of the Grande Île where the Île river winds through half timbered townhouses. It is one of the prettiest sights in France, so far! La Petite France also reminds me of Beauty and the Beast. Could this be the poor provincial town where Belle came from?
While making our way to La Petite France from the main town/shopping area, I came across La Droguerie, a sewer’s/knitter’s heaven! They are well stocked with a variety of Liberty prints (both by metres and fat quarters), accessories parts, yarns, buttons and other notions. I’m not too sure of it is cheaper to get Liberty prints in France but those prints which I fancy were from 20€. Liberty bias tapes are also available at 2€/metre as well!
I spent a while in the store but walked out empty handed. Liberty prints were out of my budget (but now I regret not splurging on just 1 metre), and the notions didn’t catch my eye. After some googling, I found out that La Drouguerie has a few stores across France, including Paris and other major cities. For sewing and knitting fanatics who are planning to visit France or happen to be in France, you may like to check out them out!
Ever since I learned how to sew, fabric shop is one of the first items on my to-find-out list every time I travel. My first overseas purchase was in Muar, Malaysia, which is well known for their fabric shops. Then was Kluang and Hanoi, both of which houses their respective fabric shop and market. This trip to Europe was no exception.
I found quite a number of shops in Berlin, of which I only manage to visit Kumasch. It is owned by a Turkish and the shop owner/assistant does not speak English. I am not very well-versed with the various fabric names and types in German so I tell them apart by the labels on each roll of fabric and touch. You can ask the shop keeper the cost by using the calculator. I didn’t buy anything because nothing catches my eye and the fabrics are really expensive. Taxes on non-food products in Europe are as high as 19% which eventually translate to high retail prices.
Fabric shopping in Troyes is slightly more exciting because it is slightly more affordable and the shop is much larger. There is only one fabric boutique in Troyes, Ellen Décoration. Besides fabric, they also retail upholstery fabrics, trims and such. They have a grand total of 4 shops, each of which is a specialty store of the variety of items they offer. All located near each other. A point to note: the sales assistances do not speak English so please arm yourselves with basic french vocabulary about fabrics!
I was rather disappointed by the selection of dentelle they offer because it looked otherwise on their website. Despite so, they are quite well stocked with a variety of fabrics. After some digging through every single roll and much contemplation, I finally decided on a piece of à la impressionist silk and a high fashion Dior number which was well-hidden in basket full of high fashion fabric at the back of the store. I also bought lots of buttons to add on to my collection. Too pretty to resist!
I hope to check out the fabric district in Paris during my final weekend before I head home. Bonne chance to me!
Bonjour de Troyes!
I did not speak much about this trip to Europe prior to this and to cut the story short, I was accepted for a 4-week exchange in Troyes (France) and was in Berlin before the exchange. The Champs De Mars skirt did work after all!
My time in Berlin was spent catching up with a dear friend. I joined a free walking tour and explored most of the city on my own. Berlin is safe and easy to get around. Just grab a copy of their Bahn map. Berliners are also very friendly if you need help with directions. If you are in Berlin or planning to visit during summer, please drop by the Britzer Garten. It was still cold when I was there and some gardens were not in full bloom yet. They should be when it turns warmer and I’m sure it will be beautiful. It also host a large field of blooming tulips. Besides Berlin, I also visited Potsdam and Leipzig. They are two small towns, each with their own character.
Potsdam is like Haji Lane amplified which boasts of many boutique in the Holland Quarters. The city center leading to the Sans Soucci Park is packed with lots of shops and I was very distracted while making my way to the Schloss Sanssouci. The schloss is situated in the gigantic park of the same name. The main stretch of road that brings you to all, if not most, of the attractions and palaces is 2km long, with the Neues Palais right inside. It is a good work out and please arm yourselves with a good pair of walking shoes, shades and a hat!
Being the hometown of J.S Bach and other music composers like Mendelssohn and Schumann, Leipzig is worth a day trip if you are interested in visiting the haus and museums of these composers. It is just slightly less than 3hrs away from Berlin by train and has a comprehensive music trail which covers most of the city centre and musical attractions. It was such a pity that we discovered it late and had no time to cover the entire trail.
Then it was to Paris! Except for the fact that there were dog poo every 10 steps I take, Paris est belle! I was there for a half a day before going to Troyes and was back to Paris for a cultural weekend tour organized by the school. So far my encounters with the parisiens were still pretty alright. Maybe I didn’t interact enough. I met a very friendly waiter at Esmerald, a cafe near the back of Notre Dame. He had a huge sense of humour and offered to take group photos for us. During the Paris weekend, we visited the main attractions like the La Cathédrale Notre-Dame, Musée d’Orsay, Tulleries Jardin, Musée du Lourve, Champs Elysees, Arch de Triomphe and La Tour Eiffel. I have yet to take a decent picture of/with Eiffel and I hope to be able to do so during my last weekend before I fly back. As much as I really enjoyed the sights and sceneries of Paris, Paris n’est pas compléter sans vous.
Besides doing all the touristy stuff, I also had the opportunity to catch Round 4 of Roland Garros. Not only that but also watch Roger Federer!!! play live. It was such a pity that I had to leave halfway through the match to catch the train back to Troyes with the rest. For these opportunities, I really can’t thank the Lord enough!
Troyes, where the university of the exchange is located, is a quaint and quiet little town. The town centre is quaint, decorated with lots of beautiful traditional architecture. Shopping is also affordable, with H&M, a couple of Made-in-China shops, some high-street fashion stores and other French house brands on the main shopping street. Troyes also houses a couple of factory outlets off the city centre. Besides shopping, the next biggest attraction of the town centre is the boulangeries and pâtisseries! Pick any one and you are sure to find awesome possum bread, especially baguette and pastries. Oh and not to mention that Troyes is also home of Ellen Décoration which I will write more about in the next post!
Taking away all the excitement in the town centre, the area around the university and where I stay is dead quiet. Troyes is a small town to begin with. I shan’t go into the demographics but the only interesting place in the entire town is the town centre. Having lived in the city all my life, it took me quite a while to get use to la vie Troyesien. For the first few days, the only form of entertainment was wifi, which can be unreliable at times. It is still unreliable at the dorms. Imagine how depressed we were. First world problems! Then we had to adjust ourselves to academic life and working with non-Singaporean team-mates. I’m still getting used to the terms learned in the Project Management class. It’s all common sense embedded within cheem-sounding theories and methods. History, though dry, is informative and good for general knowledge. The exchange has been awesome so far with pleasant company. While I can’t wait to fly home, I don’t want my time in Europe to end at the same time!
Hello world! I’m back from my mighty holiday at Nepal! It has been an experience of a life time: endless trekking for 5-6 days, freezing my butt off, powder bathing (there’s either no hot water or it’s too cold to shower), seeing and smelling lots of yak shit along the way, drinking lots of TEA (YAY!), collecting rock samples, amazing scenery and lots more! We were also stranded at Lukla for a day which made us missed our flight to SG and Jarkarta. This leads to another exciting story of how we got back to SG. Now it’s time for the part of travelling which I hate: unpacking!!!
I’m lagging behind for Project MNS. Skirt #2 took me two weeks (I was busy packing and running errands for my trip) and it is still not completed! There’s also a couple of Christmas parities/dinners to attend this week. Oh bless me with time and less procrastination!
Till the next skirt!
Having heard so much about the price of fabric in Hanoi, I finally had the chance to visit the Chợ Hôm in June. Though it is more commonly known as the fabric market in Hanoi, it also has a fairly large wet market at the first floor. Shopping at Chợ Hôm is insane: everything (including chiffon, jersey and stin) starts from SGD3!!!! You don’t have to think much about the yardage when you buy. The only difficulty I had was with the width. I am so used to inches while they calculate in metres. Almost all the fabrics are 60″ wide and above.
Unlike fabric shopping in Singapore, all the fabrics are folded very neatly and piled on top of each other. Though it is rather troublesome to view and feel the fabrics, the stall owners are rather friendly, so you just have to tell him which ones you want to see and they will gladly take it down for you.
Since it is the summer in Hanoi, the stalls are quite well stocked with summer fabrics, mostly cotton and chiffon, t-shirt material and such. They have lots of floral prints too! And yup, here’s all my loots!
What I like about Chợ Hôm:
1. The price!!!
2. The variety of prints they have (as I don’t see them in Singapore)
3. Friendly service (some, not all)
What I don’t like about Chợ Hôm:
1. It is tightly packed place with limited walking space
2. It can be quite warm
3. The fabrics are kinda dirty – very dusty kind of dirty
I would love to visit Hanoi again, just to shop at Chợ Hôm!