- store: La Droguerie
- address: (Paris) 9 et 11 rue du Jour 75001 PARIS
(Bordeaux) 8 place Puy-Paulin 33000 BORDEAUX
- website: www.ladroguerie.com
- date of visit: July & August, 2009
This summer, while I was in France, I got the chance to visit 2 different stores of La Droguerie (there are 10 stores in France, as well as one in Japan). Visiting La Droguerie was an interesting experience, not only because it was a new yarn shop for me, but also because the focus of yarn shops is slightly different in France than in America.
I have to admit, I forgot to take a photo. I visited the Bordeaux store twice, and kept telling myself, “I’ll take the photo when I visit the Paris store”. Well, I barely found the Paris store, and after all the walking, I just forgot. I have no interesting excuse. But fortunately for me, Edina at Tongue in Beak let me borrow her photo of La Droguerie in Paris. Phew, now you know what it looks like! (by the way, if you’re in Paris and want to check out other craft-y stores, Edina has found some really great ones… and she sneaked a couple pix of the inside of La Droguerie!)
Anyway, one interesting feature of yarn stores in France is that they are more likely to be a yarn company than here in America. That is, La Droguerie has its own yarns, and publishes its own patterns. Bergere de France has stores in France, as well as Phildar. These are stores that only sell the patterns and yarns from the one brand. I’ve never seen a shop like that in America. Our yarn stores are independent stores, that order yarn from various companies. These types of stores exist in France as well, but La Droguerie is not one of them. As a result, stores like La Droguerie typically carry about 20 yarns.
However, La Droguerie is much more than a ‘yarn store’ (surprising fact number 2). It’s like a craft store. They carry yarn and patterns, but also quilting fabric and lots of buttons, beads and jewelery-making supplies. It really was amazing. I purchased a really interesting bead to feature in a necklace, and it was clear that much of their business came from these non-yarn items.
Another thing about the store that was surprising for me is that you do not (I repeat, do not) pick up items off of the shelf and then go wait in line (which is the standard American shopping experience). In La Droguerie, you wait for a sales associate to assist you, and then she walks around the store with you, picking up the items for you. For example, all of the buttons/beads are arranged in little jars, and you are not permitted to open the jars (In fact, I think picking up a jar to get a close look at the contents is frowned upon). You wait for your sales assistant to come to you, and you have her pick the item out of the jar. You do all of your shopping this way, and then she rings you up at the register. The system has a few interesting repercussions. It takes (in the 3 times I went) about 20 minutes until a sales person is available to help you. Because it takes so long to procure a person, the customers take their time with the staff member, because they don’t want to forget an item and have to start over again. Therefore, it’s not your ‘stop in and get some quick yarn’ kind of place (although, nothing in France is, so that’s not really a surprise).
Another interesting observation: the French don’t seem too into needles. The knitting needles were hidden in a corner, and were mostly either wooden straights, or plastic circular needles. I think of my needles as the most important tool that I have, and I spend money to have nice ones. Not so much in France. Perhaps this is a result of the fact that La Droguerie sells mostly its own brand of product, so they have little incentive to sell needles that are from other brands. I don’t know. But, it was certainly different!
The next time you’re in France, I definitely recommend stopping by. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d trade my local yarn stores for La Droguerie, but it was a really great place to visit!