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A Rough Guide to (budget) Fabric Shopping in Montmartre, Paris

October 9, 2010

I actually intended to write this just after I’d been to Paris (which was a little while ago now) as a guide to others who might be heading that way themselves.  I went to Paris with the express intent of indulging myself in a little fabric shopping with some of my savings. My intention was to buy as much fabric as I could possibly carry back and to not skimp on the quality or on the prices. However, once I was actually there my guilt-o-meter kicked in and I found I couldn’t quite bring myself to splurge as much as I wanted. Nevertheless, I didn’t skimp on the amount that I bought (or indeed, on the shops that I visited…) so I thought I’d share my experiences here.

Before I left I searched the internet – albeit briefly – to see what I could find. Two of the most useful resources for addresses and a little information are here at SewStylish and here at FuzzyGalore.biz (although this one is slightly harder to follow).

Whilst these two pages are useful in themselves I thought I’d help out a little with a post of my own experiences in the hopes they will be useful!

The majority of fabric (“tissus”) shops I visited were in Montmartre, at the foot of the Sacre Coeur, mostly due to time constraints. When buying fabric in Paris, make sure you pay attention to the windows and doors as “vente en gros” means wholesale only, and they will not sell retail – don’t even try! Look for “vente en detail” when shopping as this means they are open for retail customers as well.  All of the shops I saw in Montmartre were, to be honest, “vente au detail” and the majority of the vendors spoke a little English, which was helpful for those more specific things

One other thing to mention – and this is how I ended up buying almost all my fabric – is that there are lots of shops selling “coupons” – remnants. These are usually around three metres and are priced very cheaply. These shops are perfect if your French isn’t great or you’re self conscious about asking for fabric in the other big shops. The two biggest in Montmartre – Marché St. Pierre and Tissus Reine have their own small remnant shops packed to the brim with bargains. The Coupons de Marché St. Pierre is where I bought three metres each of black cotton, tartan wool, crepe back satin, silk and two different chiffons for around 110euros.

Marché st. Pierre

Opening hours Monday – Friday 10am – 6:30pm; Saturday10am – 7pm.

The Marché st. Pierre is, without a doubt, one of the biggest and well stocked fabric stores I have ever been in. I could’ve spent hours upon hours in there, if I’d had the time. I can’t even describe how many different patterns and types of fabric I saw in there, so the best thing to do is to direct you to their website. Make sure you check out the pictures and descriptions from each floor. It’s astounding, and it’s not even all that it contains. If you only go to one place for fabric in Paris, go to this one. For the experience alone. (As an aside, this shop made me pine for somewhere similar in the UK. Does anyone know of anywhere like it?) I wish I’d known at the time, but it appears that they will also send out your fabrics to you, at your own expense.

Tissus Reine

Opening hours: Monday 2pm – 6:30pm; Wednesday – Friday 9:30aqm – 6:30pm; Saturday 9:45am – 7pm

Tissus reine is literally across the street from Marché st. Pierre, as is its remnants store. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to look around in here as much as I would’ve liked. Mostly, because it was closed on the day I had most time. Again, this is a fantastically huge fabric store. Have a look on their website for more info.

Moline


Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 9:45am – 7pm

Moline, dotted around Montmartre, is one brand – if you will – with a number of different shops under the same name. (If anyone’s ever been to Liverpool, you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s like Rapid) You’ll find these dotted all along rue d’Orsel and surrounds all selling different bits and pieces. Again, there is a “coupons” shop selling beautiful remnants. For those of you looking for chiffon, there seemed to be a plethora of varieties in here. Again, all very reasonably priced. The habedashers, just down the hill to the right of Marche St Pierre, sells an amazing array of buttons, ribbons and quilting fabrics (shown in the picture above). It’s truly beautiful to look at.

If you wander around the backstreets around these two shops you will come across many other smaller fabric shops. I didn’t have time to go into any of these, unfortunately, but they look fascinating. It looked like it would be more, let’s say, trying in these shops (I would like looking around them to looking in T.K. Maxx in the Christmas sales) as everything was rammed in together. However, if you’re after a bargain this is where you’ll find it. And if you have the patience and perseverance you’ll come away with a bargain.

Habedashers also have a fair amount of shops in the vicinity – I suppose it goes with the territory. The Marché st. Pierre has its own habedashers just to the right of the picture above, and there are numerous little crafting and wool shops around as well. All of them are worth a look.

There is another gorgeous little shop called Dam Boutons on Rue d’Orsel, heading west towards  Rue des Martyrs you will spot, on your right, selling buttons and ribbons. Again, well worth a visit, especially if you want something a little left-of-centre or something unique.

My main advice to someone going to Paris with the express intent of spending some of their time purchasing fabrics and associated paraphenalia would be to dedicate a whole day to it. Or at least a substantial amount of it. There are numerous little coffee shops, cafes and restuarants around to rest your weary feet. Also, it’s useful to spend a little time when you go into each shop seeing how it works – how to ask for fabric, how to pay etc. Most shops appeared to be slight different. It is also considered polite to say “bonjour monsieur/madam” on entering and “merci monsieur/madam” on leaving.

If you’re reading this and you’re heading to Paris soon, leave us a comment so we can see what you’ve purchased!

38 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2011 9:19 pm

    Thanks for this little tour! I am headed to Paris next week and am trying to put together my map of fabric shops. I’ll be sure to report back what I found.

  2. Marianne permalink
    July 6, 2012 4:27 pm

    Thank you for your helpful site!
    Whie searching the internet and planning my upcoming trip, I found this spot near the Louvre to sharpen my eye and awake the senses before going to Montmarte for fabric shopping.

    http://www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/english-439/mode-et-textile-740/

    . It has a collection of period costumes from the 18th century as well as examples from the following designers : Balenciaga Paris, Christian Lacroix,, Elsa Schiaparelli, Jean Paul Gaultier, Madeleine Vionnet,, Valentino, and so much more! Navigate around the website for a great amount of information.

    Have to take advantage of what Paris has to offer!

    Thank you –

  3. lesmisloony permalink
    August 13, 2012 11:37 am

    Hi, thanks so much for posting this! I’m an American who’s been living in Paris for two years now, and for the first time I need to buy some fabric. Everyone told me about the Marché St Pierre but I’m one of those people gets gets kind of anxious before interacting with shopkeeper types, especially in my awkward French, so this article helped me feel a little more confident about going down there and knowing what to look for. I had no idea what “coupons” mean (I assumed it was the same as the English) and wow, that really helps! Thanks again!

    • August 14, 2012 6:18 pm

      Aw, no problem! I’m glad it was useful to you. Did you get anything nice? Which shops did you visit?

  4. Joyce permalink
    September 27, 2012 10:29 pm

    I’m leaving for Paris at the end of October. I’m mainly interesting in quilting fabric, but will also have a look at fashion fabric. Thank you for your hints. If you know of any quilting (cottons) fabric stores in this area…I’d love to know about them. Thank You !!

    • October 4, 2012 6:38 pm

      Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, Joyce. I have no excuses apart from my sieve of a brain!

      The Marché st. Pierre has a massive selection on quilting cottons. If memory serves they are on the first floor. There’s another little shop on down that street as well which does fat quarters and haberdashery. I’ve forgotten what it’s called, sadly!

      Good luck with you search and enjoy your holiday! Be sure to update us on what you buy.

      Julia

  5. October 17, 2012 11:42 pm

    I stumbled across this fabric precinct in November 2010, much to my delight! I bought some seriously good quality wool, cotton and ribbons; a far better array of good-value delights than I could possibly ever find in Australia! I do love saying “I bought that in Paris!”

    • October 20, 2012 4:03 pm

      Me too! Some of it I’m still too scared to cut into though. I bought a beautiful deep purple crepe backed satin that I don’t want to use! Slightly defeats the point. I’m hoping to use it for a formal dress for my work Christmas party though. If I get time to sew anything!

  6. February 10, 2013 11:36 am

    Hi there, I’ve stumbled across this blog when searching for fabric shops in Paris in google! I’m a printed textile student at Loughborough university and I’m going to Paris next week…I am now very excited to purchase some beautiful fabrics which I can use for my final degree show! Thanks for the information you’ve provided on here it is very helpful. As Anna Bourke said above…super excited to be able to say yes I bought this in paris darling…x

    • February 18, 2013 10:32 am

      Come back and tell us what you got! I just used my first bit of Paris fabric to make a black peony dress for work. It makes me smile every time i wear it. Have fun!

  7. LisaCarv permalink
    May 15, 2013 11:06 am

    Just got back from Paris yesterday. I live in The Netherlands and took the train in the morning and returned in the evening with loads of stuff! Marche St. Pierre Dreyfuss had the best prices for Tafeta and velvet and the likes I thought and found every type of fabric I was looking for in every imaginable color. In the smaller stores I also found feathers, collars (similar as on HC catwalks!), lace, tule, leather, fur (real & fake) and delicate art deco buttons with stones. Here is what I did: I went to all the stores all morning and looked at prices and identified the things I was looking for. Then I sat down for lunch (by myself!) and made a list of the purchases I wanted to make and went and bought the stuff after lunch. This worked well because I did not want to spend my budget and see something I absolutely needed to have after it was too late, and also, when ordering fabric in the stores I did not waste time being indecisive, etc. Better for the clerks! A wonderful experience and it is lovely to know that all that fashion that we see, we can make because the ingredients are available! A little like cooking…it starts with the ingredients. 🙂

  8. LisaCarv permalink
    May 15, 2013 12:40 pm

    Forgot to post this earlier. This shop has all kinds of wonderful things. I bought feathers here. they have a website and will ship to anywhere I believe.

    http://www.mercerie-ladentelliere.com/

  9. Mpume permalink
    May 16, 2013 8:55 pm

    Thank you so much for this valuable information, I’m headed for Paris in June, and I have no doubt this will come handy. Will share my experience on my return. Mpume.

  10. August 30, 2013 12:07 pm

    Thank you for writing this – Ill be in Paris in a few weeks and will definitely be referring back to your tips.

  11. Maureen permalink
    November 3, 2013 10:48 pm

    I stumbled upon your blog when looking for the st Pierre website. Thank you for your helpful tips. To say I was like a kid in a sweetshop is no exageration. I bought 3 metres of printed wool jersey for €14, beautiful tweed was€24 for 3 metres both from the coupon shop. I have a holiday home 2 1/2 hours from Paris and intend to return in the spring with a larger suitcase.

  12. Lindsey permalink
    February 9, 2014 3:55 pm

    Thanks so much for these tips, I visited Paris yesterday and didn’t leave nearly enough time to visit all of the stores but Reine was AMAZING – I have never seen so much fabric in one store – I also visited one next door – super cheap – everything was cut into 3m lengths – I got 3m of printed silk chiffon for €29!! Have to go back with more time!

  13. Michelle permalink
    March 17, 2014 12:33 pm

    I’m going to Paris in September and super excited about the stores mentioned above I plan on at least 1whole day minimum to add to my stash my husband thinks I’m nuts wanting to travel from sydney Australia to Paris to purchase fabric

  14. Allie permalink
    March 19, 2014 6:55 am

    I will be in Paris in July, and was wondering if anyone could tell me where the best place to look for lace and tulle might be. I’d love to be able to tell everyone that the material for my wedding veil came from Paris!

  15. docgorgeous permalink
    June 1, 2014 2:02 pm

    Hi there,
    I came across your blog while looking for fabric shopping in paris and was really impressed!
    May i know if the fabric stores (especially marche st pierre ) is open in august?
    Thanks a zillion

  16. Karen permalink
    June 8, 2014 6:52 am

    Im going to Paris early August and like Allie, would love to know the best places to purchase bridal lace.

  17. ChengKuan Teoh permalink
    June 20, 2014 12:24 am

    It’s my last day in Paris and I only had about 2 hours to spend in Montmartre but it was the best experience. I found some fat quarters at Moline for 1€/piece in the bargain bin(regular price is 2€/piece. The whole place was just wonderful! So many shops …. So little time! There are some really good bargains like 3 metres for 10€ or even 5€, depending on what you’re looking for. Marche St. Pierre, Tissus Reine are 2 of the bigger shops. For those looking for fat quarters, Moline and Moline Merceries has very good selections although the latter is rather expensive. Tissus Reine has a good selection of Liberty fabric, while Marche St. Pierre has an equally good selection of various brands of fabric. I wish I had more time to spend here. Hopefully I might have an opportunity to visit Paris again, and next time, devote at least a whole day at this fantastic textile haven. 😄

  18. Sharon permalink
    July 7, 2014 6:00 pm

    Wow, thank you for this. I had such a great time thanks to your excellent info – like giving an elephant strawberries basically. :0) Sharon. Devon UK.

  19. August 26, 2014 8:47 am

    This is why I love the internet! I googled “where is the best place to buy fabric in Paris?” and this was the first hit. Your blogpost answered all my questions, and the comments were helpful too. I’m off to Paris and Montmartre Sep 19th – so excited to visits the shops you mentioned!

  20. March 22, 2015 9:34 am

    So glad I can across your article, going fabric shopping with my 10yr old twins to Paris on Thursday as a birthday treat, sounds like I may need to take a little more money than intended.

  21. Kay permalink
    June 24, 2015 8:26 am

    Thanks for your instructions, am staying in Montmartre now and am heading out for a little fabric shopping after mailing stuff home. I have to admit books and fabrics are my drugs of choice and can’t wait to see what is here

  22. Charlotte permalink
    September 1, 2015 9:43 am

    Thanks for this blog! Love it! Heading to Paris soon and am going to check out the fabric stores listed above. Many thanks!

  23. Margaret permalink
    September 12, 2015 11:46 pm

    Many thanks for your suggestions and information on fabric shopping in Paris. We went the today in the pouring rain and had so much fun…found dead a couple of nice price Ted knit jerseys in the coupon area for 3 meters for 5 euros! Then took a break for lunch at Ronsards, and even sat at a table facing the lovely Sacre Coeur. Went back feeling better and my husband treated me to a very pretty silk chiffon and a nice knit jersey at Reine. It’s such a great area to wander around during and sightsee that even everyone gets to do something they like.

  24. October 19, 2015 5:00 pm

    I did not see this artile before going to Psris, but I did find this area you speak of. it was wonderful. We bought wool for a cape,lace Liberty cottons and some trims. I wish we had more time, but we did not so made the most of it. Fabric bliss.

  25. Fransisca permalink
    November 30, 2015 11:37 am

    Halli..I would like to buy the original French lace from the shops u mentioned.. Do u think its possible?

  26. Michelle permalink
    January 19, 2016 10:01 pm

    Any thoughts as to where you can find oilcloth?

  27. Anne permalink
    March 2, 2016 11:51 am

    Brilliant love it but my other half won’t
    😀❤️

  28. Alexandra Candia permalink
    December 9, 2016 8:47 pm

    Does anyone know whether these shops will be open between the Christmas and New Years holidays?

  29. Nancy permalink
    February 22, 2017 12:52 am

    As a quilter from California, I wonder how much of the fabric is cotton & suitable for quilts?
    I was thinking of going to Montmartre; now it’s definite! Thanks, Nancy

  30. Roberta permalink
    August 25, 2017 12:22 am

    Hello leaving for Paris Sept 19, 2017..thanks for all your help.

Trackbacks

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  3. Paris fabric shopping (in 6 hours).. | Over on Kings Drive

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