Perles à Paris
February 16, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Paris, famed for its romance, museums, arts & culture, is also a treasure trove for bead – perles – hunting. We were in Paris for a few days last August and I was armed with a list of bead stores to visit but ended up only visiting two – La droguerie and Tout à Loisirs. I do not say this with disappointment. On the contrary, I am grateful for the patience of my husband who entertained my younger daughter while my older daughter, Lauryn and I spent several hours in each shop pouring over beads, making up our designs and trying to converse with amused shop assistants in broken French. There was so much to see and choose from that it was quite difficult to decide what to buy but it was bliss.
The first was La droguerie. This was located just a short walk across the park in La Halles. It looks deceptively small from the outside but is packed with all manner of crafting supplies – yarn, cloth, buttons, feathers and of course, beads. Rows and rows of jars, sitting on shelves and shelves, all filled with beads. It was a bead equivalent of a sweet shop. And just as in the old-fashion sweet shops, you have to be served. And that’s the down-side of this shop. Although we were 8th in the queue, it still took almost 40 minutes to get to front of the queue (this was on a Friday just before lunch). Fortunately, Lauryn and I took turns in the queue while the other had a good look round to decide what we wanted. When it was finally our turn, we were escorted around the store to make our selection. Apart from the wide variety of beads, La droguerie also offers a very good range of chains, clasps and charms in different finishes, so in spite of the long wait, it was worth the visit.
Our favourite was definitely Tout à Loisirs. It has an old world charm with its colour-themed alcoves and antique cabinets filled with trays of beads and charms. We spent some time just looking around. After our experience at La droguerie, we didn’t think we should be opening the cabinets and helping ourselves. On seeking help from the lovely lady who ran the store, we pleasantly discovered that we were free to pick what we wanted. She handed us bead design boards to use in store and were given mini old-fashion tin buckets to collect our pickings. She gave us the space we needed and seemed to know when to help with suggestions. We ended up spending almost three hours selecting and designing our jewellery – even my husband and younger daughter joined in although I didn’t realize what they were up to until later. But that’s another post.
I’m still beading from my Parisian haul but here are a few pieces I created on our return:
I loved the Murano twisted leaf pink glass beads with silver foil and flecks of colour. These and the round Venetian rose beads wrapped in foil dogaressa effect inspired me to create this double-strand “Rosé Bubbly” necklace.
This collection of hearts – Murano and Milleflori glass beads – are strung together with chains of heart links to create an opera length necklace.
I chose these beads for the irresistible translucent blues. These glass beads are a lovely weight and the antique brass chain has a delicate double weave.