Are you a sewist visiting Paris? You’d be sorely mistaken if you were to miss a jaunt to the great Parisian fabric stores! Here’s my guide to fabric shopping in Paris.
Between COVID and parenthood it’s been a long (long!) time since I was last in a foreign city with great fabric stores, so on a recent weekend jaunt to Paris I couldn’t resist a quick peruse of some of the city’s fabric store highlights.
I barely scratched the surface of what’s available – Paris really is a fashion city! – but I managed to do a good trip around one of the main fabric store areas, Montmartre, as well as visit a new store to me that’s now an absolute favourite. Read on for more, including Paris fabric store addresses and opening hours…
Fabric shopping in Montmartre, Paris
Even though my trip was with a non-sewing friend, when I was put in charge of finding accommodation, I decided to base us in Montmartre – which just so happens to be an area with a concentration of fabric stores… what a coincidence, no?! If you’re interested, I highly recommend the Best Western Plus Marcel Ayme – it’s incredible value, seems more like a boutique hotel than a chain, and well situated just out of the most touristy bit of Montmartre. Plus, there’s an amazing croquante store next door…
Montmartre has been known for centuries as a center of bohemian arts, the location of the Sacre Coeur and Moulin Rouge, and innumerable cafes, cobbled streets. It’s a great place to stay even if you’re not a fabric shopper, but if you are, it’s even better.
The fabric shops in Montmartre are all around the base of the Sacre Coeur, and they’re conveniently all in the same set of streets – mostly on Pl. Saint-Pierre, Rue d’Orsel, Rue Charles Nodier and Rue Pierre Picard. The hours are a little erratic so it’s good to check before you head off, but broadly speaking most (if not all) are closed on Sundays, but the big ones are open at least part of the day on Saturday.
There are two main types of stores in this area: the “coupon” shops, and the regular ones (for want of a better description!). The regular stores, like Tissus Reines and Marche Saint Pierre are the type that you’re probably used to, with lots of fabrics on bolts, where the shop assistants cut your fabric for you. The “coupon” stores exclusively sell pre-cut fabric, mostly in 2 to 3 meter lengths, and they can be a real place for bargains, although you may have to dig quite a bit to find your treasures.
I started my day at Tissus Reines, which is my favourite store in the area, and a traditional-style store where fabric is sold by the metre.
3-5, Place St Pierre,
Métro Anvers / Abbesses
Tel : +33 (0)1 46 06 02 31
Opening hours (correct as of July 2022):
Monday 1.30pm – 6pm
Tuesday to Friday 10am – 6pm
Saturday 10am – 6.45 pm
Tissus Reines is a really lovely, upscale fabric store, with multiple floors dedicated to garment fabric as well as upholstery. One charming feature are these mini-mannequins all over the store with scaled down outfits made from the fabric for sale:
Tissus Reines has a wide variety of garment fabrics, and a particularly beautiful range of printed silks, which I find myself irresistibly drawn to every time I visit. There are tons of cottons, broderie anglaise (I picked some up!), a decent range of jersey, as well as more novelty fabrics like brocades and pre-pleated viscose.
If you want to buy some fabric, you’ll need to flag down one of the shop assistants, and they’ll cut it right there at the fabric table!
Upstairs, there is a pattern section which is almost entirely big4 patterns, as well as a large home dec department.
Come out of Tissus Reines and straight in front of you, taking up almost an entire city block, is megastore Marche Saint-Pierre.
2 rue Charles Nodier
Tel +33 01 46 06 92 25
Opening hours (accurate as of July 22)
Monday – Friday: 10am – 6.30pm
Saturday: 10am – 7pm
Marche Saint-Pierre mostly sells fabric by the metre, although they have coupons too, and it’s enoooormous. There are 5 floors, and they have a huge range of different types of fabric, including a lot of specialty types. In my personal opinion it’s not quite as upscale as Tissus Reines, but it’s totally worth checking out as there are lots of goodies available.
The thing that really strikes me at Marche Saint-Pierre is the number of unusual types of fabrics – and then surprisingly good selections of them. For instance, here’s a fantastic array of waffle cottons in tons of on-trend colours – I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in a store before! Your dream robe is just a few seams away…
They also sell finished-edged toweling by the meter. I’d never seen this for sale before, but when I mentioned it on my Instagram stories I got lots of people telling me what fans they are! You can use it to make absorbent robes, kids towels, towelling pants (?!?!) and more.
What would a Parisienne fabric store be without a bunch of Breton stripes?
And if you’re ever confused about exactly what knits are good for what garments… well you can make your leggings from this section right here.
Coupon stores in Paris
All around Tissue Reines and Marche Saint-Pierre are an array of coupon stores. Some of them specialize more in a specific area – for instance, they’ll have tons of African wax prints, or printed viscose. It’s a little like being at a thrift store as they get a bit messy and you have to dig through to find things, but there are plenty of bargains to be had. One downside is you are restricted to the pre-cut lengths (typically 2 or 3 metres) but the good news is that a lot of garments can be made with that, so as long as you’re not trying to make a ballgown, you’re probably fine.
Petit Pan, children’s fabric store in Paris
Just down the street is Petit Pan, a delightful kid’s store, which has a really pretty array of printed quilting cotton and also laminated canvas in bright colours. They also have pre-made goods like bags and clothes, which are lovely for gifts to take back home.
10 bis Rue Yvonne le Tac, 75018 Paris, France
Opening hours (correct as of July 22)
Monday to Saturday: 10.30am – 7.30pm
Sunday: 11.30am – 7.30pm
Fabric shopping in Quinze-Vingts, Paris
As I only had a short weekend trip, I didn’t venture too much outside Montmartre for fabric shopping. However, I did decide to try one place recommended to me by my friend Carmen, and I’m so glad I did!
Tissus Malhia Kent
Malhia Kent is a French fabric designer, who creates and sells fabric to fashion houses like Chanel, has a Ready to Wear line, and also, amazingly for we sewists, also sells her fabric by the metre to the general public at her store on Av. Daumesnil.
Tissus Malhia Kent
Viaduc des Arts, 19 Av. Daumesnil, 75012 Paris, France
+33 1 53 44 78 75
Opening hours (correct as of July 22)
Monday to Saturday: 10am – 2pm, 3pm – 6.45pm
The specialty of Malhia Kent is tweed and brocades, of the type you see in classic Chanel jackets and suits. The creativity and innovation is simply amazing! There are two floors of fabrics (make sure you pop downstairs), and as well as bolts which can be cut, there are also lots of off-cuts at discounted prices. The offcuts are truly offcuts which means they’re all weird shapes and sizes and in some cases haven’t even been squared off, but there are bargains to be had.
Some of the fabrics are positively avant-garde, like this one with very large floats. Practical? Perhaps not. Beautiful? Definitely!
There are also lots of more formal tweeds like these ones:
The regular fabric is almost all Euro 30 / meter which is also frankly a very good price – the equivalent fabric in the USA is regularly sold for $150+/yard! I picked up a gorgeous navy/pink/orange tweed that has been woven through with ribbons and embroidery thread and can’t wait to make myself the fanciest Kimball bomber jacket of all time…
So that’s a little review of my time in Paris and a trek around some of the highlights of the Paris fabric store scene! There are many, many other stores in Paris, and also another store-heavy district, Le Sentier, that I didn’t get to, but you can find a map of many of them here: 2019 Paris Sewcial Fabric Store Map (note this is from 2019 and so may not be totally up to date – please check before you visit). I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you have any other Paris recommendations, leave a comment below!
Interested in other fabric store guides? Check these out: