Discovering where the wholesale fabric district in Paris was by sheer chance. I found this by just walking and walking around, after visiting the Sacré Coeur. The goods sold here are all closeout fabrics. When you see something you like, buy it as there is no telling if it will still be available when you decide to come back.
Here's a shopping tip. Bring swatches of cloth if you plan to do any matching, so as not to buy the wrong item, which cannot be returned.
Just below the Sacré Coeur Cathedrale in Montmartre, at the foot of the hill, is the district that has been dedicated for the wholesale of fabric and other sewing notions. To go there, I take metro line 2, exit on Anvers,...
and go up the street, rue Steinkurque, towards the merry-go-round, and make a right as soon as you are by the cathedral gardens. Don't get tempted to gamble when you pass by the little tables set up in the middle of the street, by noontime. Just keep on going. By the way, the souvenir items on this street are cheaper by 25% to 40%.
Once you get to Place de Marche St. Pierre, you will find many stores selling all that you would need to finish a fashion item, furnishings for your house, or a craft project.
Now in the stores are the spring and summer fabrics, and whatever is left of the fall/winter fabrics are mostly discounted.
The first building to the right is REINE - it has four floors to house all the different fabrics, accessories, and othe goods. I find it to be the best organized and best laid-out store, with three-foot-tall mannequins on the tables, garbed in the latest fashionable style, using the current fabrics of the season.
When in France, do as the French do. Speak French - the right accent is important; or, use your eyes to figure out how things are done, then, put your charade skills to work to get your order in. Most of the people working in these stores only speak French. Also, bring a map with you, or use the GPS on your cell phone, to find your way.
Here is a rough translation of what to expect in the different floors:
3 For the Home: Sheer fabric - Bedsheets
2 For the Home: Furnishing - Decoration
1 Haberdashery - Trimmings - Patterns - Ready made
RdC - Rez de Chaussée (ground floor) For Clothing: Silk - Cotton - Wool
On the ground floor (RdC): French lace, beaded lace, crepes, silk satins, satin charmeuse, organzas, brocades, taffetta, wool blends and tulle for the bridal collection;...
European and imported textiles: solid and printed-patterned fabrics using cotton, silk, linen, and other man-made fibers, for spring and summer.
Breathable fabrics are in demand and they are the ones made from natural fibers. Eyelets, seersuckers, denims, poplins, twills, madras are back.
Sheer fabrics are popular this time. Silk chiffon, iridescent chiffon, silk organza, rayon/nylon chiffon, voile were used in the haute couture collections.
On the1st floor: in-house mercerie department - haberdashery and curtain/drape materials.
On the 2nd floor, upholstery materials
LES COUPONS DE SAINT PIERRE - "Coupons" are remnants or pre-cut fabrics. They are sold as-is and cannot be cut further. Everything sold in this store is about three meters and up.
In a table that has been rummaged through, fabrics 3 meters in lengh are priced at 10 Euros a piece. The prices inside the store vary by sections.
MARCHE SAINT-PIERRE is located on 2 rue Charles Nodier. It is a whole building dedicated to selling all types of fabrics and accesories. I rate it as the biggest store in this area, carrying the most extensive variety of goods, and even some rare imports.
Rez de Chaussée - clothing materials. Shown here is the African Collection. On the wall are woven fabrics made of natural-straw like fibers.
The procedure when buying: 1) choose your fabric 2) wait for comeone to come over to cut it for you, or you need to ask someone on the floor to come and help you. 3) A piece of paper is stapled to your fabric. Take it to the cashier and pay.
What to expect as you climb up...
white linens, bedsheets, embroidery supplies, pillows, bolsters, duvets, towels
sheer curtain and other lightweight drapery materials
heavy drapery and upholstery material (in view are the French toile patterns)
drape materials made of cotton, cotton/polyester blends, polyester blends
For that rich look, a touch of Versailles - silky finished, textured and embroidered drapery/upholstery materials
Cotton chintz for bedcovers, quilts and draperies - these designs were inspired by the Indian cotton chintz that the Dutch and the Portuguese were bringing into Europe in the 1600s.
On the top floor are some art material supplies. You can buy canvass, in different grades, by the meter for all the painting and crafting you will be doing.
MERCERIE Saint Pierre - on the corner of Place Saint-Pierre and rue Livingstone, is a specialty store for haberdashery supplies: buttons, thread, ribbons; beads, trimmings and other items needed for sewing, chrocheting, knitting clothing and making some craft projects;...
and everything you need to make curtain/drape panels, including the tiebacks, rings or hooks, and rods to get them up.
Through many little streets, continue looking around. On rue d'Orseil, take the time to visit some stores that carry finished and unfinished goods that are whimsical.
belly dancing outfits for your class or a costume party
feather boa accessories for that glamorous, sophisticated look
Among other things, this store has a big variety of patches and buttons, at very reasonable prices.
fancy, colorful fabrics and accessories for any fashion or craft project
more stores carrying textiles for home furnishings
If you have time, do compare prices. Sometimes, you can make a deal with the smaller stores.
How about making a project? All you need to get started is to have an idea. Next, is how to make it. Get all the materials needed all ready. Then, make it. Voila, le projet est terminé!