Shopping in Paris
A lot of people go to Europe to hunt for glass beads, and
think that they have to go to the centers of bead production
to find beads, such as Jablonecs nad Nisou in Czech Republic,
or Neu Gablonz in Germany, or Venice, Italy. And while you can
find beads at these locations, usually it means buying directly
from the factories at enormous quantities and requires large
amounts of money. Leave that to the importers who specialize
in doing just that. Instead, head to the city that most of Europe
goes to when they need to buy beads in wholesale quantities,
or even just retail quantities, but need variety of many styles
and types: Paris, France.
Paris has two main ways of shopping for beads the bead
district and the flea market.
The bead district is located in the heart of Paris, in the
region of Les Halles, in the eastern side of the city, arrondisiment
3. It is about four blocks of streets situated within the garment
district, so you will find bead stores both retail and wholesale
sprinkled around clothing stores that have storefronts filled
with maybe only one style of dress or jacket, but boxes and boxes
filled with them, and workers pushing carts and dollies loaded
down with boxes going from street corner to trucks, loading and
unloading. Within the bead district is also the sex district,
and you will also see sex shops and video arcades, strip joints
and prostitutes everywhere.
Although I have not listed every wholesale business, these
are some of the bead businesses within this area. Most have both
a retail shop and a wholesale section for larger purchases.
- Perles Box: 1 Rue de Clairvoux, also Turbigo St
- Tout a Loisirs: 50 Rue des Archives
- Matiere Premiere: 12 Rue de Sevigne
- La Boite a Perles: 194 Rue Saint Denis
- Fried Freres: 13 Rue de Cairo
- Le Detail Quitue: 43 Rue Bobillot
- Gudule: 52 Rue de Richelieu
- Creez et Decorez: 31 Rue Victor Duruy
- La Drougerie: Rue de Temple.
- Vernot wire: 145 Street of the Temple
- Montplaisir Creation: 15 Street of the Fountains of the Temple,
Blgd C, 3rd floor.
These shops and warehouses will carry an assortment of glass
and stone beads, pearls, findings, buttons and trimmings. Some
you might find boring, but some you will find very exciting.
Fried Freres on Cairo St is a very exciting shop. The Fried brothers
started off in Vienna, Austria in 1894 as young 20 year olds,
and soon moved to Paris to be in the heart of the fashion industry.
They had offices in London and Gablonz during the height of their
business, but today there is only the Paris location.
Their main focus is German and Czech glass beads, but we found
an enormous section of old steel cuts and French seed beads,
including charlotte cuts. They have a nice museum of beautiful
steel cut tapestries and purses on display, and is worth visiting.
To visit their website, go to www.friedfreres.fr
Another shop that could be exciting but we found very frustrating
was La Drougerie on the Rue de Temple. This was a small shop
with a U shape of glass counters inside, and all the bead samples
are on sample cards under the counters. You have to be able to
communicate with the sales people(in French) and look at the
sample cards, then choose the beads to have pulled down from
shelves in the back. The store was crowded, we didnt feel
confident about trying to speak to a sales clerk and maybe just
waste their time, it just seemed such a complicated way of buying
beads. But they had a huge selection of what looked like great
old German glass beads.
The Flea market that most people think of when they do think
Paris flea markets is the Le Marche aux puces de Saint Ouen,
or more commonly Le Puces. There are three main flea markets
in Paris; Porte de Vanves, Porte de Montreuil and Le Puces in
Le Puces was inaugurated in 1885, and currently has over 2000
shops selling everything imaginable.
Le Puces is easy to get to by metro take line 4- exit
Porte de Clingnoncourt, and walk 2 blocks north past very busy
shops and small flea markets, until you reach the Marche Vernaison
Another choice is line 13 exit Garibaldi station.
Marche Vernaison Flea Market:
There you will find row after row of small narrow alleys with
roll up door storage shed like buildings. These are the shops
of the flea market- and you are about to enter a wonderworld
of antiques and stuff!
The bead store is on alley 1, stand 3. When you stumble upon
it, you will see tables filled with wonderful vintage Lucite
beads made in France, and tables of vintage German glass beads,
and tables of vintage French and Belgium seed beads and steel
cuts. When finally you look up from the array of beads to catch
your breath, you will meet the owners of the bead shop, a lovely
old couple in their 80s who dont speak a word of
English. But dont despair, because all their neighbors
in the surrounding booths were more than willing to come and
help them when we shut down the place to buy almost half the
inventory on display. The beads are loose in small bins on the
tables, and you buy by the scoop. Under the tables are boxes
filled with beads. Overhead were hanks and strands of beads.
This is an amazingly wonderful bead store.
Also within the le Puces flea market, in the Malassis market,
is another bead shop Les Perles d Anton on
142 Rue des Rosiers, stand 30. They have a phone # 01 40 10 95
49 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Within the flea market you will find not only beads but antique
beaded items steel cut purses, dresses, trim, lace, you
name it. Plan on spending the weekend there, you will need all
the time you can spare to see even a small section of it.
The flea market is open Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 7am to