Brave your way through the foot of the butte Montmartre, past the square Louise-Michel and you’ll find yourself surrounded, first by a horde of tourists enjoying the magnificent view of the Sacré-Coeur and then suddenly wading through a tangled mess of haberdasheries.
If you fancy yourself a bit of a couturier (or know someone who is), there is no better place in Paris to bargain for your needs. The main street is dominated by the 6-storey original marché Dreyfus, which will first catch your eye, but then you will notice that the baskets set out in front of all its surrounding shops are filled with fabrics and every imaginable material trimming under the sun.
Different shops specialise in different things; Au Bonheur des Dames is ‘designer quality’, Tissus Reine has a huge range of patterned fabrics, including Liberty prints, and Mercerie Saint-Pierre meets all your button, fastening and crafting needs.
I find that the shops selling “coupons” or cut-offs are the most interesting, as you’ll find delicate silks, high thread count cottons and colourful leathers galore for a snippet of their usual retail price. Even those of you who do not have a creative streak, in the larger stores you’ll find towels, bathrobes, handkerchiefs that may take your fancy.
Take a break from the chaos and pop into Halle Saint Pierre for a coffee, to browse their bookshop or check out a small exhibition…