Wednesday, August 8, 2007

F is for French craft/needlework stores

La Droguerie in Paris is a wonderful place. A small shop packed with all kinds of supplies for crafts. When you first walk through the door there are hanks of wool yarn of every color--ooo the purples--hanging along the walls, then a huge board with all kinds of buttons, jars of beads, rods full of ribbons and throughout; many different glass counters, each with treasures displayed within. Each counter was clustered with lots of chic Parisians discussing their projects with the staff. I felt very intimidated shopping, I have next to no French language skills beyond greetings and nicities and I didn't know exactly what I wanted--no project, per se. I was about to walk out after browsing timidly when my daughter tugged on my sleeve. "We could point at a button, Mom" and she was right, we could point and use our fingers to indicate the number while I mumbled my rudimentary French.
When a pretty young clerk came over to the button counter I launched into my greetings, "Bonjour, Mademoiselle" all in a rush pointing towards the buttons to indicate what we were interested in. Because I had read online about La Droguerie, that they couldn't or wouldn't speak English at all, I worried that she would be very dismissive. Instead she smiled the sweetest of smiles and said "Which may I help you with". I felt like a puppy in my gratitude for her effort to speak my language and Meg and I pointed out many buttons that had caught our fancy. At this point we were reminded of the first Harry Potter film and Harry's trip to Olivander's, the wandmaker. Each button we pointed at would send this young woman on a quick trip towards the back of the store where boxes about the size of shoeboxes, lined the shelves, she would scroll her finger down checking the little inked labels on each box, finding the correct one she would bring it to the counter and lift the lid exposing a partitioned box of buttons within. The style we had picked out would often be offered in several sizes and similar buttons would be in the same box.
After we were done with the buttons the clerk politely asked if there was anything else we needed in the store that she could help with. At this point there were many customers that were in need of help but she calmly waited on us and gave us to understand that she was our clerk as long as we needed her. When we had finished she led us to the check-out booth and turned us over to another lovely lady who was very kind as well. Our purchases were each wrapped individually like little presents in crinkly little bags with a raffia tie around the top. My only disappointment was that we weren't allowed to take pictures inside the store. I found this picture of a button board, I think from a Japanese branch of La Droguerie on Google Images--thank you unknown looks just like the one from Paris.

No comments: