A company trip to France 4 ~PARIS~

This is going to be my final report on our trip to France!

Do you remember our project which supported the people living in Ishinomaki who were affected by Tsunami? In March of 2012 we sent them quilts and crocheted blankets which were made and donated by many people?
Marylene in Belgium led the quilt project and Claire in Paris led the crochet one. Ever since we have been touch with Claire and visit her when we go to Paris. (her blog writing about the project

We met at a galette restaurant where we enjoyed crapes and cider.

Claire is well versed on craft information in the area. She heard that the first Sajou shop in Paris had recently opened.
Using her mobile phone, she was able to get the address.
When we arrived, we smelled ink because the shop had just opened two hours earlier.

We were definitely the first Japanese customers and the shop workers were excited to have a group of customers from Japan.

The owner of Sajou; a wonderful lady. Her daughter works for her as I work for my mother.

Montmartre is another place that we recommend, especially for those of you who like the film, AMELIE. (Audrey Tautou plays Amelie and she is so adorable in it.)

Montmartre is also well known as a fabric wholesale district.
We purchased some fabrics to make dresseses.

This is our favorite shop where you can enjoy a nice lunch and some crocheting and knitting too.

Masako's favorite, mouillette

There are wonderful varieties of yarn which are hard to find in Japan.

Aimee, on the right, is a shop owner who always welcomes us with pleasure. She is a warm and caring lady.  
We were lucky to be able to meet Cecile Balladino, a knit and crochet desinger, on the left . We all asked her to have pictures taken with us and for her autograph on her beautiful book. (her blog)

Thank you, France, for such wonderful memories!



A company trip to France 3 ~PARIS~

On our fourth day in France, we took TGV from Strasbourg to Paris.

 Our train departed at 11:42 AM, heading to Paris East station.
As we neared Paris, the sky began to cry. Rain drops were rolling down the street under gloomy skies.

I was anxious about the weather because the following day we planned to go to some flea markets. The next morning the sunny sky blew away my concern!

Masako with the owner of our favorite sewing shop

Masako with the owner of our favorite button shop
Unlike Japan, almost all the shops in Paris are closed on weekends, which makes it difficult to find a place to eat.
For the first time we visited one of open air markets called Marche Raspail.

On Sundays they have a bio market where you can buy fresh vegetables, meat, fish, bread, cheese, flowers and some deli products too.

Masako and I bought risotto from this charming man! It tasted really good.
In the evening we went to see the Eiffel tower.

The lady always looks graceful and even more so when she's illuminated.
It was very surprising to me to hear that there was a controversy during its construction. Many people were against it being built. 
Have you heard of a story about Maupassant? He hated the tower but kept going to his favorite restaurant which was just in front of the tower. When he was asked why, he replied "This is the only place all over Paris where I don't have to see the tower."  Things have changed to date. This must be the most visited building in the world!

The next morning I opened a window in our hotel room from where I could see the tower.
It absolutely made my day, Maupassant!



A company trip to France 2

On our third day in Alsace , we visited the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle which has a nice- century history. My knowledge of European history is not adequate to tell you all about it so please visit their website, if you like.

It is located on a rocky spur overlooking the Alsatian plain, with a marvelous view.

Because of this, it was used by successive powers from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years War when it was abandoned.
Under the reign of Emperor Wilhelm II it was restored and is now a major tourist site.

A highlight of my stay in Alsace was meeting our friends in an old and attractive town of Riquewihr.
I think Riquewihr is the most charming town in this area. Whenever I visit there, there seem to be many other tourists as well.

It is said that one can tell how hard a wife works by the cleanliness of the windows in her house. Perhaps that is one reason why many windows are fully decorated with beautiful flowers.

It always brings us a lot of joy to meet our friends and spend some time together.
But alas, it was not enough time to catch up on all the news. We needed more than one day!

We stopped by a house in a small town, Beblenheim, which we had stayed in several times when we came on business. It is B&B run by a lovely couple who made us feel so welcome.

They gave us a bottle of white wine as a gift, which was very kind and thoughtful of them.
Most people in this region are involved in some way with the wine industry and know what variety is especially good.



A company trip to France 1

Until September 2012 we had a booth at an international quilt show which was held in a small town in the Alsace region. For the first time Masako chose not to participate in but to visit it with our colleagues for pleasure!
(Patchwork Europe)

We stayed at a hotel in Strasbourg for three nights. An hour and a half drive brought us to the show.

It was revealing to see the show from a customer's point of view instead of actually taking part in it.
And we met some familiar customers who immediately recognized us and asked "Where is your booth?"

There were some exhibitions in a theater, church and craft shops. Having a map in hand, we wandered around and enjoyed the town and the exhibits without the responsibility of running our booth.

(Maker's information)

(More information)

(The biggest exhibition, more info)

We left the show at 4 PM and headed back to our town, Strasbourg and walked around until dinner.

Strasbourg is located close to the Rhine River, the border between France and Germany. This area is especially called "La Petite France" and the architecture shows the German influence. Until 1944, Strasbourg had been alternately dominated by France and Germany several times, so many people in Alsace region speak both languages.

This is the one church that you cannot miss while you are staying in Strasbourg.
Strasbourg Cathedral (Notre-Dome de Strasbourg).

It was impossible to photograph the immense height of the building.
At 142 meters, it was the world's tallest building from 1647 until 1874. Today it is the sixth tallest church in the world. 

Construction began in 1015 and finished in 1439, which means it took over 400 years. I wondered how on earth people back then were capable of making this gigantic and beautiful building.