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For decades, motherhood and work had kept me rooted; I logged my miles in my living room. Now we were empty nesters. About the time the last tuition bill was paid, we received another invitation to visit Paris from my husband’s friend Yves. This time we said “Yes!”

We stayed with Yves in his neighborhood of cheese shops, hair salons, and bakeries; around the corner from a church.

Where were the yarn stores? I took my knitting out on the Metro, flashing a signal. Yoo hoo! Hello, any knitters out there?

The days went by quickly. We marveled at the Picasso Museum with its wall of etching plates and the press that printed them. We delighted at discovering the Doll Museum, and the French character, Bécassine. Yves, a newly appointed museum director, did not know of any yarn stores, but he did take us to a Buddhist shrine in a parking ramp, and arranged for a guided graffiti tour. We waited in the rain at the Louvre and watched a thousand selfie sticks capture the Mona Lisa.

We stopped often for pastry and coffee. We stumbled on a tiny yarn store in a posh neighborhood. At Le Bon Marché department store, I found a small knitting section, reminding me of the one at Macy’s in Colonie Mall when I was growing up. I had a hefty stash of knitterly goods; there wasn’t anything I needed. What was I looking for?

I bought bright red lipstick and almost wore it. At the Citroën shop, much to the staff’s amazement, we slid down the slide. At their suggestion, we visited a Citroën dealership, where my husband sat behind the wheel of the latest model. I captured his smile for posterity. That alone might have made our whole Paris adventure worthwhile. Still, I longed for something else in that gritty, beautiful city of culture and fashion.

Where were the knitters? Where was the cozy French yarnery, the woolly answer to  to Shakespeare and Company? I had almost given up. Looking back, I could have asked on Facebook, but it never occurred to me. Instead, I continued Googling possibilities.

“No one in Paris is knitting,” I told my husband, waiting for some sympathy, some understanding. After all, we had spent an afternoon with Citroëns.

“There must be something,” he said. “It’s a big city.”

So I tried again. As luck would have it, as it sometimes does when one is searching, I struck a promising hit, L’Oisive Thé.

“I found one!” I told my husband.

“Where is it?” he asked. We were trying to plan our route for the next day.

I checked twice. Could it be?

“It’s right around the corner.”

We had passed L’Oisive Thé every day. It was hiding in plain sight, on our path to the Metro. I may have even commented on the mural outside.

“They serve breakfast,” I told him.

The next morning, we sat amid shelves of hand-dyed skeins and the familiar conversation of knitters. I could not have imagined a cozier gathering, cushioned with the comfort of tea and wool. I was home. It didn’t take long to meet the crew of regulars and to reserve a place for their Wednesday night knitter’s dinner. I could hardly wait.

Finally, it was Wednesday. For the first time in Paris, I was out without my husband. I brought a pair of gloves to work on. Mostly, though, I talked to knitters, some of whom  I remembered from our breakfast. All through dinner, I admired lace and entrelac, socks, and sweaters. A dressmaker’s form was draped with an array of shawls. I tried on every one.

I bought the latest Pom Pom magazine, a skein of a surprisingly lively ecru wool, and a pattern for a cowl with a little oh, la la. I consulted about my choices with Aimée, the owner, a hand dyer whose color sensibility radiated throughout the store.

L’Oisive Thé knitters were the most adventurous and skilled knitters I have ever met. As the evening ended, I said my goodbyes and walked back to Yves’s.

A few years have gone by, and while preparing for this story, I looked again at my pictures from that evening. My favorite is one where knitters joyously raised their needles and knitting to the camera.

“We will always have Paris,” my husband likes to remind me. Usually in the middle of winter when we are almost housebound by the fierce cold on the prairie.

He’s right. But for me, there’s more. I will always have L’Oisive Thé.

Editors’ Note: In the time since Michelle’s visit to Paris, Aimée Gille has opened another yarn shop in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, La Bien Aimée. It’s not far from L’Oisive Thé, which is still going strong. 

About The Author

Michelle Edwards writes about family, friendship, and community. Her work chronicles the large and small victories and defeats of everyday life. She frequently posts her illustrations on Instagram, her website, and at StudioScrawls, her Etsy store.


  • I lived in Paris in 1997 while I was learning pastry at Le Cordon Bleu, and there was a teeny tiny yarn store on Rue de Alesia in my neighborhood. No place to sit and knit but, oh! What lovely yarns! And sweet, helpful women!

    • I adore teeny tiny yarn stores! The first knitting story I ever wrote [“Dora’s Yarn Store” on Knitty] was about the owner of such a store. Something magical about those places. Like a wooly warren.

  • Thank you for this story! Planning a trip in the fall and now I know where to go for my knit shop fix!

    • That’s great! Key your eyes open for cool graffiti on the way!

    • Enjoy!

  • Lovely story ❤️Beautiful artwork too. Thank you MDK for having such a talented artist finding yarny stories and making our day better with Michelle!

    • You made my day with your comment!

    • I did enjoy your story very much .Thank you.

  • Wonderful story. Thank you for sharing ❤️❤️

    • Thank you.

  • Great story. I will look for the yarn store in Paris. I would also love to have a friend named Yves who is a museum director in Paris. How great is that?

    • Thanks, Helen! Pretty great, indeed. Our Yves has since retire from his post.

  • Thoroughly enjoyed the story. Thanks for sharing your “Paris adventure”.

    • Thank you! I enjoyed crafting the story.

  • I purchased A Hat for Mrs Goldman for my granddaughter. We loved it. A wonderful book.

    • Thanks, Marti! It’s always great to hear from Mrs. Goldman fans.

  • This is perfect. I will spend 12 days in Paris in June. And I have a skein of Aimee’s yarn in my stash. In 2015, my friends and I stumbled across a yarn shop at the foot of (and around the corner from) Le Sacré Coeur and it was magical. This is going on my to visit list!

    • Great plan! Enjoy your visit and yarn.

  • Aimee of L’Oisive Thé was on Felicia Lo’s Sweet Georgia podcast back in 2015. A delightful listen.

    • Thank you, M. I put this on my to-listen list.

  • Such a lovely story.❤️ I felt like I was in Paris also looking for the yarn shop and finding it. ❤️ Thank you, Jacquie

    • What a lovely response! Thank you.

  • I was just in Paris and had a great visit to La Bien Aimee. I wish I had known about LOisive The! Would have been there in a second! LBA was the ONLY yarn shop I saw on my visit. Aimee even arranged for her driver to take us back to our hotel since we were so jet lagged after our flight the night before that we hardly remembered where we were staying!

    • A full service yarn shop. LBA is on my Paris bucket list. And next time, I am going to wear that red lipstick!

  • Thank you for the story. I will be in Paris next spring and will visit these shops for some ohs and has and wonderful yarn.

    • You are welcome. Have a great trip!

  • This a nice little Paris tour… Looking forward to Michelle’s books and loving the fact that she discovered Bécassine… one of my childhood’s companion ;)Thank you!

    • I loved Becassine! Of course, I adore discovering new children’s book characters.Thanks for writing.

  • This is where Google is our friend! We were just in Paris and Google showed several possibilities including the charmingly named Lil Weasel. One day after exploring the Jardin Des Plants (which I highly recommend ) I googled again and practically ran into La Maille Endroit in the 5th. I think there are several branches. Small but full of beautiful things including the French made Fonty. Go! But make sure to leave room in your suitcase!

    • You are so right, Catherine. I did try Google, but until I figured out the right search words, or something, I just didn’t get a woolly hit. I am glad you were successful, I have taken note!

  • Thank you for this lovely newsletter..I was in Paris and couldn’t find this shop. Lucky you.

    Happy knitting

    • The cool thing about find a little yarn shop around the corner is that it keeps you ever hopeful for the next one. Onward!

  • Such a lovely story. And what a surprise ending! La Bien Aimee! I was fortunate enough to go to Eyf last year and buy one of her skeins. I made “Trilogy” out of it by Jessica Gingerich. I love it. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Thank you for writing. I bet your shawl is lovely.

  • “I bought bright red lipstick and almost wore it.” Who can’t relate?!

    • Still working up my muster for red lipstick, or any other color for that matter!

    • I know! That made me chuckle.

  • I love that little shop! The whole neighborhood is charming. Rick Steves has a 90 minute walk around the area that is worth checking out.

    • Thanks, Jean!

  • My heart belonged to Michelle Edwards since the first time I read A Hat For Mrs. Goldman. And now this beautiful love song to a knitting Paris! It warms my old French teacher’s heart all over again. Merci une fois de plus, Michelle.

    • I am touched. Thank you, Mary Lou.

  • What a wonderful piece to discover while catching up on many boring emails this Monday morning after a long weekend of fun in the sun at Jazz Fest. I’m going in search of her books.

    • Thanks! Enjoy your search.

  • Very heartwarming story. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you, Sheilah!

  • Such a fabulous essay—and those drawings! I am a huge fan of all of Michelle’s books from way back. More, more, more.

    • Thank you, Vicki! Your comment cheers me on!

  • That was lovely to read!

    • Thank you, Kea!

  • La Bien Aimee moved and is no longer “just around the corner.” It’s about a 15 minute walk (on Rue d’Italie) but soooo worth it. Her new store is bigger and brighter and full of her wonderful; yarn. Loved the little article. I’ll be in Paris in October.

    • Thanks for the update. Have a good trip.

  • What a great story! Thank you so much for sharing it and most of all the lovely drawings. I almost felt like I was transported to Paris.

    • Tricia, your comments mean a lot to me.

  • It’s decades since we.lived in Paris, when I used to shop for exquisite yarns and fashionable patterns in BHV – very much nicer than anything available in the UK af the time. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your article – thank you so much!

    • Heather, it’s great to read your cooments! Onward!

  • This was a interesting story I would read these short stories all the time. Never been to Paris but I can see it in her story. I’m a kniter my three children got lots of out fits I find knitting therapeutic and I love to knit in my garden in fine weather. Thank you.

    • Thank you! Knitting in your garden, how lovely!

  • I loved this article! Knitmap is a wonderful (and free!) app that will help you find yarn shops near you, wherever you may be. Traveling in Italy, Knitmap pointed me to a delightful yarn shop in Siena.

    • does knitmap still exist? can’t find it! sounds great

    • Thanks for the tip! I will use Knitmap on my upcoming trip to Latvia.

  • loved your reminiscence …

    • Thank you, Cheryl!

  • I can’t believe I missed a place dedicated to tea and yarn when I was in Paris last year! But it’s being added to my list, ‘things I didn’t do on my last trip to Paris and will on my next one’. 🙂

    • I love all kinds of lists — a next time list is a great idea! Onward.

  • Such a lovely story! Breakfast at a yarn shop sounds delightful!
    I must tell you that my 6-year-old granddaughter reads A Hat for Mrs. Goldman every time she comes for the weekend, and we have knit a Sophia hat together – she works the right needle and I do the rest, although not for the whole thing.

    • Thank you, Pennie. What a sweet way to knit with you granddaughter! I am sure Mrs. Goldman agrees. Knit on!

  • Loved reading this and the images it conjures – found a lovely yarn store set in a pretty wooded neighbourhood of Denver – my daughter googled it and took me there since I had time on my hands and wanted to knit while my husband and I were visiting her! It was named « the Lamb Shoppe » and all the time till we reached there my husband thought we were going to get Meat !
    Still cannot get over the warmth of the place and the sight of about ten to twelve ladies sitting round a rectangular table each with their own knitting or crochet chatting and having tea or coffee.
    I wish I had more free time on my hands to be part of them!

    • Thank you, Sabina! The Lamb Shoppe sounds perfect.

  • Love this story – beautifully written, evokes the atmosphere of the shop you foundb and the people in it! I’ll definitely keep a look out for the Mrs Goldman book.

    • Thanks, Jeannie! I hope you find A Hat for Mrs. Goldman.

  • Reading I wondered if Aimee was the same one I knew from La Bien Aimee. She does indeed have some lovely yarns!

    • Most likely. You can check out her website and Instagram feed.

  • Lovely story from one knitter to another .. what a wonderful idea having a knitting shop combined with coffee oh wow! Thank you knitter Lyn

    • Thank you. For the record, I am a huge fan of coffee and knitting.

  • My favorite yarn store in Paris is la droguerie. I wish I could copy and paste an image of the storefront.

    • Interesting. I’ll keep themt in mind. Thanks for writing.

  • Lovely story and illustrations… ant I love l Oisivethe and la Bien Aimee too…… but please do not let people think there are no other places where you can find good knitting stuff….Besides the well k own La Droguerie, there is also Lil Weasel in a fantastic place called Passage du Grand Cerf…. les Petits Points Parisiens in Montmartre, les Tricoteurs volants, to name but a few… time you come to Paris make sure to Visit them….

    • Thank you, Martine, for your kind words about my story and illustrations and your yarn store suggestions. Next time!

  • For my birthday, my dear knitting friend presented me with “I Knit Paris” from One More Row Press. Has patterns and descriptions of Paris and, best of all, Knittting Shops. Poor me, I have to travel to Paris on business a couple of times a year, and I stack my agenda to be sure I get a dose of yarn. Leslie

    • What a terrific gift! What a terrific job! Knit on!

  • thoroughly enjoyed the story

  • I loved your story of passion for knitting and writing stories. You are blessed with gifts.Thank you for sharing.

  • So fun in the midst of corona virus lock down.

  • Charming…enjoyed every word!

  • I love your story. I always wanted to be in Paris. To walk and relax with bread and cheese. Almost left out a pastry or two
    I love this thought of knitting and.being in Paris.

  • Great story and nice work… thanks for sharing

  • Great story and nice work… thanks for sharing

  • Thank you for sharing this lovely story and the art work was fantastic too.

  • Thanks for sharing such a wonderful article. The art work is great. Keep up the good work.

  • Wonderful Story! Great Artwork. On the point. Keep it up.

  • Loved the story and the art work is literally fabulous

  • Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

  • Great. Thoroughly enjoyed the story.

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  • Thanks for sharing great stuff,

  • Great, thanks for sharing

  • Great, Thanks for sharing

  • Great, Thanks for sharing

  • And now Aimée has become famous in the knitting world and has closed both of her shops and is concentrating on her yarn dying business. She did just recently have a pop up store right near L’il Weasel (another very nice yarn shop!) which was to promote her new book Neons and all the yarn she made to go with those patterns. She said that was a good experience so maybe she’ll do more pop ups in the future.

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