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Tour Sur Alice, is the French translation of Everything Alice which was published by Eyrolles last month. To celebrate its arrival dans France, we decided to accept an invitation to visit Paris for the day & host a workshop for some lovely ladies at the Créations & Savoir-Faire, which is a huge craft expo.
I woke in what seemed like the dead of night, hearing a ping of a text message from Christine who was waiting outside in a cab, we were whisked to Kings Cross St Pancreas Station.
The three hour train journey gave us time to wake up, we were joined by an eclectic bunch; cooing couples off for a romantic trip, fashionable ladies with bags from recent london press shows (Christine included), older ladies "what lunch" breaking into the bucks Fizz and the token snoring man, who was right next to us!
We arrived at Gare Du Nord by about 11.30am, here we had to quickly figure out where we were going on the Metro. My husband, who is a regular Paris visitor tipped me off about this great iphone app called Paris Metro, which guided us to our location of Porte de Versailles.
On arrival at the show we were greeted by the lovely Eva & Francis, who work for Eyrolles. Before we were to host our workshop, we dashed off for a Sushi lunch and had a quick look around the stalls. Over all there were generally the same numbers of women, like the London markets, inching their way around the stalls. The overall feel was sightly different though; there were more vintage stalls selling gorgeous antiquities such as giant bobbins and beautiful button boxes. There was less focus on the chincy craft materials and more on fresh simple and stylish designs which made the whole event have a lighter airier feel.
At 1.30pm we were taken to the table to host our craft workshop, on the agenda was Rose Lights, Initial Napkin Rings and Mad Hatter Hat boxes. We were in and amongst some seriously impressive looking stalls such as mirror cutting, bag screen printing and birdhouse making.
Most of the women couldn't speak English so Francis translated for us, however one woman who was sat next to me had actually lived in England for years in a village right next door to my parents cottage in Dorset (small world!) so had perfect English, which came in very helpful. A few things arouse within our craft chat, firstly that the French do not celebrate Christmas in the same way as the English, it really is a religious festival for children and not advertised nearly in the same way as it is in the UK. Craft has not reached the younger generation as it has in the UK, so its very much aimed at small children and older ladies. The skill level of our group of 10 crafters was also pretty high, they took the class very seriously and didn't come to the table with friends they came as individuals.
At the end of the 3 hour class, we had fun taking photos of Francis wearing his Mad Hatters Hat!
We then ventured off, exhausted, into the heart of Paris, to visit destination concept store Merci, distracted by a stunning children's store next door called Bon Ton ( where I bought a cat mask and Christine a mouse), by the time we got to Merci we were so tired we had a glass of vino and a slice of cake and collapsed!
We caught the bus ( as it took so long to try and get a cab!) then headed for a meal in a little place tucked around the corner from the station. Here we were served the most incredible cheese plate I have ever seen! Yumm, red wine and cheese, heaven!
It was now time to take our return train home, we were really quite merry at the station shop and purchased some bits to take home, such as L'occitane soap & a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape to please the husband.
All in all a great day, I really hope Tout Sur Alice has much success in France!