I’ve heard that Grenoble has a large English population, so it wasn’t such a surprise to discover on day one, an English cafe selling secondhand English books. The Bookworm Cafe is just across the river from the main part of town, on a street which contains quirky shops, restaurants and a couple of museums. It’s a car-free street, but not busy like the main shopping part of town. You can hear the serenity (Australians will know what that means, others please see The Castle). It isn’t like European cafes – this is a place you can really hang around for hours, you could knit, read….or chat to Mag, the very friendly prioprietor. We did all of those. Ate scones – Mag specially made me fruit free – pot of tea, and some books. I ended up with four cookbooks and a novel. I left the Short Stories of Kate Chopin for a certain friend to pick up when she visits soon.
Speaking of knitting, it saddened me to walk past an Anny Blatt shop which had been abandoned, in the middle of town. On the one hand, knitting is a booming activity worldwide. On the other, is the internet killing local business, even for something as hands on and visual as yarn shopping? I hope not. A thriving community that feels good to be part of will include all manner of shops, not only those whose merchandise can’t be sold online. Here in Grenoble there are plenty of haberdasheries that sell a little yarn, but nothing to interest a devoted knitter. I was all the happier, therefore, to find myself going down one of the many little alleys of the central part of Grenoble, wondering if it was a mistake, only to fall upon an utterly delightful yarn shop, Maille à part
Elise speaks excellent English, so chatting about yarns and patterns was easy. She stocks Rowan patterns, some in French, some in English and she has a nice range of Brooklyn Tweed patterns as well. Elise’s mum machine knits garments that are for sale in the shop. These are unique once offs, made from best quality yarns and are very reasonably priced. I was torn between many of them, but ended up with a fair isle cashmere scarf, done as a tube so that the workings of it are invisible. It comes with an embroided flower pin to close it at the neck. I also bought a bag of a new Lang yarn, Vivienne, which feels very similar to my greatly missed Jaeger chamonix and has the same kind of construction as well. I was torn between that and a Cascade wool silk mix in red, which seems to be my colour right now….next time….
When I spotted – down another alley – a sign saying ‘Adelaide Cookies‘, I had to take a detour. ‘Don’t get too excited,’ said Manny. ‘It’s just a name. You know, like Madeleine’. Huh. I’m always telling people how great Australian food is, it’s gotta be my own home town. And indeed, upon sampling one of the biscuits – to use the Australian word – Manny asked the girl serving why ‘Adelaide’. ‘Because the recipe comes from the town.’ Yay!!! First London, next Paris, now Grenoble. Slowly Australian food is taking over Europe. Now if only it could make it over the Alps….
Food in the next installment.