Friday 4 November 2022

Ultramod - The best Mercerie in Paris


In timeless Paris I turned a page, and there is was Ultramod the best Mercerie in Paris

How to begin to explain this most wonderful of adventures.  Well as you know from my last post I went to Paris and had the best of times.  One thing that happened practically on the last day of my visit was that I  went into a great department store in Paris and I saw a book ( it was in French but I was drawn to the cover on this exquisite

hard back large book), I was looking through and a wonderful lady who worked there came up and realising I was in fact English starting talking to me about the book.  She then said we have a copy in English if you are interested, and of course I was very interested indeed and into my basket it went. The book is called Timeless Paris as you will see from the above photo.

Well after my shopping it was time for a little lunch and a drink so I went and found a quiet spot and looked through and to my utter joy found Ultramod.  Looking it up on google I found that it opened the next day on the Saturday after lunch and I was there when the shutters went up.  I was first through the door and the wonderful lady who owned it spoke wonderful English and here is where this little adventure began that day.

Ultramod is strategically located near the  Palais-Royal, and has long been famed as the hatmakers and milliners district.  The most amazing business has a history that spans nearly 200 years and the records show that the same name at this address on Rue de Choiseul is traced back to 1832.

Some years later it sold products referred to as' menue mercerie' which translates to all the essential accessories for sewing and embroidery.

Francios Morin, a former finance executive, purchased the notions store, followed by the milliner's boutique, in the late 1900s.  It was said he was literally captivated by the history of these places and acquired their historic inventory.

Today the two shops face one another and each with their own particular activities.

The Mercier side has shelves and buttons, ribbons and threads and every conceivable thing you may need to create some beautiful project.  They have old and new stock but
the old stock is what actually took my breath away.

The lady who owns the shops spoke perfect English and we started chatting.  She realised that I was English and we talked about the shops.  She was so pleased I had made the journey to see her and was happy for me to snap away with my camera.  

Boxes of buttons were pulled out and I was able to just look, rummage and snap away.

I asked her about the milliners across the road and she said was not open all the time and today was one of those days, it is used as a sewing sanctuary and seeing probably my disappointment got one of her staff to open up for me to wander around with me and I was able to take photo's there as well.  What an absolute treat for me.  So lovely are these ladies I can not tell you.

There are hats on stands partly made as they were decades ago. Boxes of sample cards of ribbons and lace to choose for your hat and are over a hundred years old. The shelves in the milliners shop are filled with endless felt forms ready to be moulded into bespoke measurements for hats in their own boxes.  There is an amazing array of feathers and silk flowers to make any beautiful hat your own.  I closed my eyes for a moment and could imagine what it must of been like to go there as a lady ordering a new hat or two. 
The customers service and the choices.  You could almost hear the excited chatter and 

The smell that is in the shops is heady and beautiful the way antique things should be.

The old counters in both shops run the length of them and the old tills still remain. 
There are numerous large chests of drawers all with the original patinaed.  Some of these still bear the name 'Cartier-Bresson' and this is a brand of thread that is now obsolete, but made the fortune of the famous photographers family.  All these things make the atmosphere which makes these shops so appealing, it is indeed a timeless stitchery haven with such a warm and inviting atmosphere.  To wander, chat, see and be there for a few hours was magical.

There are thousands of buttons, ribbons, felt fashioned from rabbit hair, veiling of the highest quality.  Ribbons of both silk and velvet.  Ribbons with hand embroidery on them and all arranged by colour.

An array of embroidery threads of every imaginable hue and colour, its wonderland for those of us who love to embroider or stitch.

We need to treasure these antique places that still exist and never loose them.  If I lived in Paris I would, for sure, make a weekly visit.  That this kind of Mercier is still in business today is testimony to the fact they are still very much loved and needed.  

For those of us who slow stitch now with antique and vintage fabrics, ribbons, lace and buttons.  That we choose to use antique threads when we can get hold of them, these amazing shops are our nirvana ....

I am going to make a trip back hopefully sometime next year for a few days and there are now, I have found out,  tours that will take you from one beautifully old shop to the next and I very much want to be on one of those!

Now lots of you have messaged me on here and my Facebook page asking me about the old buttons that I purchased.  They were not cheap but hey they were coming home with me.  They are gorgeous glass and silver buttons and they are stock from 1900 and it was still written on the box they were in.  I picked out 6 of each size and they were popped into a little glassine packet.  The star of the show...

I would like to thank all the staff at these most beautiful of shops in Paris for their patience and their customer service.  Nothing was too much trouble and they were all so helpful and kind.  They could see I was enthralled and they made my last day in Paris the best.

Well I hope you have enjoyed this little window into an amazing 200 year old Mercier in Paris.

Take care as always and Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX


  1. Wow! Wow! And wow again! I can only imagine how visiting this place must have been like a step back in time!

    1. Your Wow comments were exactly what my brain was thinking when I stepped through the door. It really is a beautiful shop and here's hoping they will still be open in another 200 years.

  2. Thank you for reading! I love sharing things of this nature on here. Thoughts of a mad stitcher and where I find myself visiting. I am so pleased you enjoyed it and thank you for commenting.