Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Visiting Maison Sajou

We've recently returned home from a wonderful trip to France!  Over the next few weeks I plan to share with you some of the many photos we took--particularly those that are needlework related.  (And yes, Heather and other "foodies", I'll have some food photos too.)

This was our first trip to France.  True, we've been in the Paris airport twice, but that was only to change planes to go somewhere else.  At last, we were able to get out and explore.  Our trip was a tour of the Loire Valley, Brittany, and Normandy followed by some time in Paris.

Our first hotel was in the town of Versailles, which is slightly northwest of Paris.  What a perfect setting for, of course, exploring the Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles) and also Maison Sajou.

Before heading overseas, I had written Frédérique Crestin-Billet, owner of Maison Sajou, about visiting her.  We had the afternoon of our arrival in France free, and very happily that was a good day for Frédérique.  So, within less than half an hour of arriving at our hotel, we were off to take a leisurely walk to Maison Sajou.  (Our walk took us by the Palace of Versailles, but more about the palace another day.)

Maison Sajou is located in a very old building.  In fact, Frédérique told us the building is about the same age as the palace which dates from the late 1600's.  Frédérique had also told me that the door wasn't accessible from the street, but rather from a courtyard.  We weren't sure we were in the right place, but there was an open window and a lady working inside.  I introduced myself and was told that Frédérique was expecting us.

We then went inside the building, and my mouth dropped open. Here is a bit of what we saw.
Just some of the goodies!
And more goodies!
Look at this curtain!
Here is a close-up of one section of the embroidered curtain.
I knew that Frédérique had written several needlework books because I have a few of them (Ouvrages de Dames and La Folie des Ciseaux) in my needlework library, but I was also interested in learning when and how she started her business, Maison Sajou. 

Frédérique told me that she had a collection of Sajou pattern albums and found herself wondering what had happened to the original Maison Sajou company which was started in the 1838 by Jacques-Simon Sajou.  She researched the company and discovered that they had long since gone out of business. So in November, 2004, she registered the company name of Maison Sajou, and six months later opened her website. 

Over the past six years Maison Sajou has flourished, and Frédérique continues to add new products.  She is very proud that her products are made in France. She uses a wide variety of companies to manufacture the items.  For example, she uses three different companies just to make her many kinds of embroidery scissors. 

Here are a few more photos and some of the goodies I brought home.

Here I am with Frederique.  I think that I was pretty brave to have this photo taken after having not slept since leaving home the previous day.
Here is Frederique with Carolyn, one of her employees.  Carolyn is originally from the London area, but now lives in Versailles.
Of course, I had to check things out.  I'm looking forward to trying these threads soon.

Look at this cool bag!

Here are some of the goodies I found!
This is what's inside the thread box.
Frédérique, thank you very much for you very warm hospitality.  I loved being able to see all your beautiful products in person--what a special treat that was! It will also always be a wonderful memory that our first meal ever in France was with you. Thank you!

14 comments:

Ann said...

What a lovely post, I have ordered quite a few threads,linen etc from Sajou. Their customer service is excellent and I love how they add little gifts in the package the send.

Barb said...

This is very interesting. Thanks for sharing your trip!

Laurie in Iowa said...

How wonderful that you were able to visit Maison Sajou. Their products are terrific.

Margaret said...

Wow! Lucky lucky you!! I would love to go there someday!

Miriam said...

Thank you for sharing. Looks like you discovered a treasure trove!!

Mouse said...

ooooo nice to see you again :) and ooohhhh all those pretty thread colours of course you had to have some :) glad you had a good trip there :) love mouse xxxx

krayolakris said...

You could be sisters, you look so much alike! What a lovely treat, to visit the Maison Sajou!

Laura said...

Your post made my day! I hope it is okay that I borrowed a picture from your post....love that Sajou bag!!!

Robin at The Primitive Hutch said...

What a wonderfull place to visit! It makes you want to see more! I would be heaven and would have a really hard time choosing treasures to bring home ~ I would want it all!
Thanks for sharing your beautiful trip so far!
Prim Blessings
Robin

Nancy said...

What a dream Ellen! Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos. I'm sure your memories are just as beautiful!

Marilyn said...

Great photos Ellen.
Looking forward to more.
And what a cool pic of that curtain!
Thanks for the story about how Sajou came about.
Glad you enjoyed your stay in France.
Marilyn

Kelly said...

Well this is enough reason to go to Paris. Thanks for sharing. What a beautiful store.

The Inspired Stitcher said...

Oh Ellen, to have been a mouse in your pocket! Le Sigh!

Bertie said...

Oh Ellen, so glad to hear your visit to Sajou was a success, the ladies are so lovely. That reminds me to visit their online shop again lol. I love all your pictures, there is so much eye candy and see that you found some treasures too:))