French Tablecloths

Laguiole Steak Knives August 30, 2016

We are so in love with these Laguiole steak knives that we decided to sit down and write a blog post to help us figure out why.

First of all, we think they're absolutely gorgeous.

But what is it that makes them so beautiful, exactly? We're not sure, but we think it has something to do with the soft, gentle, almost sensual curves and contours of the handles - somehow they just make you want to reach into the photo, grab one, and hold it in your hand. The warm curviness of the handles is especially intriguing because it contrasts so sharply with the cold, straight flatness of the blades. We don't want to get carried away, but there's kind of a yin-yang or male-female duality thing going on there...

Second, they're made of extremely high quality materials.

The blades are made of Swedish Sandvik 12C27 chromium stainless steel, a high performance knife steel with excellent edge performance allowing razor sharpness, high hardness, exceptional toughness and excellent corrosion resistance. This is the steel of choice for high end hunting knives, chef's knives, and tactical knives.

The handles are made of precious natural materials such as hardwoods, water buffalo horn, and cow bone.

Laguiole Buffalo Horn Steak Knife

And finally, they're authentic. They're made by hand, near the village of Laguiole - the birthplace of the famous Laguiole folding knife - in accordance with the artisanal history and traditions of the region. Each knife is made by a single craftsman and carries its maker's signature pattern on its spine. Each one has the traditional "shepherd's cross" embedded in its handle. Each is a unique work of art, with its own "personality".

So... beauty, quality, and authenticity. That's why we love these amazing knives, and we think you will love them, too!

 


French Cutlery August 28, 2016

Laguiole Steak KnivesIf you ask people what comes to mind when they hear the words "French culture," most of them will say: fine food, wine and cheese. Many will say: beauty, elegance, and style. Some will say: socialism and taxes - but that's a topic for another blog post!

What almost nobody will say is: fine knives and cutlery.

But the French actually do have a very rich tradition and a long history of producing some of the finest - and arguably the most beautiful - knives and cutlery in the world.

The tradition started in a little village called Laguiole in the Aubrac region of south-central France, when the local cutlers (knife makers) began making knives that blended the practicality and durability of a local peasant knife called the Capuchadou with the striking, almost sensual beauty of an Arabo-Hispanic knife called the Navaja. The resulting folding knife, known simply as the Laguiole, became famous for its quality, usefulness, and style. Over the years, the cutlers of Aubrac developed variations on the original design that included corkscrews, steak knives, and other forms of flatware (cheese knives, forks, spoons, etc).

Laguiole Cheese knovesUnfortunately, the cutlers of Aubrac did not think about protecting the word "Laguiole" (like the vintners of northern France thought of protecting the word "Champagne") until it was too late. As a result, there are many knives that are marketed as "Laguiole" that are not made in Aubrac. Some of them are knives of mediocre quality that are mass-produced in other parts of France (Thiers, for example). And some are cheap, low-quality knock-offs made in Asia. 

There are only a couple of cutleries left in Aubrac. All of our cutlery is authentic Laguiole cutlery that is made in the region of Aubrac, in accordance with the high standards of quality and artisanal traditions of the region. The blades and hardware are made of high performance Sandvik stainless steel. The handles are made of precious materials (hardwoods, exotic woods, water buffalo horn, ram's horn, stag's horn, turquoise, etc). Each piece is a unique work of art, handmade by a single craftsman. Each one carries its maker's mark.

Laguiole Corkscrew

When you hold one of these beautiful pieces of cutlery in your hand you will know that you are dealing with something very rare and unusual in today's world: an authentic example of artisanal skill and master craftsmanship. 

 


There's No Such Thing as a Teflon Coated Tablecloth! August 27, 2016

Once in a while we get asked if we have "teflon coated tablecloths". The answer is no, because there is no such thing as a "teflon coated tablecloth".

There are, however, teflon TREATED tablecloths. In these tablecloths the fabric (typically Jacquard double-woven cotton) is treated with a teflon based product that makes it liquid-repellent and resistant to stains. It is not a "coating" that's applied to the surface of the tablecloth, it's a treatment that penetrates deep into the fibers of the fabric that protects it while leaving it feeling soft and warm and natural. Teflon treated tablecloths are easy to get clean in the washing machine (gentle cycle, low heat, please) but are not "wipeable" like an acrylic-coated tablecloth would be. Teflon-treated Jacquard tablecloths also tend to be more formal and elegant than coated tablecloths. For these reasons Teflon-treated Jacquards are typically used on dining room tables, whereas acrylic-coated tablecloths are often used on kitchen tables (as well as on outdoor patio or deck tables).

But the only way to really appreciate the difference between a teflon-treated tablecloth and an acrylic-coated tablecloth is to buy one of each and see for yourself!


Laguiole Steak Knives, Cheese Knives, and Corkscrews May 26, 2016

I have some very exciting news. We are now offering authentic Laguiole cutlery (steak knives, cheese knives, and corkscrews) from Laguiole en Aubrac.

These are beautiful, authentic, heirloom-quality pieces, handmade by master craftsmen in the region of Aubrac, near the village of Laguiole (pronounced LA-YULL). They're made with the highest quality materials and standards of workmanship. Each knife is a unique work of art, marked with the signature pattern of the cutler who made it. These are truly exceptional objects that will be in your family for generations.

Please check out our collection!

 


Spring in Provence March 20, 2016

Spring in Provence...

Spring in Provence 


Valbonne January 19, 2016

ValbonneValbonne is a village in the departement of Alpes-Maritimes, on the very easternmost edge of what many people consider to be Provence (and well to the East of what many other people consider to be Provence, but that is another story). In any case, there are many old villages in southeastern France. Most of them are perched on top of hills or mountains, are circular in shape, and have no straight streets. Valbonne is unusual in that it is built on relatively flat land, is almost perfectly rectangular in shape, and has straight, perpendicular streets.

EgliseBecause the village is so rectilinear, it is sometimes mistakenly taken to be of Roman origin, when in fact it was laid out in the early 16th century (in 1519 to be exact) in a very deliberate (and successful) effort to attract settlers to the area adjacent to a 13th century Abbey which is still in existence on the northern edge of the village.

Click on the link below to see some tablecloths with designs that remind us of the streets of Valbonne.

Valbonne Tablecloths

 


Bargème January 5, 2016

Bargème is a beautiful, medieval (12th century) village located in eastern Provence, north of Draguignan. Perched on a hill at an altitude of 1,100 meters (3,600 feet) and endowed with spectacular views of the valley below and the massive stone cliffs above, the village is filled with gorgeous examples of Romanesque stone architecture, including a 13th century church and the ruins of a massive fortified feudal castle.

Our Bargème tablecloths combine the straight, simple lines of Romanesque architecture with a Provençal floral motif.


Coated Tablecloths December 20, 2015

We've been pussy-footing around the topic of coated tablecloths for a long time now. We've described the differences between teflon-treated and acrylic-coated tablecloths. We've compared and contrasted oilcloth and coated cotton tablecloths. We've documented the existence of acrylic coated Jacquard tablecloths. And we've discussed acrylic coating in the Material section of our definitive guide to French tablecloths, French Tablecloths 101!

But we've never published a blog post dedicated to coated tablecloths. Until now, that is...

A coated tablecloth has a thin, acrylic based coating applied to the surface of the material on the top side of the tablecloth that protects it from spills and stains and makes it "wipeable" (easy to clean up with a damp cloth or sponge) - they almost never need to be machine-washed. For this reason coated tablecloths are perfect for every day use on kitchen tables. They're also great for outdoor use on patio and deck tables (note that we can put an umbrella hole in any of our coated tablecloths).

Rectangular Coated Tablecloths

Most coated tablecloths are made of printed, plain-woven cotton. Coated Jacquard-woven tablecloths do exist, but they are much less common than printed coated cotton tablecloths. (Note: most Jacquard-woven tablecloths are Teflon-treated, not acrylic coated - Teflon treatment and acrylic coating are not the same thing). Because most coated tablecloths are made of printed cotton, many of them have beautiful, colorful, detailed designs.

Round Coated Tablecloth

Coated cotton tablecloths are not the same as vinyl tablecloths. Coated tablecloths have a subtle sheen to them but are not glaringly shiny like vinyl tablecloths. They also have a more natural, less "plasticky" feel than vinyl tablecloths. Although vinyl tablecloths are often referred to as "oilcloth" these days, neither vinyl nor acrylic coated tablecloths are true oilcloth in the original sense of the word. And finally, acrylic coated tablecloths do not contain PVC (polyvinyl chloride) like vinyl tablecloths do.

Green Striped Coated Tablecloth

Acrylic-coated tablecloths only need to be machine-washed rarely if ever. If needed they can be washed on a cold or warm setting and hang-dried (don't put them in the dryer). If desired they can be ironed on the uncoated side only before use.

Click here to see our selection of coated tablecloths.

 


Lavender December 8, 2015

The ancient Romans used wild lavender from Provence to freshen their laundry and perfume their baths. In the Middle Ages it was used to make perfumes and medicines. In the 19th century the cultivation of lavender was greatly expanded, driven in large part by the establishment and growth of the perfume industry in the area of Grasse. Today the production of lavender and its essential oils is an important part of the economy of Provence. When you are in Provence you will see it growing wild, cultivated in large fields, and growing in private gardens.

And whenever you feel you can get away with it, you must do the following thing:

  • locate a stem with a nice, plump, juicy bloom of little purple flowers
  • grip the stem gently between your thumb and forefinger, below the level of the flowers
  • slide your hand briskly up the stem, stripping the flowers off into the palm of your hand
  • rub your hands together vigorously, thereby crushing the little purple flowers
  • cup your hands together, stick your nose in them, inhale deeply through the nose

Click on the link below to see a few tablecloths with lavender motifs.

Tablecloths with Lavender Motifs

 


Sénanque December 1, 2015

The Abbey of Senanque (L'Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque) is a Cistercian monastery founded in 1148 and located not far from the village of Gordes. The abbey is tucked away in a small valley between steep ridges, surrounded by fields of lavender that are cultivated by the monks who live there. When you stand near the abbey and look at it you are overwhelmed by its harmonious architecture, its dramatic setting, its ancient history, and its deep spirituality.

 

Click on the link below to see a few tablecloths with harmonious designs that remind us of the Abbey of Senanque.

Senanque Tablecloths


Olives November 24, 2015

Olive BranchThe Latin name for the olive tree is Olea Europa. Although there is fossil evidence that wild olive trees have existed in Provence since prehistoric times (8000 BC), the cultivation of domestic olive trees was introduced into present-day Provence by the ancient Greeks (and more specifically the Phocians, the founders of Marseille) around the 6th century BC. The cultivation and exploitation of olives was expanded during the Roman era and has continued to the present day.

Olives in MarketWhen you are in Provence, you will be surrounded by olives, in all three of their naturally occurring states: solid, liquid and tree. Almost everything you eat will contain, be cooked in, or be accompanied by: olives. In the markets you will see gorgeous displays of beautiful, delicious olives of all colors, races and religions. On the hills and slopes you will see terraces of silvery-green olive trees that are hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of years old. You will dip your bread in olive oil, and spread olive "tapenade" on it. If you stay in Provence long enough, you will find yourself tasting, appreciating, comparing and thinking about olive oils the same way many people taste, appreciate and compare wines.

Click on the link below to see some tablecloths with olive motifs. These tablecloths remind us of the ancient linkage between olives and Provence. 

Tablecloths with Olive Motifs

 


French Tablecloth Designs November 21, 2015

If you've read our French Tablecloths 101 article then you already know a bit about the different kinds of design styles for French tablecloths. In this post we're going to make you know even more about them.

There are basically two kinds of tablecloth designs: "placed designs" and "linear designs".

Placed Designs

In a placed design the visual design is made to fit a certain size and shape of tablecloth exactly. For this reason a tablecloth with a placed design cannot be adjusted to a different size (because doing so would spoil the visual design). Placed designs can be round or rectangular (including square, of course).

Rectangular Placed Design French Tablecloth

 

Round Placed Design French Tablecloth

 

Linear Designs

In a linear design the visual design is repetitive, normally along both the length and width of the tablecloth. Because of the repetitive nature of the design pattern, a tablecloth with a linear design can normally be adjusted to a custom size (length and/or width). Linear designs that are more or less continuous along one axis (typically the length) and repetitive along the other axis are known as "striped" designs. Linear designs that are repetitive along both axes are known as "all over" designs. Linear designs can also be round or rectangular in shape.

Striped Linear Design

 You can click on the following links to see tablecloths with placed, striped, and "all over" designs.

Tablecloths with Placed Designs

Tablecloths with Striped Linear Designs

Tablecloths with "All Over" Linear Designs

 


Acrylic Coated Jacquard Tablecloths November 17, 2015

In previous blog posts we've told you about acrylic coated printed cotton tablecloths and Teflon treated Jacquard tablecloths. So today, just to confuse you even more, we're going to tell you about acrylic coated Jacquard tablecloths. They do exist, although they are not as common as their acrylic-coated-printed or Teflon-treated-Jacquard cousins. 

Acrylic Coated Jacquard Tablecloth

The acrylic coated Jacquard tablecloths combine the beauty and elegance of a Jacquard tablecloth with the practicality of a coated tablecloth. Like all acrylic coated tablecloths, they are stain resistant and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth or sponge. Ours come in a selection of rich, luxurious colors and feature a subtle, Damask style pattern with an olive branch motif. They have an understated elegance that will complement virtually any style of tableware.


French Tablecloths 101! December 28, 2014

French Tablecloths 101An Introductory Level Course on the History, Material, Design, Sizing and Care of French Provençal Tablecloths.

Today we're going to give you a crash course in French Provençal tablecloths.  So get out your notebook and sharpen your pencil, because class is in session!

Curriculum
History
Material
Design
Sizing
Care

Final Exam

History
The history of Provençal fabrics is long and "colorful," as it were.  It began in the mid-17th century (circa 1650), when the Armenian immigrant community in Marseille began importing colorful printed cotton fabrics from India and Persia into Provence through the port of Marseille. In 1664 the Compagnie Française pour le Commerce des Indes Orientales (the French East India Company), founded by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, French Minister of Finance under Louis XIV, began importing them in large quantities and selling them to the French aristocracy. Very shortly thereafter (within about 5 years), the workers in Marseille had learned to manufacture these beautiful printed cotton fabrics themselves and began to create their own adaptations using traditional Provençal colors and motifs.

But no history of Provençal tablecloths would be complete without a fond mention of Joseph Marie Jacquard, an 18th century French inventor who developed a semi-automatic loom that made it commercially practical to weave extremely complex designs into fabrics.  This innovation enabled the artisans of Provence to expand the tradition to include woven designs as well as printed designs. As an interesting side note, Jacquard's idea of using punched cards to automate mechanical processes was later used by Charles Babbage to design a mechanical calculating machine that is generally considered to be an early precursor to today's programmable computers. This idea was further refined and expanded upon by Alan Turing and others.

Joseph Marie Jacquard

 

 

 

 

 

Material
In terms of material, modern Provençal tablecloths are normally made either of Jacquard double-woven cotton or printed plain-woven cotton.  In a Jacquard tablecloth the design is woven into the fabric.  In a printed cotton tablecloth the design is printed onto the fabric.  Because they are double-woven, the Jacquard tablecloths are thicker than the printed cotton tablecloths, but they are very soft and supple.

Most modern French Jacquard tablecloths are treated (not coated) with a Teflon based product that makes them resistant to stains and easy to get clean in the wash while allowing them to feel like natural cotton and to "drape" very nicely over the edges of a table. Jacquard tablecloths are quite elegant and are typically used on dining room tables. 

Most printed cotton French tablecloths are available in either natural (uncoated) cotton or coated cotton. The coated models have a light acrylic coating on the "top" side that protects them from stains and makes them easy to wipe clean, so they almost never need to be put in the washing machine.  Acrylic coated tablecloths are very practical for everyday use and are often used on kitchen, deck or patio tables.

Jacquard TableclothPrinted Tablecloth

Note: As you explore the exciting world of French tablecloths you may run across the term "French oilcloth".  Oilcloth (toile cirée in French) was originally made from heavy cotton canvas or linen fabric that was repeatedly saturated with boiled linseed oil and dried. In the 1950s the original oilcloth tablecloths were replaced by synthetic versions made of vinyl. These vinyl tablecloths are still available and are still often marketed as “oilcloth tablecloths".  For more information see our blog posts French Oilcloth vs Coated Cotton Tablecloths and PVC Free Tablecloths.

Design
There are basically four kinds of designs that are used on French tablecloths: motif placé, all over*, rayure, and cadré.

* Yes, they really say "all over" in French, albeit with a French accent. Disturbingly, it's sometimes written as one word ("allover").

Motif placé (sometimes called dessin placé or simply placé) means "placed design".  In a motif placé tablecloth the design is made to fit a certain size tablecloth exactly. Many motif placé tablecloths have a decorative design element in the center of the tablecloth and a set of concentric design elements around the edge that create a visual border that typically highlights the part of the tablecloth that hangs over the sides of the table. Because the design is made to fit a certain size, a motif placé tablecloth cannot be altered or adjusted to a custom size.

Motif Placé Tablecloth

An all over tablecloth has a design element that is repeated uniformly over the entire surface of the tablecloth.  The repeated design element can be a geometric shape or a decorative motif. Because the design pattern is repetitive, an all over tablecloth can sometimes be made or adjusted to a custom size.

All Over Tablecloth

Rayure means "stripe," and a rayure tablecloth has a striped design pattern.  In Provençal designs the stripes are typically created by alternating a linearly repetitive decorative motif with a geometric pattern or a solid color.  Striped tablecloths can also be made or adjusted to a custom size.

Striped Tablecloth

Cadré means "framed" or "bordered".  A cadré tablecloth has a decorative border that is sewn onto the edge of the tablecloth.

Bordered Tablecloth

See this post for more detailed information about French tablecloth designs.

Sizing
When it comes to sizing up a tablecloth, it’s all about the “drop” – the length of the overhang. Drop length is largely a matter of personal taste, but for a table that’s used for sit-down dining you generally want a drop of between 8” and 15”. Longer drops are considered more formal, shorter drops are considered more casual (you will often see longer drops on a dining room table than on a kitchen table, for example). On a rectangular table ideally you want the drop on the ends of the table to be the same as the drop on the sides. In the real world they don’t have to be exactly the same, but you want them to be within a few inches of each other if at all possible.

 As a point of reference, the drop on the red and brown tablecloth below is about 10.5”. The drop on the yellow and blue tablecloth is about 14.5”.

Red Tablecloth

The best way to pick a tablecloth is to calculate your “ideal” tablecloth size and then pick a tablecloth that’s as close as possible to that size. To calculate your “ideal” tablecloth size:

  1. Decide what length “drop” you want (H).

  2. Measure your table. Yes, this means finding the measuring tape – we could even be talking about a trip to the basement here. If your table is round, measure it’s diameter (D). If it’s rectangular, oval or oblong, measure it’s length (L) and width (W). (Note: for oval and oblong tables, measure them at their longest and widest points).

  3. Calculate your ideal tablecloth size using one of the following formulas:

    Round Tables
    Ideal Tablecloth Diameter = D + 2H

    Rectangular, Oval, or Oblong Tables
    Ideal Tablecloth Length = L + 2H
    Ideal Tablecloth Width = W + 2H

  4. Pick a tablecloth that’s as close as possible to your ideal tablecloth size. If in doubt, pick the bigger one.

Care
Teflon-treated Jacquard tablecloths are normally machine-washed on a "warm" setting.  They can be (a) tumbled-dried on a "less dry" setting, (b) hang-dried (e.g. over the shower curtain bar), (c) partially tumble-dried and then hang-dried, or (d) all of the above. They can be ironed on one or both sides prior to use if desired.

Uncoated cotton tablecloths can be machine-washed and tumble-dried and ironed on one or both sides if desired.

Acrylic-coated tablecloths can be wiped clean with a cloth or a sponge and a mild cleaning agent, and only need to be machine-washed rarely if ever. If necessary they can be machine-washed on a cold or warm setting and hang-dried (do not tumble-dry them in a machine).  If desired they can be ironed on the uncoated side only before use.

See our Care and Feeding page for detailed care instructions.

 

Take the Final Exam for a 15% Discount!

Congratulations!  You are now an expert on the subject of French Tablecloths.  Click here to take the French Tablecloths 101 Final Exam and get a Discount Code for a 15% discount on your next purchase from our web site!

French Tablecloths 101 Final Exam

 


Southern Fried French! October 25, 2014

Everyone who has sold their stuff, picked up their bags, and moved to a foreign country knows that it is a monumental, life-changing, beaudacious experience.  Once you get over the newness and the jet-lag you realize that you have plucked yourself out of a world where you understand pretty much everything and dropped yourself into a world where you don’t understand hardly anything: not the language, not the culture, not even the food.  Even things that should be comfortingly familiar (milk, bread, coffee) are disconcertingly different. You eventually realize that you are playing a game where everyone except you knows the rules.  You are truly a stranger in a strange land.

In our experience people react to this situation in one of two ways: they either heartily embrace it or they heartily reject it.  Some people construct elaborate cultural bubbles of language, food and people from their homeland and live inside them for years.  Other people “go native”.  They learn the language, customs and culture.  They try the food.  They make new friends.  In short, they really live in the place where they are living.

Lynn McBride and her husband Ron are of the latter persuasion.  Over ten years ago they left their home in Charleston, SC and installed themselves in an apartment on the top floor of a tower in a gorgeous medieval château in a tiny hamlet deep in the countryside of southern Burgundy (yes, they went whole-hog).  They opened their hearts and minds and embraced the adventure of learning to live in France, and Lynn has captured the essence of that experience in her wonderful blog Southern Fried French ("A South Carolinian’s beau-dacious new life, Living and cooking in a medieval château"). 

In this blog you will find vivid, deeply personal, often touching descriptions of life in Burgundy written in a beautiful, accessible, colorful style that reflects the best elements of the Southeastern American spirit: elegance, gentility, straightforwardness, and a bit of self-deprecating fun.  You’ll also find unusually accurate descriptions of French culture and customs along with surprisingly authentic French recipes (virtually every post includes a little bit of both).  But, perhaps even more significantly, you’ll get a glimpse into the soul of a person who has left everything she knows behind and learned to live in a strange and wonderful new land, without ever forgetting who she is or where she came from.


The Provence Post! October 19, 2014

If you're  a fan of Provence and have heard of Google, you know that there are lots of blogs about Provence. Lots of them. And many of them are quite good. But if you're looking for a blog that reads like a magazine and is updated regularly with tons of useful information and in-depth articles written by a professional writer, you need to check out The Provence Post. This blog is written by Julie Mautner, an accomplished (and prolific) food and travel writer, editor and author who has been living in Provence "on and off" (we suspect more on than off) since 1999. Like all good writers, Julie writes about things she knows well and really cares about, like food, restaurants, French cooking, wine, photography, art, design, architecture, decor, gardening, books, inviting places, interesting people, and worthwhile experiences. And if you like what she writes about so much that you just have to go to Provence to experience it yourself, she can plan your trip to Provence for you as well!

The Provence Post


French Tablecloth Sizes! September 6, 2014

Size and AailabilityFrench tablecloths come in a variety of sizes.  When they're born over in France their sizes are measured in centimeters (cm).  When they emigrate to the US their sizes get translated into inches.

Our round tablecloths come in two sizes: 63" (160 cm) or 71" (180 cm) in diameter. Our rectangular tablecloths come in a range of standard sizes, as shown in the tables below.

Note that not all tablecloths are available in all sizes. Click on one of the links below for detailed sizing and availability information.

Sizing and Availability for Teflon Treated Jacquard Tablecloths

Sizing and Availability for Acrylic Coated Jacquard Tablecloths

 

Sizes for 63" Wide French Tablecloths 

Size in InchesSize in CentimetersSeating
63" x 63" 160 x 160 4 people
63" x 79" 160 x 200 4-6 people
63" x 98" 160 x 250 6-8 people
63" x 118" 160 x 300 8-10 people
63" x 138" 160 x 350 10-12 people
63" x 157" 160 x 400 12-14 people

 

Sizes for 71" Wide French Tablecloths 

Size in InchesSize in CentimetersSeating
71" x 71" 180 x 180 4 people
71" x 98" 180 x 250 6-8 people
71" x 118" 180 x 300 8-10 people
71" x 138" 180 x 350 10-12 people

 

 


Round Coated Tablecloth with Umbrella Hole! August 28, 2014

 

Here's a picture of one of our Ramatuelle Ecru round, coated cotton tablecloths in action.  This one happens to be relaxing on a cast iron table on a deck in New England on a late summer afternoon.  (If you look closely you can see the white plastic grommet around the umbrella hole in the center of the tablecloth).

You would be amazed at how putting a beautiful French tablecloth on a deck or patio table transforms the outdoor lunching or dining experience.  I'm not sure you can really understand what I mean until you actually try it. But there's something about the look and feel of these tablecloths that makes eating outside feel special and elegant but also somehow... normal.  And the fact that you can just wipe them clean when you're done makes the experience even more enjoyable!

Note: we can put an umbrella hole with a plastic grommet (ring) in any of our printed tablecloths at no extra charge. Just order the tablecloth you want and send us an email saying that you'd like an umbrella hole in it.


French Tablecloths in Canada! July 7, 2014

Canada FlagWe often get asked if we can ship our products to Canada.  In the past we’ve had to say “no” to these requests because our systems and processes were not set up to handle exportation to Canada (or to any country other than the US, for that matter).  But… they are now!

So, we are delighted to announce that we are open for business in Canada!

We ship to Canada via the United States Postal Service (USPS).  Once the products cross the border they are transferred to Canada Post for local delivery in Canada.  We offer a number of USPS international shipping options including USPS First-Class Package International Service, Priority Mail International, and Priority Mail Express International.  Of these three, USPS First-Class Package International Service is the least expensive (but it will also take longer than the Priority Mail services).  You can select the shipping option you want to use during the Checkout process on our web site.

When we ship to Canada we ship “Carriage Paid To” (CPT) the address you give us when you submit your order.  What this means is we only charge you for (and only pay for) the cost of shipment itself.  Our shipping charges do not include any costs of importation (e.g. customs duties, taxes) that the Canadian (or provincial) government may impose - you are responsible for paying these when you receive the products.  When we prepare a shipment to Canada we include all the documents and information needed for importation.

Welcome, Canada!

 


French Tablecloths with Umbrella Holes! June 28, 2014

Patio TableSummer is upon us, and if you're eyeballing your patio table thinking it would look awfully nice with a beautiful Provençal tablecloth under its umbrella, well, we can help. We can put an umbrella hole in any of our printed cotton tablecloths, round or rectangular, coated or uncoated.

When we put an umbrella hole in a tablecloth we use a plastic grommet (a ring) to give a hard edge to the hole and protect the fabric from damage. The grommets we use have an interior diameter of 1½ inches and come in several colors.  If you'd like us to put an umbrella hole in a tablecloth, just contact us and let us know, and we'll be happy to do it, free of charge.

Vive le trou!

 


French Tablecloth in Action! June 16, 2014

We just received a nice picture and a note from one of our customers (Kim) showing one of our French tablecloths in action, and we thought we'd share it with you. This is our Esterel Safran rectangular tablecloth in coated cotton, 63" x 118", on a rectangular table with rounded corners.  Looks good!

Bonjour Laurence,

I took my new tablecloth out to our cottage today and it looks beautiful. I have attached a few photos to show you why I had to have that exact pattern. It matches my dishes so beautifully. And also, thank you so much for the nice accompanying bread basket. That was very thoughtful of you and we will give it much use!

With much appreciation!

Kim

 


Teflon Treated vs Acrylic Coated Tablecloths May 31, 2014

We recently had a customer who wanted to return one of our tablecloths because she didn't believe it was really Teflon treated.  She thought we sent her an untreated tablecloth by mistake.  The reason she thought that was because the tablecloth felt so much like natural, untreated cotton.  So we decided it was high time to write a blog post about Teflon treated versus acrylic coated tablecloths.

Teflon Treated Tablecloths
All of our Jacquard tablecloths are treated with a product called DuPont Teflon Fabric Protector that causes liquids to bead up and roll off of them, thus making them resistant to spills and stains and easy to wash and dry. With this kind of treatment the protective product permeates all the fibers of the cloth (rather than being applied only to the surface of the fabric).  This allows the cloth to retain its suppleness and to "drape" over the corners of a table in a very natural, elegant way.  Basically these Teflon treated tablecloths look and feel like natural, untreated, woven cotton.  These Teflon treated Jacquard tablecloths are very popular for dining room tables because they are both elegant and practical.

Acrylic Coated Tablecloths
Most of our printed cotton tablecloths are available in coated cotton (as well as uncoated cotton).  The coated versions have a clear, thin acrylic coating applied to the surface on one side of the tablecloth that makes them highly resistant to spills and stains and very easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge and a mild cleaning agent. These coated tablecloths are incredibly practical for everyday use and virtually never need to be washed in a washing machine.  They're perfect for kitchen tables, breakfast tables and also for outdoor (e.g. patio or deck) tables. Although they don't feel quite as natural as Teflon treated tablecloths, they do feel much more natural and much less "plasticky" than vinyl tablecloths.  And, because these tablecloths feature designs that are printed onto the fabric (rather then woven into it), they are available in a number of bright, beautiful, highly detailed designs.

 


PVC Free Tablecloths March 25, 2014

PVC Free TableclothsBack in January I wrote a blog post called French Oilcloth vs Coated Cotton Tablecloths.  In that article I told you that the vast majority of tablecloths that are marketed and sold as "oilcloth" are made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), aka vinyl, and I alluded to the health and environmental hazards posed by PVC. Without getting into the details of the dangers of PVC in general or vinyl tablecloths in particular, I do want to make it clear that all of our tablecloths are 100% PVC free.

For more information about the health and environmental risks associated with PVC, visit the following sites:
Reports on the Hazards of Vinyl, the Poison Plastic
Sam Suds and the Case of PVC
Health Risks of PVC 
Reduce your use of PVC in Plastics and other Household Products


French Tablecloth Family Tree March 25, 2014

French TableclothWe sometimes get asked what kinds of French tablecloths we sell, so we decided to go ahead and blog it out there.  It's really pretty simple.  As you can see in the diagram, we have two broad categories of French tablecloths: Jacquard French tablecloths and Printed Cotton French tablecloths. 

In a Jacquard French tablecloth the pattern is woven into the fabric.  All of our Jacquard French tablecloths are treated with a Teflon based product which protects them from spills and stains but allows them to retain the soft, warm feel of natural cotton and to drape elegantly over any table.

In a printed cotton French tablecloth the pattern is printed onto the fabric, which allows for bold, beautiful, finely detailed designs.  Many of our printed cotton French tablecloths are available in either "uncoated" cotton or "coated" cotton.  The coated cotton models are coated with an acrylic based product that makes them virtually impervious to stains and really easy to wipe clean.  They are very easy to take care of and great for kitchen tables and outdoor patio tables.

See the following blog posts to learn more about French tablecloths:

French Tablecloths 101!

Teflon Treated vs Acrylic Coated Tablecloths

 

French Tablecloths 101!