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Vintage French Linen – To Have And To Hold

Sharon, HiP Paris friend and the author behind “My French Country Home”, has a lovely blog about the pastoral delights of living in the French countryside with her husband, children and… horses?? Yes, it’s true. She seems to live the dream! Here is a post about vintage French linen. For those of us lucky enough to have slid between genuine vintage linen sheets on a hot summer evening, her pictures and narrative bring back blissfully cool memories!

French Country Home

I’ve already told you how much I love old French linen, well today I’m really excited because  this weekend I’ve been able to find several unusually beautiful bed sheets to put into my etsy shop.

One of my really great pleasures in life is slipping into bed between freshly pressed linen sheets.  Best of all vintage linen.  I love the weight of the linen, the soft smooth texture, the way they feel cool in the summer and warm and comforting in winter.  I never sleep better than in old French sheets.

French Country Home Linen

Today it is still possible to come across bed linen, over 100 years old, and in perfect condition.  If you are lucky it’s monogrammed, if you’re very lucky you get ladder work, lace or other embroidery too.  Sometimes there are slight signs of wear, or even a tiny and perfectly darned hole, to me this just adds to the charm.

Traditionally the most beautiful sheets were embroidered as part of a young girl’s trousseau.  The wealthier the family, the more ornate the handwork,  and the finer the weave of the metis, or cotton and linen mix.  There are few places today who produce such fine and long lasting materials. Continue Reading »

Posted in Homes, Shopping | 6 Comments »

Market Shopping: Marché des Enfants Rouges

Marché des Enfants RougesMeg Zimbeck

If you enjoy the Marais and are a history buff or a market troll, you must take the time to discover the oldest market in Paris : le Marché des Enfants Rouges.

First off, a little history to get everyone situated. Marguerite de Navarre, sister of King François the 1st and mother of King Henri the 4th (who was the one to end the religious wars that had been bloodying France), was a very well educated, politically engaged and charitable member of the royal family. In 1534 she had an orphanage constructed in what is now the Marais whose little pensioners were dressed in red as a symbol of their status. The orphanage was closed in the beginning of the 17th century and in 1615 was transformed into a market dubbed the Marché des Enfants Rouges (market of red children) to commemorate the charitable establishment that had occupied the site for almost a century.

Marché des Enfants RougesMeg Zimbeck

It remains a market today and has been on the list of national historical monuments since 1982. Today, neighborhood locals still congregate to shop for produce and fresh products, to have a coffee and to converse with other locals, old-timers and merchants. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Shopping | 12 Comments »