When customers ask our staff for a French Tablecloth sometimes referring to it as ‘a French Bistro Tablecloth’,or even more generally as a ‘French Country tablecloth’, more often than not, they mean a “French Provençal” tablecloth.
Just as the south of France is defined by its colour, azure blue skies, the deep purple of lavender fields, olive orchards, bright yellow sunflowers and lemons, ruby red poppy fields, the turquoise Mediterranean and wine dark grapes in the vineyards, many decorators and homeowners are looking to bring those colors into their homes and cuisines. And all of this can be done—or at least started, with the simple addition of a French Provencal or country tablecloth. Known for bringing color, light, brightness, even sophistication to your room, these wonderfully, uniquely special tablecloths say “bienvenue, sit down, enjoy a glass of wine” to all when they enter the room.
Available in a multitude of shapes in all sizes, and now-a-days options regarding coated versus non-coated fabrics, their popularity continues to grow each year as more and more people realize it is an easy, inexpensive, and quick way to change the entire look of your room. As a result, we are seeing these tablecloths used in homes, bistros, and cafés alike due to durability, diverse colors, and overall versatility due to the availability of acrylic-coated cottons.
Origins in France
Often inspired by the lush French gardens and colors typically found in the south of France, these tablecloths were first produced throughout France during the seventeenth century using the same methods and designs of imported fabrics from India. In 1686, the French Royalty stopped the importation of the Indian fabric but, because Provence was not on royal land, production continued there and grew over the next two hundred years, with factories in Orange, Avignon, and Aix, to name a few.
Today, these linens and fabrics, which were originally used as women’s shawls, are now mostly used for interior decoration, and are brilliantly multi-colored prints in kaleidoscopic floral and geometric patterns.
The Great Invention of the Acrylic-Coated Cotton Tablecloth
The invention of a quality acrylic-coated cotton French country or Provençal tablecloth was met with delight by lovers of French décor universally. This coating is wonderfully stain-repellent, and any spillage can simply be blotted or wiped up with a damp cloth. This makes this tablecloth ideal for high traffic areas such as the kitchen, buffet dinners, homes with children, and for use in restaurants and cafés. The great thing about this coating is that although there is a light sheen to the tablecloth, because the tablecloth itself is made of cotton (and not plastic or oilcloth) the tablecloth drapes properly at the corners and it doesn’t stick out at awkward angles. This makes them, as the French say, “le choix parfait” –the perfect choice.
So, if you’re not going to be in Provence soon, and you want to inject some southern French sunshine into your decor, think French Provence Tablecloths.