French Antique Linens

March 21, 2011

french antique coffee pot

I ended up visiting several brocantes on Saturday but was feeling particularly shy about taking photos (what’s up with that?), so I only have a few pics to share.

antique french linens

My very favorite thing was the stacks and stacks of French kitchen linens at many of the shops. I told Ben Blair that linens like these (and assorted yogurt cups) are the main souvenir I want to bring home. They are gorgeous!

If you were living in France, what sorts of things would you bring home with you?

antique french linens

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Monica March 21, 2011 at 4:33 am

Oh France….on my last trip there I came across a little market like that as well, and I was amazed at all the stuff you can find. These linens look beautiful, and I know exactly what yogourt cups you are talking about, I made my sister bring me 6 more when she went to France. I remember they had the most adorable cups and saucers, and teapots, but other decorations as well. It was impossible to choose, Maybe that’s why I didn’t buy anything that day, I was so overwhelmed. But I would fill my suitcases with cheese and pasteries!


2 Jill V. March 21, 2011 at 5:26 am

Love any type of rustic linens. Especially ones that have a European farm look to them. These are perfect! Can you pick up a few for me too? ;)

Thanks for sharing!


3 Bente March 21, 2011 at 5:49 am

The kitchen linens are georgeous! When we lived in France there was a marked next to our appartment every Wednesday. We brought home lots of pottery. We still have it and use it every day :)

Keep enjoying your time in France! Time runs fast…


4 P.B. Lecron at A French Education March 21, 2011 at 6:22 am

Feeling shy? You were probably just tuning into the local savoir vivre. Often times people here will expect you to ask permission before taking photos of their goods or property, especially in the not very touristy areas. But asking is a great icebreaker, especially if you have a charming American accent!


5 Caitlin in MD March 21, 2011 at 6:47 am

I’ve only been to France once. I was only 20 year old, without a lot of $, so I carefully chose a piece of jewelry – I wanted something to remember the trip by. But I also went to a supermarket on the outskirt of Paris and bought a bunch of chocolate bars. Nothing fancy, but it was still much more delicious than any candy bar you can buy in the states.


6 Anne March 21, 2011 at 7:28 am

Cheese. WE brought home an entire huge wheel of Raclette once. Sooo good!


7 Elaine D March 21, 2011 at 7:28 am

I’ve never been to France, but could you pick me up those two tea/coffee pots in the first picture and 8 of those gorgeous linens, please?? ;) Hope you’re having a wonderful time!


8 Alli March 21, 2011 at 7:57 am

I am so jealous. send some my way !
lovely pictures too.
Thank you for linking my post the other day :)


9 Denise Laborde March 21, 2011 at 8:05 am

Hi Gabby,
I love all the linens we find here too. My favorite are Jean Vier ( It’s a French Basque brand and I love the colors and the signature stripes :). Major soft spot for the tablecloths, napkins and tea towels. The latter make nice hostess gifts.
Maybe you were feeling shy because the vendors might not approve? Happens to me – so I ask. Sometimes they say no.


10 JourneyBeyondSurvival March 21, 2011 at 8:14 am

I would bring home art. And clothes of course. Oh, and I absolutely love the fixtures that they make in Europe. Sort of the recycled industrial look that is used in the commercial buildings with plaster falling away from red brick. I love the way new and old are combined especially in Italy.


11 Natalie Chiles March 21, 2011 at 8:24 am

If I could return to France today, I would head to the Mediterranean where my friend’s husband is a tiling artisan. He tiles stores, homes, public places- anything- with beautiful French tiles that are typical of the region- beautiful yellows and blues, gorgeous, intricate patterns. I would pack him and his tiles up and bring them here to work on our old house to pep it up a bit. I’d bring his wife, too- I miss her. :-) If you find yourself venturing south to the coast, please let me know- I’m so envious of your adventure!


12 Marielle March 21, 2011 at 9:08 am

I’ve accumulated a nice supply of spices–Albert Menes–in clear glass 5″ bottles with a beige lid. I display them on a black floating shelf against the backsplash next to my stove. I got them at Shopi and Carrefour.

Tin bag clips from the BHV. They didn’t have more when I looked last December.

Kitchen utensils and bakeware from E.Dehrillerin and Mora.

Rhodia “bloc” notepads from the BHV; and this time Clairefontaine refills and covers from our local stationaire (librairie) bookshop in Mougins.

Révillon chocolates–foil-wrapped. Very festive.


13 Robyn March 21, 2011 at 9:19 am

Every time my mom goes to France she brings back French Linen dish towels–she can’t have enough of them!


14 Nicole March 21, 2011 at 9:24 am

Cafe au lait bowls!


15 raleigh-elizabeth March 21, 2011 at 10:01 am

oilcloth. i keep thinking of all these 80 useful things i could do with it here, in the patterns you can get there that aren’t as heinous/jo ann fabricsy as the ones you can get here… and then i get there, ooh and ahh over them, and forget to buy any and don’t realize it until it’s airport day and i’m en route home. buy oilcloth.


16 Laura Zarrin March 21, 2011 at 10:01 am

The linens for sure, but I am head over heals in love with that white coffee pot in your photo? I must have one. Is it too unreasonable to go to France just to pick it up? :) I am so enjoying living in France vicariously through you. Thanks so much for sharing!


17 deborah@applesinwonderland March 21, 2011 at 10:28 am

how much space do i have? on this comment section and in a suitcase:) love the antique linens. especially with indigo stripes or monograms. and millinery items. old buttons and charms (especially from old rosaries) and french flash cards. but, i’m a sucker for chairs, too. :)


18 r8chel March 21, 2011 at 10:49 am

My goodness – those coffee pots are amazing! They wouldn’t fit in with my decor at all, but they’re so striking!


19 Maria Ortiz-Cintron March 21, 2011 at 11:29 am

I would definitely bring home copper molds and pots!!


20 natalie March 21, 2011 at 11:34 am

buy the linens! My regret when I was in Paris last summer is not buying a set for the table… the price was a little more than I wanted to spend that day, but now that I am back home, I’m all mad at myself and I don’t think the price was that bad!


21 grace March 21, 2011 at 11:36 am

I love the linens. But the yogurt cups are still my favorite!


22 Tiffany March 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I’m headed to France next week for a vacation and now I want to fill my bags with these linens. What a great idea! I love souvenirs that get seen and used around the house.


23 bdaiss March 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I suspect I’d need a year in France to make up my mind just a few things to take home. Or a much bigger house upon our return. I’m guessing #1 art, #2 linens/fabric, #3 wine and cheese, #4 jewelry.

Love those linens.


24 Kate March 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I always go for the linens – beautiful, and easy to get home! I also look for great (useful) pottery and affordable art.


25 sarah March 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm

these kitchen towels are so pretty. i wonder if they wash up well too.


26 alexandra March 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm

lovely linens! I’ve only been to France once, and at the time I was only 12…so, what did I bring home? A Spice Girls movie, and some platform shoes. I have no idea what adult me would return to the states with, but definitely some of those pretty linens ;)


27 Meagan March 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I went to Paris 3 years ago on a European backpacking spree, so I didn’t have a lot of money or space to carry things around with me. The one thing I found irresistable was the art! They have so many vendors along the Seine by Notre Dame and I got my first real oil painting of the Moulin Rouge for 15 Euro. Art is a great keepsake from travels and it’s so easy to mail home in a tube. I accumulated 5 or 6 paintings by local artists of everywhere I went and I am constantly being asked where I got them because they truly are one of a kind.


28 Porsche March 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Antique french buttons, vintage keys (I know, so anthro), vintage french clothes. You could have soooo much fun with that. In a book I read (A Vintage Affair), a lady who struggled with infertility finally got pregnant after her husband bought her some vintage lingerie (unused) from a antique shop. I would be haunting the antique shops and the flea markets. Oh yeah. I hope you get some awesome things, Gabby. And you can always sell extras on ebay once you get back to the states.


29 ShaynnaB March 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I feel the same about taking pics in the shops so I always ask permission – I do get a few knock backs but once they say yes I feel quite liberated! Love what you have taken already. More please (sorry, feeling greedy as I had to postpone my Paris trip till next year)


30 Meghan Beutler March 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm

I would bring home scores of linens also. I remember when I traveled to Europe with my mom when I was 18, she brought home either French or Italian linens and I thought she was insane at the time. Now, I’d pay good money to have gorgeous linens all over my house. They are by far my biggest indulgence.


31 Cynthia March 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I would definitely love to bring home some french paintings…. ~sigh~ Someday I will go.


32 Tricia @ {every}nothing wonderful March 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I audibly gasped at that pile of linens! What would I bring home? THAT! And the yogurt cups. Wouldn’t mind some other dairy glassware either. Love!


33 sara stubbert March 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I adore french linens, especially tea towels. So how much did all of these towels cost (price range)? Wow, I really need to visit France…:)


34 alison dear March 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I always brought home candles from Diptyque and tea from Mariage Freres, although I think you can get them here, but they’re quite pricey. There is also a wonderful soap brand called Le Pere Pelletier with soap in galvanized boxes. I absolutely love mine and wish I had bought more. Ditto copper pots!

LOVE your linens, admittedly a bit jaloux :).


35 Lissa March 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Love the linens so much. French linens+filled backbacks=love! When I was in Paris 12 years ago I bought 6 beautifully embroidered sachet covers. I’ve replaced the lavender a few times and still have happy memories of that day. I do laugh now though–Gorgeous shop and my American self bouncing in to enthusiastically gaze at everything. Perhaps due to my remembering to politely say bonjour, the owner was so nice to me and willing to pull various things out the window for me to look at.


36 Kara March 21, 2011 at 7:39 pm

How to choose?! If I had to narrow it down, I think it’d be: linens, like the ones you spotted; art/paintings; small glass bottles; and the ability to speak French fluently!


37 Bridgette March 21, 2011 at 8:00 pm

So, are these linens expensive?


38 Misty March 21, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Your photographs of the linens are so good! Do they feel as soft as they look? I don’t think you could have too many of these in a linen closet.

If I went to France again (I went once when I was 18) I would buy more of the woven market basket bags to bring home. Like these ones at When I went as a teenager, my girlfriend described them to me and begged me to bring her one back. I bought one for her and one for me and we both used them for years.


39 Béa March 22, 2011 at 7:22 am

Eau Précieuse, Essence Algérienne, Papier d’Arménie, Chocolat pour pâtisseries, madeleines, magazines, Melfor, gold and silver thick markers, Lentilles vertes du Puy etc.


40 Jan @ Family Bites March 22, 2011 at 7:54 am

On my last trip to Paris I brought home a madeleine pan and a French rolling pin. I absolutely adore, and often use, both of them.


41 Joana March 22, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I would take tapenade (love olives) to eat with toast! and all the different kinds of salt! the black one is great! Marseille soap liquid or a bar! and linens and would definitely teach them how to curse in french! somehow it’s not as bad if we say it like they do!!!
bonne semaine! bisous!


42 Jennifer March 22, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I am holding on to the hope that we can bring back my childrens’ double schoolboy desk, pictured here:

We now live in a different apartment and have it facing in towards the room, which is better. We also now have two children and they both love to draw there.
When we first moved to France we lived in a furnished house and they had a single school desk and my son loved it, so when we moved it was the first thing that I looked for (not too hard to find for pickup/ remisse en main on craigslist or leboncoin).


43 March 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm

i am with you on the linens! those are lovely. i’d spring for those, definitely. i’d also probably go for tins of mariage freres tea, an adorable teapot or milk jug from the flea markets and unique, whimsical, handmade jewelry.


44 Hannah S March 28, 2011 at 12:21 am

I took home copper, porcelain dinnerware, silk fabrics, silicone spatula, quiche and tarts ware, clothing, Henkels knives (though we should have bought them at the outlet in Germany for a better price), chocolate, olive oil and tepanade from Provence, herbs do provence.


45 Mary Light April 1, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I wish I could find an online store selling kitchen linen towels. I want to buy directly from France.


46 Tania February 5, 2014 at 2:41 am

Hi Gabrielle, Where would you suggest is the best place in Paris to buy the traditional dish towels?


47 Design Mom February 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Oh man. I’m not sure! I bought mine in the countryside. But I’m guessing the famed Paris flea markets would have plenty!


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