Kitchen linens – tea towels, table napkins, table cloths – are my favorite thing to buy when traveling in France! They are beautiful, useful and easy to pack. They give me delight when I use them at home and they remind me of our trips.
In France you will find shops devoted to household linens in most towns. Look for the window display of towels and linens or for the rack of tea towels hanging outside. Kitchen-ware shops will have a kitchen linens section. Tourist shops sometimes sell nice tea towels, themed for the area (e.g. olives in Provence). But, I am not talking about tourist tea towels, with tourist scenes printed on them (although some of them are nice). I mean quality kitchen linens – 100% cotton, or 100% linen (more expensive) or a combination of cotton and linen. There are several French companies producing quality kitchen linens. Look for products made in France.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris
French Kitchen Linens Companies
These are some of the ones that I have purchased over the years traveling in France.
Coucke: These are not the top-tier of kitchen linens, but are very nice. You will find them in household linen shops all over France and in some tourist shops. The company has been making kitchen and table linens since 1931 (part of VDS Group). The designs are French and the products are made in factories in France, Portugal and Turkey. They usually have a French theme – olives, lavender, etc.
The photo above shows my collection of Coucke tea towel sets purchased on recent trips. A kitchen set is one hand towel (terry cloth) and one towel for dishes. All 100% cotton and made in France. Perfect to take home and use or to give as gifts.
On the lower left is a pile of Coucke table napkins that I bought in Uzes last year at Metre & Carre on Place aux Herbes. This is a custom furnishings shop, but he had a rack of these beautiful table napkins in many colors.
Linum: A Swedish family business (website) founded in 1966 with operations also in France and the United Kingdom. Textile production is done in India.
I love those stripes! I bought that apron in Uzes, at an eclectic shop selling knitting and needlework supplies, and hand made pillows. They had a selection of these lovely aprons. I purchased the tea towels on an earlier trip to Nîmes at a kitchen wares shop across from Les Halles.
Linvosges: The tea towel with the coffee cups and the two tea towels right of it are Linvosges. I have not run into this brand in many places. I found these at a high-end household linens shop in Dijon. Have a look on their website for their gorgeous kitchen sets. Very nice quality.
Le Jacquard Francais: These are the best quality French kitchen linens from an old French company. They cost twice as much as Couckle, but last more than twice as long. Have a look at their current tea towel designs. In the photo above, the beautiful lime green towel with a vegetables theme and the two tea towels in the upper right are Le Jacquard Francais.
St Roch: Another old French company producing quality table linens, founded in 1957 in Lyon. In the photo above the tea towels in shades of blue on the lower right are St Roch.
Moutet: That lovely Dijon tea towel in the photo above is Moutet. I bought this in the Maille mustard shop in Dijon – a very good quality souvenir tea towel.
Garnier-Thiebaut: Another of the original good quality old French companies (website).
Enjoy Your Kitchen Linens
A friend of mine told me that after her mother died, when she was cleaning out her mother’s house, she found a pile of never-used beautiful tea towels in a closet. What had she been saving them for?!! Don’t do this! Use your tea towels. Wear them out. For a “forever” souvenir, take the worn out ones, cut them up and make them into a quilt. Or take a nice photo of them (like I do).
If there is one that you really love and can’t stand to get stained in everyday use, turn it into a wall hanging. I did that with the coffee cup tea towel.
Caring for Your Kitchen Linens
Iron your kitchen linens. I know that most people hate ironing, but get out your iron and ironing board and give them a quick press. They will look beautiful. Then you can fold them nicely and store them on a kitchen shelf, to admire.
How to Ask for Them in French
- les torchons – tea towels
- essuie-mains – hand towels
- serviettes de table – table napkins
- tissage – weaving
- French Brand – French company that ships French kitchen linens worldwide. This fabulous website has all the good French tea towel brands with photos. Maybe you don’t have to spend your precious vacation time in the linen shops?
- In Paris, head to BHV, a large department store on Rue de Rivoli, near the Hotel de Ville (City Hall). They have a great selection of kitchen linens.