France is well known for a fabric called Toile de Juoy. Quilter's Muse has an excellent article about this fabric here
. Toile had never interested me much, but boy was I ever wrong. I think that comes from seeing modern versions that are a lot less refined than the real deal.
Back in June, my friend Will took to me a store, Charles Burger that sells REAL toile de juoy fabric. The company uses 200 year old copper plates to print their designs and the detail is amazing. I definitely want to get some of this fabric to remember my time here, I just can't make up my mind which one.
To show you how complicated these fabrics can be, this is the company's photo of a fabric called Ballon de Gonesse about two hot air balloon flights in 1783.
Detail shot of the fabric in a different colorway. My photos are terrible - sorry about that. They do NOT do justice to these fabrics.
This Robinson Crusoe fabric is another of my favorites. It is based on illustrations from the 1840 edition of the book.
This fabric is called La Bastille. The drawing for this fabric originally was meant to represent the divinity of Louis XVI but then the revolution occured. The figure symbolizing Religion was changed to Liberty. A picture of the Bastille replaced a group of cupids.
More from the same fabric:
This detail is from Fete Navale, which is about the journey of Louis XVI to Cherbourg in June 1786 for the inauguration of a sea wall. I would have sworn those were women rowing the barge, but no, those are gussied up oarsmen... I love seeing this bit of history.
This fabric is about the American people's recognition of their debt to La Fayette. Isn't it a hoot?
Here is Will looking at another type of fabric which is also still manufactured the old way: handprinted with woodblocks. I can't remember exactly how many blocks but 179 sticks in my brain.
See this top greenish shape? Each one of the dots surrounding it takes a different block in order to get the light and shadow just right. It's an amazing fabric - would be incredible in the middle of a medallion quilt.
The fabric at Charles Burger was gorgeous. I have to admit, the fabrics cost an arm and a leg. Think somewhere around 100 euros a meter. Sometimes less, sometimes more, such as the woodblock print which I think was 140. But they do sell half meters as well (demi metre) and this would be an amazing remembrance of a quilter's trip to Paris.
The Charles Burger shop is located at #4 on the Rue du Mail. The phone number is 33 (0)1 42 97 46 19. They are open Monday through Thursday from 10:30am to 6pm and on Saturday from 3pm to 6pm. The woman who worked there was as sweet as can be and very helpful. Definitely worth a visit. One of these days they are going to have a website at Charles-Burger.fr but it's telling me at the moment it's not ready.
There is a church nearby. It's possible to imagine what this area was like, even though the store that once sold religious items is now a dress shop.
Down the street a ways:
You're going to laugh at me, but I had to take a sign of the pooper scooper sign - the first one I've seen in Paris that is not in a park.