Fa brics in Provence

Apr 2nd, 2002, 08:41 AM
N Conway
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Fa brics in Provence

We're going to Provence this May. I'm a quilter and interested in finding the really good fabric shops in the area. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks.
Apr 2nd, 2002, 09:20 AM
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Souleiado (known as Pierre Deux here in USA) and Les Olivades are the two better known (and presumably the best) manufacturers who sell the traditional Provencal cotton fabrics. The shops are found in many of the towns throughout France, not just Provence. They are lovely to look at and launder beautifully. I always buy some when I am in France and have tablecloths, etc., made of them back here. If I take my cloths out of dryer right away, they don't even have to be ironed, highly unusual for 100% cotton. They are expensive, with Souleiado being more expensive than Olivades. The main shop of Souleiado is in Tarascon, I believe. In Fontvielle there is a little outlet store; right now I can't remember which of the two it is.
You can find much less expensive, colorful fabrics at open markets, etc.; for some purposes they would be perfectly adequate, but Souleiado and Les Olivades are the top of the line!
The fabrics are sold by the meter, so if you're thinking of making curtains, tablecloths, etc., be sure to measure before leaving home and remember to convert to centimeters, etc. I just think of a meter as being around a yard, so that works. You'll love the fabrics!
Apr 2nd, 2002, 09:50 AM
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Sue beat me to it, but the shops she mentioned (both chains) are exactly the ones I recommend. I don't sew, but always make a point of picking up some linens or a scarf (the big ones makes great wraps) when I'm visiting the south of France. I've not had as much luck looking in markets, but then I was probably too distracted by the food to concentrate...
Apr 2nd, 2002, 10:19 AM
Broken Dishes
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Hi, I'm a quilter, too! A couple of things about Provencal fabrics. They're usually a bit heavier than the usual quilter's cottons sold in the USA. Also, they're not only sold by the meter, the width is also in centimeters. I can't remember what it usually is, but it's less than the equivalent of 44" or 45" inches.

Finally, I don't whether you've already shopped for quilting fabics in Europe, but in general 1) general fabric stores don't tend to have lots of quilting-weight 100% cottons, though they're great for things like decorating fabrics, and 2) quilting shops, which are cropping up, tend to have lots of US imports at higher prices than in the US. However, as any good quilter can guess, this should not dissuade you from the hunt! You will definitely find suitable fabrics unavailable in the US. Are you stopping in Paris? If so, check out Le Rouvray (www.lerouvray.com) And if you ever go to Amsterdam, don't miss Den Haan en Wagemakers. But I digress...
Apr 2nd, 2002, 10:35 AM
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Les Olivades outlet shop is in St-Etienne du Gres - on the main road between St. Remy and Tarascon. There are several signs leading the way - it's near the 'camping' just outside of town.

There is another fabric shop - a bit further along the same road (right off the traffic circle before you get to Tarascon. The name escapes me at the moment, even though I pass it all the time.

The Souleiado factory (in Tarascon) doesn't have an outlet shop that I can recall. ALthough I do go to their yearly 'sale'. They do have a shop in Arles and Avignon.

There are also some good quality fabrics to be found at the weekly markets in St Remy (Wednesday mornings).

Apr 2nd, 2002, 11:28 AM
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I bought some fabric in a shop in Arles-- I'm sorry, I can't give you very good directions, other than it was sort on the perimeter of the city, away from the river. As Broken Dishes described, this store had more selection in upholstery fabrics, but they had some interesting things.
Apr 2nd, 2002, 12:03 PM
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I have seen bolts of Provencal fabric at markets in small towns in Provence. Perhaps it would be cheaper than in the posh stores mentioned?
Apr 2nd, 2002, 01:05 PM
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For what it's worth, my girlfriend found a gorgeous piece of fabric for a very good price in a street/sidewalk market in Arles (held on Wednesday mornings, as I recall.)
Apr 2nd, 2002, 01:39 PM
mimi taylor
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Market days usually have vendors with the fabrics. If you go to the shop in Tarascon, visit their museum, I found it interesting.
Apr 2nd, 2002, 03:13 PM
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I find the quality varies at the various
weekly outdoor markets but I always
manage to find some good cottons in
the Provencal patterns by looking thro'
the bolts.

44-45" fabric = ll5cm
Apr 2nd, 2002, 05:29 PM
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When I was in Nice I purchased some fabric that was 100% cotton, but with a scotchguard finish. I love it for our patio. Most spills just wipe off. They do sell some that is polyester, but the much nicer cloth is the cotton with the coating.
Apr 2nd, 2002, 06:19 PM
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The largest open air market in Provence is held in Cavaillon every Monday. The fabric stalls are marvellous and the joy is that the fabric folds flat in your luggage.The market ends at 1pm and the delightful little town is a perfect place for day trips to other towns.The Park Hotel is a charming place to stay with a central courtyard, complete with fountain. Apparently until now, unknown to US tourists. Highly recommend the hotel and the town, even Ceasar stopped for a while!

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