People have told me they like the photo at the top of the blog, so I thought I would share its origin. The full photo appears below.

This is a streetscape I took in Limoges, France, in November 2006. Limoges is a two-hour drive from my husband’s hometown of Poitiers. We visted Limoges partly to tour porcelain factories, and partly just to see what was there.

Limoges Star Lantern

Limoges Star Lantern

Limoges feels a little removed or isolated compared to other small French cities, because access is somewhat limited. There is a north-south train connecting to Paris, but it’s an old, slow train, not the TGV. We were coming from the west, and our only option was a meandering two-lane road. No toll road or highway. A picturesque drive full of cows, villages, and old churches — but a slow drive.

I fell in love with Limoges, and dream frequently about going back. It is a beautiful jumble of history, architecture, art, urban decay, and hustle and bustle. One could compare it to San Francisco or Paris, but Limoges is smaller, grittier, and a little lost in time. The center of Limoges is medieval, with half-timbered houses and narrow streets. Radiating out from the center, the buildings evolve from 18th century to modern.

Limoges’ largest industry is porcelain. We enjoyed a private tour of Raynaud from the owner’s son, and took a public tour at Bernardaud. How did we get so lucky to have a private tour? My inlaws are in the biz, and took us with them. I LOVE porcelain, pottery, and tableware, so I was in heaven. We walked right through the workrooms where people were making the pieces, past the kilns, and saw the storerooms full of porcelain blanks, decals, and glazes. I bought a few tiny plates decorated with morning glories and gold trim. We met the artisan who applied gold trim, who had received the top honor of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Artisan of France) the year before.

A good example of the French sense of humor: Raynaud’s lobby features a six-foot robot made of plates and bowls.

Raynaud Robot

Raynaud Robot

Given my affection for Limoges, when we were shopping for inventory for I Dream of France and I first saw Caché Limoges napkins, the brand name caught my eye as much as the lovely embroidery!

–Brett

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