All tablecloths are not created equal. One of the things that make the traditional Provencal round tablecloth so desirable is the “placé” design. Placé is a French word that means “placed”. Basically, on a placé tablecloth, the design is “placed” on the shape of the tablecloth instead of the tablecloth being cut from a length of regular printed fabric. What does all this mean? Well, just take a look at our example below showing two Lisa Blue tablecloths and you will get the idea immediately.  One of the problems in having a linear pattern fabric for a round tablecloth is how the lines appear distorted around the sides of the table. The beauty of the round placé, on the other hand, is that the design will adapt to any size table.

Placé vs Linear patterns

Placé vs Linear patterns

Placé is not only used for round tablecloths but it is definitely its biggest application. The difficulty with a rectangular placé is that if  the proportions between the length and the width of the table are not exactly right, the placé design will not look right.

Rectangular placés don't always fit right

Rectangular placés don't always fit right

Most of our printed tablecloths come in placé in the 68″ or 70″ round sizes. The small (60″) and the oversize (90″) rounds — usually available through special order — are linear designs (not placé).

Another term used along with placé is “cadré” (framed in English). A cadré design is similar to a placé as it follows the contour of the tablecloth, but instead of a design that reaches the center of the tablecloth, it only has a frame pattern around the circumference. The center of the tablecloth is mostly a solid color or a light design.

Jacquard cadré tablecloth

Jacquard cadré tablecloth

Our French jacquard tablecloths come in cadré designs in square and rectangular sizes.

Who knew the French took their tablecloths so seriously? For a culture known for elevating food to an art form and a multi-course event, it makes sense to extend the same level of care and thought to the table setting used for presenting its cuisine. A feast for the eyes!

For more information, browse our table linen section, visit our FAQ section, or contact us!

–Jean-Michel

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