One of my deepest passions in life is the automobile. Classic cars, trucks and motorcycles in particular have been an obsession as long as I can remember, growing up in France. This was actually what motivated me to come visit America, especially California. Growing up in the French countryside, it was extremely rare to spot a sports car, a custom car, or even a nicely restored antique. Magazines on the newsstands abounded with articles from sunny Southern California, and fast forward a few years, here I am, living in the heart of Orange County, California, driving a classic Chevy truck! I am mentioning this because yesterday I met another French man who not only shares my passion, but is able to turn it into amazing pieces of art. His name is Stéphane Dufour and his paintings and sculptures are just breathtaking! He creates his realistic works with pencil, acrylic, and airbrush techniques. If you share my interest in car culture, you should visit his website http://sdufour.com/ We also have a few of his paintings displayed and available for sale in our Tustin store.

Stéphane Dufour - Hommage Citroen

Stéphane Dufour - Hommage Citroën

Stéphane Dufour - Ferrari 250 GTO

Stéphane Dufour - Ferrari 250 GTO

— Jean-Michel

See us in the October issue of Sunset Magazine!

Sunset Magazine October 2011

Sunset Magazine October 2011

In their own words: Your guide to the West’s best outdoor adventures, tasty food and at-home style.

Check out the October 2011 issue (Southern California edition) and turn to page 21 for an article on Old Town Tustin, home of I Dream of France.

The author, Laure Joliet, has selected a few local businesses, including I Dream of France, to show what a great shopping and dining destination Old Town Tustin is. There are photographs of local sights and a walking map too. Here is the photo of our shop:

I Dream of France in Sunset Magazine

I Dream of France in Sunset Magazine

Sunset Loves Us!

Sunset Loves Us!

We love Sunset!

See us in the October issue of Sunset Magazine!

We are amazed every time we receive new Beauvillé tea towels at how beautiful they are. The colors, the artwork, and the quality of the printing are just so splendidly over the top for something so utilitarian as a kitchen towel! Located in Alsace, France, Beauvillé block prints their designs by hand on linen-blend toweling. Opening a new box from Beauvillé feels like Christmas morning. Speaking of which, we received several beautiful Christmas-themed towels in this shipment. Here are some of their designs. Click any of the photos to view them on I Dream of France and read more information about them.

Beauville Chat Pitre Tea Towel

Beauville Chat Pitre Tea Towel

Beauville Bandol Wine Tea Towel

Beauville Bandol Wine Tea Towel

Beauville St-Paul Provence Tea Towel

Beauville St-Paul Provence Tea Towel

Beauville Orchids Tea Towel - Black

Beauville Orchids Tea Towel - Black

Beauville Paris Retro Tea Towel

Beauville Paris Retro Tea Towel

Beauville Paris Magic Blue Tea Towel

Beauville Paris Magic Blue Tea Towel

Beauvillé Pain d'Epices Christmas Tea Towel

Beauvillé Pain d'Epices Christmas Tea Towel

— Brett and Jean-Michel

Beauty and Tradition from Quimper

Since 1690, the small northern town of Quimper, in Brittany, has been refining a unique style of pottery. In over 300 years not much has changed in the small manufacture. Computers have been restricted to the offices, stencils have never been used to create the decorations, and everything is still made in-house. What you do find in the manufacturing part of the company — H.B. Henriot — is a group of dedicated artists, working with a brush and a steady hand on each individual piece of pottery or faïence.

FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, WE ARE OFFERING 40% OFF ALL QUIMPER PRODUCTS!* Use coupon code QUIMPER in the shopping cart.

Here are a few of Quimper’s lines:

Fleuri Royal:

This pattern, created in the 60’s, symbolizes Quimper’s brush stroke and demonstrates the HB-Henriot Faiencerie’s expertise. It uses different techniques which have been established for generations by HB-Henriot’s painters: the “sponging” and of course, the famous “à la touche” used to paint flowers.

This pattern has a unique personality: each piece is slightly different since the artist decorates and paints it according to his or her inspiration. The only required similarity between pieces is the floral garland on the outer edge.

Quimper Faience Fleuri Royal

Quimper Faience Fleuri Royal

Tradition:

With the Tradition pattern, all of the company’s know-how is expressed in this “French touch” decoration: a character, the “little Breton”, who changes color depending on the artist’s inspiration with flower garlands and the Henriot yellow border.

Quimper Faience Tradition

Quimper Faience Tradition

Escale:

Escale is a modern collection from Quimper Faience celebrating seaside living. Three sailboats are painted in very French tones of yellow and blue, with a golden yellow and blue painted border.

Quimper Faience Escale

Quimper Faience Escale

Mistral Blue:

In the Mistral Blue collection, the small Breton moves to new colors but remains true to the tradition of the first characters, created by the Henriot faiencerie in the 19th century.

Quimper Faience Mistral Blue

Quimper Faience Mistral Blue

* Sale restricted to products currently in stock while supplies last. No special orders, exchanges, or returns. Discount ends on September , 2011.

We are not the only retailer in the USA specialized in French decor (we are just the only one you need to remember…) Some are small, some are big, we all have our specialty, but the big name in the game has always been Pierre Deux. The first national retailer specialized in French Country decor, Pierre Deux had a name and reputation that came to represent the whole industry. If I had a Franc for every time a customer compared us to Pierre Deux!

Pierre Deux

Well this summer, Pierre Deux quietly went away, victim to the brutal recession. Pierre Deux started as an individual store in 1967 in New York City. The two owners (both named Pierre) imported and sold French furniture. They added some decor accessories to their furniture line and soon realized that the accessories were selling better. Pierre Deux continued growing and ended with two dozen stores throughout the USA.

I never thought I would say this, being our competitor, but we’ll miss them.

–Jean-Michel

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

James McKinnon wrote a great little piece about us in Examiner.com

In the heart of Old Town Tustin you will find a quaint shopping and dining district. While the area still has some maturing to do before it becomes comparable to Orange Circle, you will find a gem at 150 E. Main Street. At this location you will discover a wonderful boutique, I Dream of France! This charming store provides customers with unique French gifts and items that will transport anyone to the French countryside and Paris.

I Dream of France - Tustin, CA

A few years ago, Jean-Michel Carlouet and his wife Brett opened up this store in order to cater to individuals wishing to buy authentic French products. Monsieur Carlouet comments that his store has a focus on products from Provence, a region in the Southeast of France, due to the similarities in climate between that area and southern California. Some of the store’s most popular items include authentic Provençal table cloths made of cotton but feature a plastic covering that greatly facilitate cleanup. Monsieur Carlouet remarks that this item proves especially popular in France. His shop also offers soaps made in Marseilles and Provence that come in a variety of fragrances such as lavender and orange. Marseilles soap is of exceptional quality and many French people prefer it to other kinds of soap. This store also has an inventory of dinnerware, cutlery, and other fine goods which will interest all who visit there.

When you visit this boutique, you will find that I Dream of France has something that will appeal to anyone trying to bring home a bit of France with them. During your visit to Orange County, you should make a trip to this marvelous boutique in Old Town Tustin. You will feel as though you have taken a journey to France. Nowhere else outside of France will you find such an array of French products and in such a beautiful setting. Be sure to wish Jean-Michel Carlouet a friendly “Bonjour” as you enter the store, it’s French courtesy

Thanks James!