This is a reprint of Today’s Pick on francetoday.com:

The glassmaking company of La Rochère, in France’s Franche-Comté, traces its history back to 1475, when “gentleman glass-maker” Simon de Thysac founded a glassworks that supplied the needs of locals in this rural area located between Champagne and Alsace. Despite repeated destruction, once by a fire that destroyed the entire village and later by the Thirty Years’ War, the rebuilt glassworks grew and flourished, and was acquired in 1858 by François-Xavier Fouillot and two associates. Fouillot’s descendants still run the company today, and their products include a wide range of elegant glassware, stemware, vases and bowls. Now four of their classic designs are available through the California-based company I Dream of France, which is offering 10% off La Rochère glassware through November, exclusively for France Today readers.

La Rochère: Arts de la Table
La Rochere Dragonfly Tall Glass 

Designs included in the special offer are the La Rochère Fleur de Lys, Bee (a Napoleonic symbol), Dragonfly and Anduze (whose shape is inspired by the graceful terracotta urns made in the French town of that name). Products include glasses, bowls, pitchers, decanters and carafes, and regular prices range from $8.49 to $26.99. To take advantage of this special offer, visit the I Dream of France website and use the code FRANCETODAY at checkout. The offer is good until November 30, 2010.

For more information on La Rochère, visit their website.

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We are moving soon! Our new place is less than a block away from our current location, yet a really big step up for us.

Located on Main St (literally), it is much easier to find and bigger too. It has its own parking lot in the back and free street parking in front. One of the big improvements is the two giant display windows facing the street. The inside is beautiful: brick walls, open ceilings, and old concrete floors original to the building, circa 1926. It is an absolutely perfect setting to display our products!

Here are a few pictures of the empty space; we will post more as we start moving in.

We will open there on October 1st, just in time for the Tustin Tiller Days Parade, exciting!

– Jean-Michel

France Magazine Cover

France is not exactly known for its superior customer service. Anybody who has been to France can probably remember an encounter with a clerk or cashier that left a less-than-impeccable impression. It is very hard as a French person to ever admit that you are wrong and that somebody else, even a paying customer, is right.  The easiest way to put this theory to the test is to ask for substitutions in a restaurant, or to try to return a purchase to the store where you bought it. Actually, I would probably recommend not trying these, just take our word for it!

The latest issue of the British magazine “France Magazine” has a short story that illustrates this point. When checking out of his hotel in the south of France and explaining to the clerk that the bill was already paid, the author received a categorical “Non!” Turn to page 23 and read the rest of the story, it might remind you of your own experience there!

-Jean-Michel

I Dream of France

This has been quite a year here at I Dream of France! Last summer we decided to open a brick-and-mortar boutique to complement our online business. We wanted to be in Old Town Tustin, our beloved local downtown, full of history and charm. We found a tiny place hidden in an alley (those of you who visited our store can attest!) that seemed to perfectly fit our needs, and it did. Despite its size and lack of visibility, our little shop has exceeded our expectations and we have become a favorite destination for many local residents.

Victims of our success, we have outgrown our current location and this summer we, again, started looking for a storefront. On June 4th, the Friday before the annual Tustin Chili Cook-Off (the largest one-day chili cook-off in the US) we noticed a new “For Lease” sign. My heart skipped a beat when I realized that a unit in the Cox Market Plaza was available, it was too good to be true. Springing into action, we found ourselves signing  an agreement early Monday morning!

This week all the paperwork was finished and we will be moving into the new place in early October. The new shop, located at 150 E. Main St in Old Town Tustin, is currently occupied by Old Town Gallery. The brick building dates from 1926 and is beautiful, inside and out, a perfect background for our products.

We want to thank all of you who have visited us “in the alley” and hope you will enjoy the new shop even more!

I Dream of France's New Home

I Dream of France's New Home - Fall 2010

–Jean-Michel

Roland GarrosStarting May 23rd, the 2010 French Open is one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world. Clay courts make up this venue named after Roland Garros, the famous … pilot! Most people assume that Roland Garros was one of the early twentieth century tennis champions among names such as René Lacoste. Garros, who very rarely played tennis, and only for fun, was actually a famed World War One aviator. So how did a major tennis venue and tournament get named after an aviation pioneer? This week’s edition of France-Amérique‘s internet newsletter answers the question. If you can read French, you can go directly to the article: Pourquoi le tournoi Roland Garros s’appelle-t-il ainsi ?

If your French is a little rusty, here is a short English summary: After wining the Davis Cup in 1927 against the Americans, four French tennis stars nicknamed “the four musketeers”  planned to renew their feat for 1928 in France. Unfortunately, France did not have, at the time, a venue large enough for such an event. The perfect site was quickly found in Paris, near Porte d’Auteuil in the beautiful 16th arrondissement. The Rugby club  “Stade Français” donating the venue had only one request:  it must be named after one of its most famous members who died 10 years earlier in the line of duty, Roland Garros. In 1928, the French Musketeers won the Davis Cup once again, this time at home!

Every year in late May, France gets in the mood for tennis and everyone is glued to their TV to find out who the new Roland Garros champions will be. This year you can enjoy the tournament, knowing who it is named after and why!

Chanteurs.org

We wanted to play French music in the shop for customers to enjoy. The first idea was to get a collection of CDs of various French artists and play them at random. We thought it would be so great if we could listen to a real French radio station. Well, thanks to the miracle of the internet we were able to do just that! Chanteurs.org (recommended by a customer) is a French radio station that broadcasts over the internet. Their slogan is “the radio of passed artists”, their goal being to preserve the French music heritage.  They play songs from hundreds of artists and unfortunately the list keeps growing.

Give it a listen, you’ll think you are in France! www.chanteurs.org

Sud and Co Corsica

Sud and Co Corsica

Here is a new episode in the “Sud and Co” saga! For those who do not follow the brand, the pottery from the small Provençal town of Cassis and recently sold in the USA under the name “Sud and Co” suddenly became unavailable last year, then again available early this year. Well, only three months after bringing the good news, here we are, announcing that, unfortunately, the beautiful pottery is again unavailable.

Accurate information is hard to obtain, but this is what we understand. A group of artists in Cassis have been making  pottery for some time independently. They are selling their products mostly locally. At several occasions, somebody started representing the products outside Provence under a single name, i.e., Sud and Co.

Lately, they have been part of a local “craft village” which, due to low sales, is closing. Even though the pottery part of the craft village was very successful, they cannot keep doing business under the current arrangement and have to stop selling. It looks like some of the artists want to open a traditional standalone business under which they can sell their craft.

We are, of course, going to stay in touch and will keep you posted as soon as we hear something new. The best way to keep in touch is to subscribe to our mailing list.

Any question about Sud and Co or anything else, please do not hesitate to call or email us.