Philippe Deshoulières Canapé Plates

This French city of Limoges would probably remain unknown to the world if it were not for the amazing porcelain it produces. Located in the central region of Limousin, the city of Limoges has a very rich history dating back to the Roman empire. Remains of a Roman amphitheater as well as many edifices from the middle ages and renaissance make Limoges an interesting destination for anybody interested in history.

However, what sets Limoges apart from other historical cities in France is its porcelain industry. A few decades before the French Revolution, supplies of kaolin clay were found near Limoges. The exact type of kaolin made it possible to produce fine porcelain to compete with the popular pieces made in China at the time. The Limoges porcelain was delicate and very white, almost translucent, making it extremely desirable.  First commissioned by the king Louis XVI, the manufacture of Limoges porcelain gave birth to various companies after the revolution. Names include Bernardaud, Raynaud, Haviland or Philippe Deshoulières.

The Deshoulières group (headquartered near my hometown of Poitiers) is one of the most renowned porcelain manufacturer since it opened in 1826 and is famous for its contemporary designs. We chose a beautiful, yet very affordable, line of canapé plates to carry in our collection. The canapé plates are six inches in diameter, perfect for dessert, salad or hors d’oeuvres served around the couch (canapé means couch in French). They come in a beautiful lavender gift box, are dishwasher safe and adorn the genuine “Porcelaine de Limoges” stamp. Each has a theme, French Castles, Wine and Cheese, Merchant Row, St Tropez Beaches, Herbs, and Walk in Provence. They make a very thoughtful gift and they are the perfect way to treat yourself to the real Limoges at a very affordable price.

Until the end of August, all our Deshoulières sets are 10% off! Use coupon code LIMOGES in the shopping cart or stop by our boutique in Tustin.

— Jean-Michel

P.S. Read about our trip to Limoges and the porcelain factory tour we took!

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The April issue of Elle Decor magazine is themed “the travel issue” and is full of luscious dwellings abroad. Capturing my heart is, of course, an apartment in Paris overlooking the Rue de l’Université on the Left Bank of the Seine. The apartment belongs to a glass and ceramics designer named Olivier Gagnère who has worked for Bernardaud among others. Ceramics are a particular passion of mine, and we were lucky enough to tour the Bernardaud factory in Limoges a few years ago. Peeking into the private home of one of their designers shows another facet of the creativity of this world. What a treat!

Gagnere Paris Apartment - Simon Upton for Elle Decor

Gagnere Paris Apartment - Simon Upton for Elle Decor

Gagnere Paris Apartment - Simon Upton for Elle Decor

Gagnere Paris Apartment - Simon Upton for Elle Decor

Gagnere Paris Apartment - Simon Upton for Elle Decor

Gagnere Paris Apartment - Simon Upton for Elle Decor

What I love: the liberal use of the colors lavender and tangerine; the striped Basque tablecloth (similar to our Saint Jean de Luz coated tablecloth); the wall collages of framed drawings, watercolors, and photographs; the bright red dinosaur perched above a cabinet; the pint-size kitchen with a full-size table set for four. These are among the best things in life…color, humor, breaking bread with friends. Wouldn’t you agree?

French Holiday Gifts

The holidays are back! Having a hard time finding gift ideas? Well, we have you covered! I Dream of France is full of unique, high-quality gifts and you are sure to find something for everybody on your list. From Limoges porcelain plate sets….to hard-to-find cult French perfume brands….to handmade Quimper Faience jewelry…to children’s toys and clothes…we have something for everybody!

We also have a dedicated Christmas category on our website for items that are themed just for the season…including kitchen towels, and our Quimper Faience ornaments, which we have in three patterns this year. Last year we sold out of our ornaments, so order early!

Our Deshoulieres canapé plates are a big hit! A customer asked recently whether the rims are smooth or have an embossed pattern. The patterns we carry all have smooth rims: Merchant Row, Les Plages de St Tropez, Provence, and Wine and Cheese.  These patterns are lovely and make a special gift and a unique presentation at your table for dessert or appetizers. Made in Limoges, France.

 

Deshoulieres Plages de St Tropez Canape Plate

Deshoulieres Plages de St Tropez Canape Plate

 

Deshoulières Provence Canapé Plates

Deshoulières Provence Canapé Plates

 

Deshoulieres Canape Plates Merchant Row

Deshoulieres Canape Plates Merchant Row

 

Deshoulieres Wine and Cheese Canape Plates

Deshoulieres Wine and Cheese Canape Plates

It seems I’m not the only one to have fallen for Sud and Co’s Arabesque Pottery…the coffee mugs are selling fast! If you are considering getting one, you may want to go for it before we sell out.

Sud and Co Arabesque Mug

Sud and Co Arabesque Mug

Here are some other good last-minute gift ideas; click the pictures to view the product details on I Dream of France.com:

Deshoulières Provence Canapé Plates

Deshoulières Provence Canapé Plates

Bougies la Française Rare Amber Candle in Glass Jar

Bougies la Française Rare Amber Candle in Glass Jar

Sud and Co Pottery Bowl with Pirate Boy

Sud and Co Pottery Bowl with Pirate Boy

Quimper Faience Black and White Embroidery Necklace

Quimper Faience Black and White Embroidery Necklace

Brand new, we just got these in today: Limoges porcelain canapé plates from Philippe Deshoulières. (Canapé plates are small, versatile plates you can use for appetizers, desserts, and casual parties.) These come boxed in sets of six. We are offering the following patterns: Wine and Cheese, Merchant Row, and Provence.

Very French, very pretty, and very appealing for gifts!

Deshoulières Canapé Plates

Deshoulières Canapé Plates

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