Thursday, August 30, 2012

French Checks

Cafe table for two, Paris, 5" x 7"

When we see red checkered tablecloths

Cafe Le Buci Paris,5" x 7"

We start thinking of French cafes.

Cafe Marie Stuart Paris,original art, 5" x 7"

Even though "gingham" originally comes from Indonesia, was assimilated by the Dutch and finally was produced in the mills of Manchester, England..

It has an inherently Frenchie flavor to it. Bonnard used it innumerable times in his intimate, homey paintings

"Homey" is the key word to this fabric's fame. Bonne Maman puts a faux red checked fabric lid on all of it's confitures.

 At the Sunday Marche on rue Montmartre, red checks line the tables of freshly home-made foods like these cooking lentilles

Red checked fabric is called Nappe à carreaux in France? Most traditional wine bistros will dress their tables in red checks

Do red checks connote a wine restaurant?

 The bistro we went to in the 7th arrondissement - red wine stains come out easily or blend in on red checked tablecloths.

Dejeuner on a cafe terrace without red checked cloths? Forgettaboutit!

Red checks show up on a lot of cafe chairs. Red patterns set off a Parisien's stylish neutral or black clothing.

Red-checkered egg cups anyone?
Definitely very cheering first thing in the morning

Like red cherries and apples, red checks give you a lift.
Throw out those anti-depressents and get some red dishes instead!
And cafe au lait bols to boot at boutique Sabre - 4, rue des Quatre Vents 75006

At all-round grand magazin BHV, you find faux red checked dish towels(torchon) and bols "stickers" to cheer up your kitchen. Where are the real ones when you need them?

A red checkered fraiser gateaux!


  1. Checks ..polka dots.. all very cute and uplifting..I find the best parts about Bonne Maman jams et..are the font,name and checks:)The perfect marketing and of course varied jams etc..
    Love your watercolors carol..even your chairs just sit perfectly..
    That couple in black and grey look like they belong right there.

  2. love your picture! they are so great!

  3. A lovely repost, Carol, and good luck with Biff!

    When I see a red checkered tablecloth, I still think of Rome or of somewhere in the Alps in Austria, even though I have learned from you that they are also very French. ;-)

  4. So beautiful and so French! I like both the French red and white and the blue white checks too.

  5. Anonymous1:33 PM

    Oh no, you painted cafés on rue Buci and didn't paint Orson, the toutou of Café le Conti? I'm sure he's jealous of that other dog under the red-checked tablecloth.....LOVE your work.

    1. You're so right Cynthia!
      how could I forget Orson :O
      I have take many photos of Ourson too...
      A must do for sure :)

  6. Thank you for inspiring me to see the delicate beauty of everything.
    I live in Hawaii and paint at a little French Crepe shop called LE CREPE. I teach little art lessons and the staff is from Paris. Your blog will be share with them. I am sure they will love it as much as I do.

  7. Great post - your watercolors are really gorgeous!

  8. Love red and white checks. I didn't realize it was so French. I always thought of it as Country. Makes it all the more special. Love your paintings, and also the one by Bonnard.

  9. I've been buying Bonne Maman jams for years, but I cynically believed the brand to be an American hoax. I stand corrected and now appreciate those little leftover jars even more!

    1. HAHAHAHA!!!!
      That's what you get for all yr sherlockian activities!
      they have a cute cookbook too
      Bet you don't believe in Santa Claus either!!

  10. johanna12:43 AM

  11. Hi Carol,
    I recently stumbled across your blog—I love your style. Please could I blog a few water colour pieces on my blog?
    Many thanks, Sarah

  12. Thanks for giving the history background of this typical cloth! :-)

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  14. Anonymous10:38 AM

    You forgot a watercolor of a French Cheque as in a checkbook! Strangely even supermarkets allow you to pay them with personal checks.

  15. I love the red checks flowing through your paintings & photos!! C'est l'amour!


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