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French Glassware

French Table Setting

photo is courtesy of Tongue in Cheek.

It is no secret that the French love them some deliciously set tables. 

Whether a table setting at a bistro, a fancy Parisian restaurant or a casual home in Provence, there is always a cetain simplicity and elegance to a French table.  A certain je ne sais quois, if you will.

There are so many facets to setting a beautiful French table.  Flower arrangements, candles, ornate silverware, crisp linen tablecloths and the dishes themselves, all contribute to a French table setting.

You can easily recreate a French tablesetting, no matter where you live.

Leave no doubt in your mind that we will talk about each facet of these over time.  Today, I'd like to talk about one of my favorite items on a French Table. 

French Glassware.  Oh la la.

I am a sucker for French Glassware.  And while there are many elegant, engraved, scalloped, sculpted and hand-blown styles, I prefer the most simple, durable and understated.

It took me weeks of clever Internet searching to seek out one of my all-time favorite bistro glasses.  Used since 1927 in cafes all around France, the Picardie glass is made by a French company called Duralex. This classic tumbler is both durable and versatile and perfect for hot and cold beverages. 

Duralex-picardie-5


Who wouldn't love a glass that would look classy, resist breakage and hold water, wine or your favorite coffee drink-all at a rock-bottom price?

Oh, and did I mention they are stackable?  An awesome bonus to someone like me, who has hardly any kitchen cabinet space.  

But, to my chagrin, the Duralex factory had closed up shop and the once ubiquitous glasses that retailed for about $2-$3 a piece, were no where to be found.

Except of course on Ebay where nasty people were selling them for about $10/glass, because said money-hungry sellers knew that they were in high-demand.

But, I didn't get discouraged and I let my fingers do the walking and found that Cost Plus World Market was carrying them, at obscenely low prices.  I quickly scoffed-up a few sets in each size- just for good measure.

These serve as my everyday glasses and I use them for water, wine, juice, iced-tea, lemonade, cafe latte and other coffee drinks.  They look great as part of a casual table setting.

Another popluar French company that makes tons of delicious French Glassware is La Rochere.  La Rochere, established in 1475 is the oldest glass factory in France!  Again, they specialize in crystal clear, durable everyday glassware, achievied by a special recipe of sand, lime and soda. They have a plethora of styles available.

Most of their styles incorporate raised-relief designs that ooze frenchness-like the Eiffel Tower, the Napolean Bee, the Fleur de Lys, and the Dragonfly.

These glasses have a really nice heft and just feel really good in your hand.  

Though the designs they offer are lovely, I prefer the classic lines of the Perigord and Richelieu styles. They look wonderful in a more elegant or French country table setting.  I adore the shapes, simple little indent pattern and the fact that they are footed.


Perigord GobletRichelieu Tumbler



I prefer to save these goblet and tumbler glasses for a nice table setting, rather than for just everyday.  I use them for both wine and water.

And though you could spend beaucoup bucks on high-end French glasses or elegant stemware, like Riedel, I (and my wallet) still prefer the classic durability of La Rochere and Duralex.  

And since I hand wash my glasses, and tend to be a bit clumsy when it comes to clanking around the kitchen, I must say that I feel much better knowing that I will have a harder time shattering this French glassware to shards, than an expensive fancy-shmancy hand blown wine glass.

And it is also nice to know that if on the off-chance that I do break a glass, it won't take me six months to save for another glass.  

Do you like French Glassware?  What is the favorite part of setting your dinner table?

***

And it just so happens that I have 2 of the Fleur de Lys and 2 of the Bee La Roche tumblers for sale.  $20 for all four.  Contact me at mymelange (at) yahoo (dot) com, if interested!
  • User Gravatar
    Merisi
    February 2nd, 2009

    Oh no, no more classic Picardie café tumblers? I will have to ask at my favorite coffeehouse where they get there tumblers from nowadays. They look just like Picardie’s!
    I used them for years, they got scratched from too many ride through the diswasher, but never broke. I did have one most unfortunate incidence, though, with a Picardie tumbler: I had opened the dishwasher during the drying cycle, to take out a glass. I had cold hands, and the moment I touched it, it shattered into smithereens. I took me forever to collect all the shards out of the dishwasher!
    Williams Sonoma carries a line of glass tumblers, which are quite handsome and practical too, the so-called Siena line, they hail from Spain.
    I stopped using Picardie tumblers when I discovered Rosenthal’s DiVino stemless crystal glasses. I was attracted by Rosenthal’s promise to replace any broken glasses within the first two years after purchase. We use them every day, after three and a half years a few broke, but that were unfortunate accidents I could not possible have faulted the manufacturer. I must say that I prefer to drink wine out of a glass with a thin crystal rim rather than out of the pressed glass tumblers.
    Did you know that the Riedel Glass company (http://www.riedel.com/) is an Austrian glass manufacturer that has been in the family for 250 years, or 10 generations? My father was partial to Riedel glass: I cherish the memories I have of my father and me driving by the Riedel factory in Schneegattern, Upper Austria. He loved to lecture on the advantages of a well-made glass.

  • User Gravatar
    My Melange
    February 2nd, 2009

    Wow, thanks for all the great info Merisi! Williams-Sonoma used to carry the Picardie- that is where I first bought a few-and they replaced them with the Siena, which of course- just don’t do it for me! I think Reidel’s are lovely- but just too pricey for everyday glasses.
    Cheers!

  • User Gravatar
    anne
    February 2nd, 2009

    I had a good look at the glassware on the World market website…I prefer something plain, love the stemless wine glasses!

  • User Gravatar
    My Melange
    February 2nd, 2009

    Aren’t they so cute, Anne?  I like plain as well.  Dress it up or dress it down that way :)
     

  • User Gravatar
    Angie
    February 2nd, 2009

    Just emailed you…you know I want those glasses!!!! And could you send some Shrimp Scampi along with them?

  • User Gravatar
    My Melange
    February 2nd, 2009

    Better yet- Chris will come out and be your personal chef for the night. He doesn’t know it, but hey gotta pimp him out to make some money and it’s better than pimping him out for somethin’ else ;)
    xo

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