Friday, August 20, 2010

Le Musee de la Toile de Jouy, Jouy-en-Josas

A quelques pas de Paris..........(just steps from Paris)

is the surprisingly rather ordinary small town of Jouy-en-Josas.  Tucked into a narrow, dark ravine among verdant hills, at the bottom of which

runs a tumbling river that was, back in time, especially especially clean.   It was so well suited to the rinsing of printed cloth, that Christopher Oberkampf (his family living room recreated in the photos above) sited on the hill above it, an important fabric printing factory that changed the economic fortunes of France while simultaneously 

contributing something to its artistic patrimony whose ultimate value may be inestimable.

As we now know more than ever in America, economic vigor and robust industry (or the lack thereof)

has tremendous impact on a country's well-being.  So when the fabric merchants of France saw their market slipping away from them, under the onslaught of cheap wood-block printed cottons from India

they mustered the forces of French law, and the talents of the French people

to super-charge an industry and to refine its product into something "imbattable".
 Something beautiful, something for the ages

that embodied the rigor, ingenuity, artistry and energy

of the French culture.  Something durable, portable, marketable, persuasive

of the pleasures of the French "joie de vivre",  graceful for wearing

morning, noon and night.

But which did not so much survive the wear of the years.  When worn on the PERSON.  For us now in the 21st century to enjoy.

Happily however, the good news is that maisons bourgeoises throughout rural france may yet

be found hung from floor to ceiling in these infatuating patterns which HAVE survived the depredations of the years and communicate and celebrate still

 what life could and should be.  With their scenes of sweet rusticity.

And their invitations to comfort.

Ah oui.  La be-l-l-e vie......!

You may not be surprised that there were NOT a lot of men in this museum.  Le Musee de la Toile de Jouy.  In fact, my own Mr. Paradis stayed in the car for a nap!  And the only other person I saw of the less-gentle gender was sitting outside in front, having a coffee.

BUT FOR YOU "La Boutique Oberkampf" at the museum is ALWAYS OPEN i.e., accessible 24/7.  If you read French!  Click the link to the museum and look for "Acceder a la boutique en ligne!"  If you can't visit the museum this weekend and soak in the glories of "toile de jouy", online ordering could be just the thing.

Happy Shopping!  


  1. This is gorgeous! Great photos of such a beautiful interior ... I adore toile myself and these are some interesting samples and colors. I love the clothing...the styles are so francais..It must have been a joy to be there in person, but you have given us a great tour as well. Merci mille fois!

  2. How lovely! Thanks for taking us on this journey!

  3. this was a really fascinating post! beautiful interiors and artefacts.