I love linens…and things…but especially linens: bed linens, bath linens, and of course table linens. Imagine my delight when I discovered that there is a whole world of Basque linens in all three categories, though it’s most table linens that they’re known for.
Basque linens were traditionally used in the colors of the Basque flag (green, red and cream) but grew to take on more modern palettes with extremely vibrant colors. In their absolutely original use, the linens were actually used to cover cattle to protect them from the sun, but then were quickly adapted for household use. This of course makes me wonder what other opportunities for livestock cross-over products we could be missing. The linens are distinct for their seven stripe pattern, which represent the seven basque provinces of the region, and if you look closely, they do always indeed follow the seven strip pattern.
There are several shops in St. Jean de Luz specializing in the basque linens, but the most known by far is Jean Vier, which has its roots in the area but has expanded to multiple locations across France. As with other linen opportunities, I nearly squealed with delight when I finally found it (not that it was that hard to find, frankly it was on the main shopping street). My husband, who’s favorite color is purple, refused to let me buy anything but the purple striped tablecloth and tried to stage a quick evacuation, but I did make out with a couple more – plus napkins!
I originally read about Jean Vier in a Travel + Leisure profile on the French Basque country, which in addition to shopping recommendations, also has great ideas on what to do and where to eat. Check out both the article, and the shop, if you’re in the hood.