UPDATE! Rumor has it that between my last visit and now, the Porthault Linen factory in Rieux-en-Cambresis has closed. According to the D. Porthault website, their factories are located in Normandy, on the west coast of France, and in Cambrai, in northern France.
top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Research says we spend one third of our life in bed – thus, putting your money in the mattress isn’t such a bad idea if you want to get a good night’s sleep! First off, I love American retailers such as TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning and Bed, Bath and Beyond to buy high thread count, Egyptian cotton sheets and duvets at bargain-bin prices and, though I live in Europe, I often shop these discount stores while in the good ole’ USA. On my annual visit to America, I stock up on savings whilst guaranteeing a good night’s sleep the rest of the year!
But if you’re a Princess-and-The-Pea-sort-of-girl, I’ve got a brand for you. In my opinion the best linen in the world is made by D. Porthault, the first French linen firm to introduce printed bed linens after being so inspired by Monet, Renoir and other Impressionist painters that they decided surely one would sleep better ensconced in printed French blossoms.
to 10px; WIDTH: 150px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 150px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp02jl96_I/AAAAAAAADfk/Y6A2SI7Nc94/s400/d.porthault2.jpg” border=”0″ />Roubaix is the former heart of the French textile industry and now the center of mail-order shopping in France. The city used to be known as the ‘city of 1,000 chimneys’ and the old factories and their chimney’s still stand. Getting to the D. Porthault factory is certain to cause confusion on your GPS, but stay the course and you’ll be rewarded when you arrive at the destination:
19 Rue Robespierre
to 10px; WIDTH: 183px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 280px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp2fxrkz2I/AAAAAAAADf0/b8vWLg75DKs/s400/C%27est+la+Vie.jpg” border=”0″ />But you don’t have to take just my word for it, take that of my shopping idol, Born to Shop expert Suzy Gershman. She writes in her memoir, C’est La Vie, “A one thousand dollar sheet costs about ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS at the outlet. The Porthault outlet store is located right within the factory. Most of the world’s top hotels have Porthault robes. The Porthault factory outlet sells both commercial lines as well as consumer lines, both are deluxe brands released (in the factory) at a small fraction of the regular retail price.” If it’s good enough for the world’s top hotels, then it’s good enough for me! Of course, with the plethora of guests I’ve been hosting since my recent move to Berlin, I might have opened a B&B; for friends and family and not even known it!
While you’re in Lille, you’ll want to maximize your shopping time. That’s why you want to go to Lille, France the FIRST WEEKEND in SEPTEMBER every year for their Grand Braderie – literally a town-wide garage sale! You can stock up on French furniture and antiques to go with those gorgeous sheets and table cloths you’ve just purchased. And before leaving Lille, you’ll naturally have to hit ALL those other factory outlets – my favorite is L’Usine – an outlet mall with three floors selling 200 brands of discounts of up to 60 percent off. If you don’t find anything at D. Porthault (sadly there’s no guarantee you’ll find the bargains Suzy talked about in her book) then you’ll definitely find something at L’Usine … Check out the Deschamps outlet store and keep your eye open for linens with labels such as Cristian Lacroix, Pierre Frey, Yves Delorme – all, bien sur, at deeply discounted prices!
Until Next Time, Bonne Nuit!
(Seen Right at Le Grand Hotel Intercontinental Paris)