20 June 2011

Summery Basque Stripes & Gâteau Basque Recipe!

In Provence the fabric vendors at all the markets at this time of year put their big beautiful bolts of "Basque Stripe" cottons up front, tempting everyone with the brilliantly hued fabrics. The traditional stripes of the southwestern region of France called le Pays Basque are beloved by Provençales for their ability to brighten even the smallest little corner of an otherwise monochromatic outdoor garden setting.

Poetically named for the seven regions in Pays Basque, tradition holds that these strongly graphic fabrics were originally made by traveling weavers going from farm to farm, customizing large sturday sheets of rough fabric with unique stripe colors for farmers to cover their livestock as protection from insects.

Today we love them in everything from pillows, to table linens, espadrilles, totes and deck chairs. They are the quintessential summer look in the south of France.

Shopping the weekly market in Apt last month, I fell for two different patterns of stripes and bought enough to bring home in my second suitcase. Now I'm playing around with how, and even if, to use them for my summer entertaining.

Trying out some tabletop designs I find a real challenge in finding tableware that is clean and simple enough to calm all that high-voltage energy! I don't think my Anthroplogie outdoor plates do very well (although the colors blend there is way toooo much going on!) I may end up using one of these for bench cushions or a door curtain in my currently-being-refurbished greenhouse!

You can buy Basque Stripe fabrics at Jean Vier. Read more here.

How would you use these stunning stripes?

the stripes are stunning, but do they work with
my table top pieces from Anthropologie?

I first spotted the Basque stripe cottons at a wonderful
little shop in St. Remy

then we went to the outdoor market in Apt

we passed this gorgeous doorway...

...and passed by the happy organic baker...

...we came to the fabric vendor...

..who was unloading his bolts of Basque Stripe
fabrics, ready for summer!...

fast forward to back home in California, I tried my
stripe fabric out as a possible table cover...

...I love this stripe with the flowers and lace in
the striping...

...the stripes definitely make a strong statement...

...and they look great peeking through the papaya bush...


even authentic espadrilles look summery with
Basque Stripes...buy yours here at this adorable


...and now that cherry season is just around the corner,
try this delicious, authentic

Gâteau Basque

from Pastry Studio

for a taste of southwestern France at your next summer



merci pour la visite! ... Kit


  1. Salut Kit, thanks for bringing me a little bit of sunny France to this gloomy and rainy London. Your pictures are so lovely and those stripey fabrics are summer favourites for me. Thanks for sharing, have a great week. Love from London xo

  2. The stripes are just wonderful and who can resist a new pair of shoes too!

    xo kelley

  3. Soooo Provencale....thanks for the lovely images, Kit!

  4. I have only two pieces. One is a table runner, a thick, slightly rough weave and it is my favorite. I use it over another cloth or alone on a mahogany breakfast table or outside on the veranda, again over another cloth. It's very versatile and makes me think about an area I love.


  5. Hi Kit, I know what you mean about how hard it can be to set a table with these divine fabrics. I love them too but they have to do the talking with simpler tableware or it just falls flat. Im sure tho that you'll have lots of fun with them!

  6. Love this post - it makes me SMILE!!! I enjoy how you're using the stripes on a diagonal and the espadrilles at the end might just have my name on them in a big girl's size, 40 or 41! The first photo melts me with the basket purses and all the fabric choices! Thanks for the beautiful summer shots.

  7. Love you striped tables covers. The Gateau looks unbelievable. I may need
    to try that recipe.

  8. Beautiful stripes! Gorgeous colors!

  9. Kit these are perfect for table linens, seat cushions, pillows etc!! I adore these fabrics!!
    Thank you so much for sharing....

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  10. Very pretty fabric -- I admired the provencal linens at the markets in England -- alas, didn't bring any home!

  11. I love the bold stripes. I think a bold dinnerware with a large pattern would be perfect on it. Almost like putting Talavera on a Mexican serape. I love the colors! They just say summer and south of France.. Merci bien for sharing with us.. Many blessings, marlis

  12. Such lovely vibrant colors!

    -The Tablescaper

  13. Anonymous23 June, 2011

    Awwwh I wish I was at the market in Apt again!!! Loved the fabric when i was there, Could just buy rolls and rolls...sigh...Thanks for the recipe will try it when summer and cherries roll around again...can't wait.


  14. Loved these colorful fabrics! They are quite rather like Mexican multicolored sarapes. Have a great day! XoXo

  15. These prints and colors are all so beautiful!



  16. Now, THAT's the way to do stripes! Bold, bright, fun, but still oh so chic! Love it.

  17. What an incredibly gorgeous journey you've shared with us on your beautiful blog!! And thanks so much for linking to my recipe for Gateau Basque, a very delicious reminder of a very beautiful place.

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  19. Your pictures are so lovely and those stripey fabrics are summer favourites for me. Have a great day!

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  20. Love, love, love those stripes. Perhaps I can be satisfied for a bit with espadrilles like the ones pictured. Lovely stuff. Thanks for sharing!

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I would love to hear what you think! merci!


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