One Small Purchase In Paris


I did make one purchase in Paris. Two oven mitts and a dish towel. Or, as my best friend calls them, a tea towel. Her parents are British. Many terms linger.

That first night, as we wandered waiting for Les Mauvais Garcons to let us in, (never to be but nevermind), we stumbled upon an Olivier Des Forges store on Rue Rivoli.

We were lured by a knit linen throw. I know, doesn’t it sound fabulous? All rough texture and nubbly bliss. But it cost something like 200 euros and the fading family fortune wasn’t up for an expensive blanket.

The saleswoman pressed on, however, giving us an amazingly convincing spiel about how these tea towels were the best in the whole universe. For 8 euros we decided to suspend disbelief.

My friend bought the multi-colored version. I went with black and white. As it turned out, they were, of course, Swedish. Linum. Nobody does home goods like people from the Far North. I hypothesize that it’s because they are inside so much of the year. Nothing like a pretty textile to keep you from clobbering your nearest and dearest.

Tea towels and oven mitts make good souvenirs. Why?

  1. Cheap
  2. Used often, thereby evincing many happy smiles of remembrance
  3. Usually replace disgusting old tea towels and oven mitts, thus providing large bang for proverbial buck

I will spare you a photo of my old oven mitt. Let’s just say it had served me well, and my kitchen environment is quite improved by the new ones. Three cheers for good salespeople, all around the world.

Linum doesn’t appear to have its own e-commerce. Here’s a site for various Scandinavian home goods.

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44 Comments

  • 06/01/10
    6:19 am

    Reply

    Jan said...

    I'd never in a million years post photos of my oven mitts – the poor things have been burned, battered and stained practically beyond recognition.

    My dish towels aren't in much better shape.

  • 06/01/10
    6:30 am

    Reply

    Anna said...

    I LOVE the kitchen stuff from Linum. They also have wonderful pillows with tassels on all four corners, but the pillows still manage to look modern and minimalistic.

  • 06/01/10
    6:43 am

    Reply

    the gardeners cottage said...

    hi lpc,

    well done! i love the black and white colorway. my oven mitts are in bad shape too, maybe i shall go to paris to replace them? hmmm, then again, maybe not.

    ~janet

  • 06/01/10
    6:53 am

    Reply

    JMW said...

    Love the color of the tea towels. If ever I am in Paris, I will be sure to replace my old towels and mits with something similar. ;)

    P.S. – Thanks for the kind comments about my mom and sending prayers her way. I really appreciate it!

  • 06/01/10
    7:09 am

    Reply

    Ms. Givens said...

    I call oven mitts, hot pads.
    My mom came over to eat with us Sat. night and told me I need to replace mine. The one I was using had been burned. ( Sign of a good cook )
    ;)

  • 06/01/10
    7:12 am

    Reply

    Splurgie said...

    I think kitchen linen, whatever you call it in your neck of the woods, makes a wonderful souvenir or gift. I love the black and white. My oven mitts are disgusting now that I see yours. I'm off to buy new ones.

  • 06/01/10
    7:37 am

    Reply

    Ash said...

    i'm used to calling it a tea towel as well but to think of it, dish towel is more appropriate coz it dries up dishes and not tea….hmmm errr anyway, i don't want to fire up a debate on which term is right so i better shut up now. :)

    ~ash's mum

  • 06/01/10
    7:38 am

    Reply

    Joyce Lau said...

    Oh my god! You have designer French oven mitts!
    Marc the Metrosexual would be so jealous.
    Ours are a horrid pink floral pattern, from a cheap local store.
    Tea towels / dish towels are called "good morning towels" in Hong Kong. How funny is that?

  • 06/01/10
    7:38 am

    Reply

    MJ said...

    I often buy dish towels as souvenirs – they're wonderfully practical, don't clutter up the house unnecessarily, and make me smile every time I see them. Good choice!

  • 06/01/10
    7:55 am

    Reply

    Ink Obsession Designs said...

    Very nice! I really like those!

  • 06/01/10
    8:33 am

    Reply

    SewingLibrarian said...

    I once bought bath towels in Rome – same advantages as you listed above. The other thing I often buy while on vacation is a Christmas ornament. Hanging them on the tree brings back lots of memories.

  • 06/01/10
    8:47 am

    Reply

    Caroline, No. said...

    You're right on with tea towels being useful holiday souvenirs.

    Oh, we call oven mitts 'oven gloves', too.

  • 06/01/10
    8:51 am

    Reply

    metscan said...

    Well done! I too happen to have Linum oven mitts, but in gray, naturally. Linum quality is good. The colors and patterns fit in traditional and modern environment. You shopped wisely. How could you resist all the rest of the fantastic stuff in Paris ;)?

  • 06/01/10
    9:58 am

    Reply

    Deja Pseu said...

    Oh, those are nice! I love a good dishtowel.

  • 06/01/10
    10:23 am

    Reply

    L said...

    what a good, and practical, suggestion for souveniers.

  • 06/01/10
    10:44 am

    Reply

    BonjourRomance said...

    Great choice. Tea towels are actually a big decorative item because they're usually hanging out in the open. Of course, I have a hidden stash of burned, maimed but favorite towels in the top drawer for easy access!!
    Wow, who jnow tea towels and oven mitts were so interesting!
    Bonne semaine,
    Mimi

  • 06/01/10
    10:45 am

    Reply

    BonjourRomance said...

    Oops, I forgot how to spell in all the excitement. "who knew…" Ok I'd better quit for the day!

  • 06/01/10
    10:46 am

    Reply

    Kcecelia said...

    Gorgeous tea towels and mitt. Came searching to your blog for something else, but enjoyed this lovely moment with you in Paris.

  • 06/01/10
    11:12 am

    Reply

    Maureen@IslandRoar said...

    Nice ones like that are a great idea to bring home from vacation; I love getting things I can use and think of where I've been!

  • 06/01/10
    2:11 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Jan – Yours have probably produced more delicious meals than mine have:).

    Anna – Agreed. And thank you.

    Gardeners – My kitchen is part of my one large living space, so sticking to black and white helps me keep as much as possible quite serene.

    JMW – I am so glad your mom feels better.

    Ms. Givens – Sign of a good cook indeed.

  • 06/01/10
    2:14 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Splurgie _ Have fun!

    Ash – I think it's like lorries and trucks. Just depends on where we live:).

    Joyce – Ha! Cracks me up! Your mitts would be all the ironic retro rage over here.

    MJ – On the same page…

    Ink – Hello! Haven't seen you in a while. If someone with your design talents likes them, extra bonus!

  • 06/01/10
    3:20 pm

    Reply

    hostess of the humble bungalow said...

    I have posted a picture of my oven mitts and now I am in the Hall of Shame! I will get myself out and buy new…yours are so pristine!

  • 06/01/10
    3:21 pm

    Reply

    Faux Fuchsia said...

    I call them tea towels too-an Australian and a British thing.

  • 06/01/10
    3:46 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Sewing – I love the idea of a Roman towel. Christmas ornaments are great – I don't think I've ever seen them outside of the Christmas season though.

    Caroline – And I actually call them pot holders, but I realize that oven mitt is more precise:).

    Mette – The ultimate seal of dignified good taste:). So happy to hear that the quality is good.

    Deja – Simple pleasures.

    L. Thank you! Welcome!

  • 06/01/10
    3:49 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Bonjour – Love your hidden burned towels.

    Kcecelia – Well hello to you.

    Maureen – Of course most of us just try to buy souvenirs from your home town.

    hostess – Put the link to your oven mitts here! We can compare.

    Faux – yes, and are yours fuchsia?:)

  • 06/01/10
    4:31 pm

    Reply

    Semi Expat said...

    Love your purchases – very 'sturdy gal' if I may say so! I adore buying tea towels especially linen ones too – these are particularly smart – love the black and white. x

  • 06/01/10
    4:35 pm

    Reply

    Town and Country Mom said...

    I have a blanket from Peru and a dishtowel from Paris, and I love using both. Another reason linens are a great souvenir–easy and light to pack!

  • 06/01/10
    6:04 pm

    Reply

    Preppy 101 said...

    That is a perfect souvenir! You've just given me an idea for my future travels. xoxo

  • 06/01/10
    7:22 pm

    Reply

    kay said...

    I agree the perfect souvenir! My mother just returned from France and one of the many souvenirs she brought back for me where beautiful hand embroidered hand towels that I love, although I have to say I don't think I will be using them any time soon that are just to lovely!

  • 06/01/10
    9:31 pm

    Reply

    Twenty Four At Heart said...

    So do you like your purchase? I go through oven mitts at a fast rate. I think that means I abuse them terribly! : )

  • 06/01/10
    10:25 pm

    Reply

    hostess of the humble bungalow said...

    LPC my dirty mitts can be seen here…soon to be replaced…

    http://hostessofthehumblebungalow.blogspot.com/2010/04/spring-ing-from-pages-of-elleand.html

  • 06/01/10
    10:31 pm

    Reply

    Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

    It's much better than cheesy tourist souvenirs!
    xo

  • 06/01/10
    11:03 pm

    Reply

    Looking Fab in your forties said...

    Tea Towels! Everyone seems to be going to Paris lately, we have Eurostar and I still haven't been!

  • 06/02/10
    3:50 am

    Reply

    Buckeroomama said...

    I couldn't help but chuckle over what you said about Scandinavians being so good with home goods because they're inside so much. I suppose that might well be the case. :)

  • 06/02/10
    5:08 am

    Reply

    Tabitha said...

    Sweden has the most amazing home wear shops, I was there last Christmas and spent hours browsing whilst sipping glogg.

    I'm British, I though tea towel was universal!

  • 06/02/10
    11:02 am

    Reply

    materfamilias said...

    I'm on the "tea towel"side, not surprisingly — we Canadians like our Britishisms, plus my dad was from Yorkshire. My oven mitts are in decent shape because I almost never use them — like my dad, who was a cook and my daughter and Son-out-of-law, also both cooks, I prefer grabbing a tea towel. So they often need replacing and I love picking up tea towels as useful souvenirs. . . .bringing those pleasurable travel memories into the everyday!

  • 06/02/10
    11:22 am

    Reply

    Courtney Carver said...

    simple, beautiful and useful. Love it.

  • 06/02/10
    1:59 pm

    Reply

    Duchesse said...

    Like ma, we call them tea towels and fresh ones are a joy! (and the rest of them look all the more disgusting.) There was a wonderful linen boutique here that sold French linen towels so that when you came home and forgot somebody you could get their chic ones and no one knew the difference!

  • 06/02/10
    7:47 pm

    Reply

    glaciercountyhoney said...

    " … people from the Far North. I hypothesize that it's because they are inside so much of the year. Nothing like a pretty textile to keep you from clobbering your nearest and dearest."

    You have no idea how many times I look at my beautiful, handmade tea towels from … Anthropologie? … it matters not where, in the depths of my Montana winter ten scant miles from Canada, and breathe more easily. You speak the truth.

  • 06/02/10
    8:28 pm

    Reply

    Lindy said...

    Lovely purchases…stylish and tasteful. The more I travel, the less I buy to bring home.

  • 06/02/10
    8:56 pm

    Reply

    accordionsandlace said...

    Oh man, we really need to replace our oven mitts!

  • 06/03/10
    4:34 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Semi – Ha! Yes, they are Sturdy Gal, I agree.

    Town and Country Mom – Especially as carrying my bag gets tougher…

    Preppy – Thank you.

    Kay – They sound beautiful. I'm always thinking I should get guest towels like mother has.

    24 – Yes! I've used it now and it's great.

  • 06/03/10
    4:37 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Hostess – Thanks!

    Lenore – Thank you:).

    Fab – Oh, do go. But I know, it's hard for me even to get to San Francisco.

    Buckeroo – I have Swedish step family but I've never quite asked them outright.

    Tabitha – Glogg. Om nom nom.

    Mater – I grab tea towels but I ALWAYS burn myself. That's why I have moved to oven mitts. You should see my right arm. Not pretty.

  • 06/03/10
    4:40 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Courtney – Welcome. Thank you so much.

    Duchesse – Love your strategy.

    Glacier County – Your word is my guide.

    Lindy – Thank you so much. I too take it easy on what I carry back.

    Accordions – Dude, you just got married!:). Do you still have your registyr up? Maybe an anniversary present from mom and dad?

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