Euro-Style Travel and Culture

Our Favorites from France and Beyond

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Gerardmer, France – Pearl of the Vosges

Gerardmer, Pearl of the Vosges – City of “Linge du Maison”

Vosges Mountains half way between Colmar and Epinal. As you approach the city from the west you will notice a small, crystal clear lake bordered by fir trees, an occasional alpine style house and at the tip of the lake is a wonderful hotel and casino. Upon entering the city you will come to the city square with its carrousel, park benches, and of course flowers. In almost every window in the city there are window boxes filled with flowers. Several streets angle off from the square containing small specialty shops selling a wide variety of merchandise for both the residents and for the visitor–everything from household linens, to sports equipment, to food, to hardware, and to books (in every city in Europe it seems there are excellent bookstores). Most restaurants have an area outside where food can be served or a cup of tea or a glass of wine can be sipped in comfort while enjoying the scenery, and there is plenty of scenery to enjoy. Gerardmer serves both summer tourists as well as those who come for a skiing holiday.

We were last in Gerardmer this late summer and were treated to seeing an international bicycle race set off. The competitors were ages 25 and younger and the race course covered similar routes as the Tour de France. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to talk with the young men on the United States team and learn more about this competition. The school in Gerardmer allowed the children to stand on the streets to cheer for their favorite riders and teams and it seemed that most of the town was out doing the same. As we followed the route through the city we noticed several shops with table cloths, towels and bedding in their windows and as the riders rode on we stopped in them to see what they offered.

A major manufacturer located in Gerardmer, Garnier-Thiebaut, is a foremost producer of fine household linens. They are the oldest producer of linens in the Vosges, in business since 1830 producing products for hotels and restaurants throughout Europe. The tradition of creating quality, long lasting products was carried forward to their recently introduced high-fashion decorator line of household linens, developed by the designers of famous Hermes scarves. We are pleased to be able to source their products for sale in the U.S. You may view and purchase selected items from their collection in our e-store, or visit www.garnier-thiebaut.fr to learn more.

After our visit we enjoyed an excellent lunch at the casual restaurant of the Le Grand Hotel. The restaurant is uniquely decorated in a mountain chalet style and well worth visiting, as well as the surrounding lakes and mountain resorts.

At least two of the shops had linens, some of which I have purchased in the past and have found to be excellent. They wear well, hold their color and become easier to care for the more you use them. What I have enjoyed the most is that they reflect the warmth and hospitality of region and on a drab winter day they lend cheerfulness to our dining room. We met one of our colleagues, who introduced us to two of the manufacturers and their officers.
To view and purchase linens from Gerardmer go to our e-store.

Kathryn Severance

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