French tablecloths of Provence buying guide

French Tablecloths of Provence Buying Guide

Welcome to your ultimate buying guide for French tablecloths from Provence. It’s easy to fall in love with these beautiful table cloths from the south of France. With patterns drawn from the lush natural environment; bouquets of lavender, twigs of olives and juicy citrus set against a colourful background, they add a burst of happiness to your table.

At first, the range can seem overwhelming. Cotton or coated cotton?  Linear or framed? Authentic or copied? What does it all mean?

French Affair are French tablecloth specialists and we would love to help you make the right decision. Here’s what you need to know to choose your perfect French tablecloth.

French Tablecloth Design Styles 

Allover Pattern

Tablecloth Pattern All Over

A small pattern repeated across the tablecloth. This can be the tiny “cigale” or cicada that is traditionally used decoratively on pottery and glassware in Provence. Perhaps it’s the calisson, a sweet treat from Provence.  Or it can be olives, lemons or a simple geometric design.

This design is more subdued and easy to mix and match with other designs. Perfect if your crockery or table decoration is more elaborate.

This design is great if you want to use the tablecloth on tables of different sizes. Place the tablecloth on a smaller table and you can easily fold the cloth under at the end without affecting the overall design.


Tablecloth Pattern Linear

A striped effect. Different patterns in contrasting colours run side by side along the length of the tablecloth. The effect is very striking and can transform a room, instantly bringing the warm colours of Provence into the home. 

This design also works well if you want to use the tablecloth on tables of different sizes. Place the tablecloth on a smaller table and you can easily fold the cloth under at the end without affecting the overall design.

Placed or Framed Design

Tablecloth Pattern Placed

A more elaborate pattern created exactly for that size of tablecloth. An outer border frames the table with a design in the centre. As a result, the design is particularly well balanced and helps to create a lovely “frame” for the table. 

Make sure it’s the right size for your table as you can’t fold it under without compromising the design.

Fabric Treatments 

100% Cotton

Quality natural fabric. Easy to care for and will last for years.  


Machine washable in cold or warm water. Tumble dried on low temperature setting or you can hang dry for best results. Some ironing is required. 

100% Cotton Acrylic Coated

What a fabulous invention!  Easy care. Just wipe down with a wet cloth. The cotton fabric is treated with an acrylic coating which makes the tablecloth stain repellent. It’s like magic – any spills simply bead on the cloth ready to be wiped off. Ideal for high traffic areas such as the kitchen.

The great thing about this coating is that the tablecloth remains quite flexible.  Although there’s a light sheen, because the tablecloth is made of cotton (and not plastic or oilcloth) the tablecloth drapes nicely at the corners. Consequently, it doesn’t stick out at awkward angles. This water-repellent cotton can be washed in the washing machine although it doesn’t need washing nearly as often as a standard cotton tablecloth.  Ideal for everyday use.


Just use a wet sponge or cloth to clean and wipe off the spills. The tablecloth can be machine washed in cold or warm water without loosing the coating. Water repellent tablecloths may wrinkle after washing like any garments. Just hang them to dry. If you really must get every last wrinkle out, the tablecloths may be ironed on reverse side at low temperature.  Do not dry clean. 


The perfect tablecloth for you depends on the length you like your cloth to hang over on each side. Between 15cm to 25cm is ideal.  So, simply measure your table. And then allow your idea of the perfect overhang length on each side. Et voila .. the ideal tablecloth size. As a general guide, this is the tablecloth size you need for each table.:

  • 150cm square – suits a 4 seater square table
  • 180cm round – suits a 4 to 6 seater round table
  • 150 x 120 cm – suits a small 4 to 6 seater table
  • 200 x 150 cm – suits a 6 seater table
  • 250 x 150cm – suits an 8 seater table
  • 300 x 150cm – suits a 10 seater table
  • 350 x 150cm – suits a 12 seater table

Warning:  Beware of imitations.

Some companies copy the traditional Provencale designs and print them onto lower quality fabrics in Asian factories. Watch out for the words “French inspired” or the claim that the product is simply “imported”. Almost certainly it has been imported from China!  Not what you were hoping for.

If you’re shopping for authentic French table linen, beware if the prices seem really cheap. Remember, you usually et what you pay for.  You may find that although the designs look very French, they’re made in Asia with lower quality fabric.

The tablecloths in our online shop are produced by a family owned business in Nice, Provence.  Opening their doors in 1933, for the last three generations, the company has been making authentic quality Provençal tablecloths and fabrics to delight locals and tourists alike. 

Choose your perfect tablecloth from our extensive range of French tablecloths.

We hope our Buying Guide for French Tablecloths was helpful. Want to know more?  Discover the fascinating history of French tablecloths.

6 thoughts on “French tablecloths of Provence buying guide

  1. Amelia says:

    These tablecloths are amazing. I have had mine for years and it still looks like the day I bought it. It hasn’t faded and because it’s the coated style, it hasn’t stained either. Couldn’t live without it!

  2. Penny Farrell says:

    Hi Sue,
    I have 2 of your beautiful tablecloths, given to me as a wedding gift in 2016. One of them is waterproof and I have just been reading about pfas. I assume these would be free from this since they’re made in Europe? Any info much appreciated 🙂

    • Sue McGary says:

      Thanks for this great question, Penny. Your stain-resistant tablecloths are beautiful and safe. Our suppliers are OEKO-TEX® certified which means they use eco-friendly processes in their production. To achieve this certification, they must pass stringent tests confirming there are no harmful substances in their products. So, our tablecloths are free of PFAS and perfectly safe to use.

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