our neighbours’ patchwork

neighbour patchwork
this amazing collection of colour is actually the floor of every room in our neighbours’ house

Actually, our neighbours probably DO think I’m bonkers as I’ve taken photos of their floor tiles too!

But really, it’s not just any old tiles – their house is full to the skirting boards of the most beautiful ‘carreaux ciment’.

These highly decorative cement tiles (also known as hydraulic tiles), along with terracotta tiles, are an extremely common form of floor covering here and the colours can be magnificent.

They are thought to have been first produced in Viviers, in the South of France, in the mid 19th century and you can see that it’s an incredibly hard-wearing floor when you think most of the houses around here still have the original tiles.  And they’re wonderfully cool under the feet in summer.  No wonder you see all the dogs and cats in their village residences sprawled out on them.  Just be sure you don’t have shaky fingers, the morning after a big dinner party, with a favourite breakfast bowl…

On moving in to their home, our neighbour friends found a load of tile spares and cleverly laid them in the VIP room.

wc patchwork
a work of art in the WC (in our house we call that a ‘loo’)

Even going to the loo is a treat for the eyes.

La jolie France

wc public
guess where

Thought you’d like a peek inside one of these things.

My husband thinks I should give guided tours of them as I know where ALL of them are.  They’re not quite as picture-perfect as you’d imagine from the outside but they do the job.  But at 30 centimes a pop they could be cleaner!  It was a huge shock to arrive in France and find out I had to pay for these visits.  If I had a penny for every…

I asked Benji what the ‘WC’ stood for and he replied ‘wateerrrr closette’.  Oh right. So the French have stolen from us for once.

The outside looks slightly similar to this – the image on the cover of my old French textbook from school, “Un Deux Trois 1”.

un deux trois
The cover of "Un Deux Trois 1", R. Girod, P.O. Holmberg, A.Klum, 1981. Little did I know at the age of twelve that I would actually NEED French!! - won't tell you what we scribbled on the inside either...

Didn’t know I was going to live the dream.