September 17 2010
I’ve been on something of a mission in recent years to track down the perfect shade of bleu-gris or blue-grey that is so synonymous with French country style. It was only when I had stopped looking – having settled for Farrow & Ball’s Lamp Room Grey on the shutters of my French home – that I finally found the shade I had been looking for, while visiting friends near Lectoure, in the Gers.
They took me to visit a charming boutique, called Bleu de Lectoure, which is practically a homage to all things French blue – from art products and textile paints to beauty products and fashion accessories (including tie-dyed scarves, from €20), as well as table linen (from €28) and organic cotton towels (from €17). The common denominator is that all have been dyed using natural pigment from the woad plant. Woad, which is said to have astringent and anti-viral properties, is also the key ingredient in the Graine de Pastel beauty range, which includes blue-hued soaps (€6), hand creams (€11) and bath oils (€22).
But the most exciting discovery for me was that Bleu de Lectoure also produces a natural (woad) pigmented paint in exactly the elusive shade of blue that I had been looking for; now the shutters, doors and window frames of my house are painted in gorgeous pale Bleu Alazado.