I am busy doing a lot of laundry the last few days. It is sunny and hot. Like last year, the same time, all the winter linens are washed and dried in the sun and stored away with cedar pieces of wood, lavender sachets and old pieces of savon de Marseilles. The summer linge lavé (washed natrual linen)  is taken out, rinsed and dried and folded for a fresh summer smell, summer feel and summer ambiance. I love sleeping on linge lavé in summer…it is light and cool.

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I wrote about my laundry day last year on my Coin Perdu blog. I am re posting it here and I hope you enjoy reading it, while I escape the heat and sun a bit  with a cold and refreshing glass of diabolo grenadine ( 1 part grenadine syrup with 3 parts limonade)

“Whether we love it or hate it, it needs to be done. Laundry. Washing. Some of us are lucky enough to just fill the laundry basket and someone else does the washing. And the ironing. Some of us do it all ourselves. I am one of those. Partly by choice and partly by force.

Laundry isn’t one of my favorite chores..but isn’t that why they are called chores? Anyway, a chore needs doing and in our house, it comes down to me. Whenever I think back on the washing days in my Maman’s house, I remember them as fun days.  But I have come far enough in life to know that memories are tainted. Maybe Maman also did the washing simply because she had no choice either. There is little bit of a romance to doing washing in summer. Who doesn’t reach for the camera when driving through the country side and seeing washing on long lines drying in the breeze. Or laundry hanging over fences. Or even on chairs or poles. Where there is a ray of sunlight, there you’ll find washing.

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*Join me now for a  typical summer’s washing day here at Coin Perdu.


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I don’t have a laundry room..yet…and it will be quite a while before I do have ma petite buanderie. In the image below is the barn which will be converted into a laundry room. I am already dreaming of that day…a huge farm table on which I can do my folding… a deep porcelain sink for washing and rinsing and soaking… an old armoire(cupboard) for equipment and products…a window to let in light and a large sill to set out crumbs for the birds and always have an enamel jug with flowers…drying lines across the ceiling, working with pulleys, like the olden days(for winter time), large old baskets, enamel bowls and jugs for soaking, poaring…some old bric and brac for ambiance, just because it is pretty…oh..to dream…

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We all know that feeling of getting into bed at night, sliding your body inbetween crisp linen sheets, smelling of sun and  wild herbs. Exactly the reason why I don’t iron my sheets in summer. I might iron the foldback at the top which has a monogram or lace. And the way to do it? Turn the sheet wrong side up and place a double folded towel under the monogram. Place a damp cotton fabric on the top of the monogram and iron so that the right side of the monogram sinks into the towel, seeing to a nice embossed monogram. It also prevents the iron from damaging the yarn/thread in the long run. Fold your linens ans store in a cupboard or shelf along with some cedar balls and some dried lavender if you wish. I also place pieces of soap in the corners of all our closets/armoires/ cupboards…you know, those last pieces of the soap we don’t use. I don’t like perfumed sachets.

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Blue skies and warm weather, bright sun…perfect washing days…!

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I love the smell of fresh, natural non perfumed soaps. The Marseilles soaps are wonderful, as is the “Pierre des Landes”, an artisan soap which works for just about everything. To soak my mother’s old doilies and all white cloths which has stains, I grate some savon de Marseille into a bowl of water, leave the pieces to soak and rise. Or I spread thickly soaped pieces out in the sun to remove the stains. It is the perfect way to remove stains without using any chemical stuff, since the sun is a natural whitener. when it has dried, I rinse the pieces in clean water and spread out to dry.

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Beware..not just any soap marked Savon de Marseille is the real thing! Le véritable Savon de Marseille needs to consist of a  minimum of  72% pure olive oil and 28% sodium carbonate.  Many other savons de marseille also have other oils as well as some animal fats added.

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Whenever I have a stain on a sheet or tablecloth,  I rub the stain with savon de Marseille(or whichever natural soap you use) and hang it over two lines so the sun gets to bleach out the stain..see no need for stain removers! It works, really  it does. Of course, if you use coloured linens and clothing, you have to fall back on the stain remover, for the sun will bleach spots on your fabric. Dark fabrics are hung in the shade to prevent fading. They don’t need sun, only a bit of heat..and fresh air!

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In winter, when I don’t have the beautiful blue skies as in the image below, I have my linens washed and ironed at the blanchisserie, where they are washed and ironed on large rollers.. some day I hope to visit our local blanchisserie with my camera and do a post on how they treat the old linens..it is so interesting. After all, they have been doing it for centuries; taking care of the different textile; linen, or cotton or mixtures, hemp, flax.. They also take good care of the monograms and lace and hand embroideries that go along with antique linens and tablecloths, serviettes. But that is all for next winter..I am now basking in summer linens!

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Well..come to think of it…it might be that I actually enjoy doing washing. In summer. For I am doing it exactly the way Maman did! My washing needs to be neatly hung. All the socks together, pinned on the toe. The T-shirts hangs over the line at the chest and are pinned under the sleeves..no stretching from hanging from the pins. The shirts opened up and pinned at the side seams at the bottom. Dresses are hung on hangers, lingerie are pinned on the top at the side seams. Everything has to be grouped together and hung straight..I hate loops and droops. Dish towels and pillow cases..straight, no drooping! That is how my Maman did it.

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Now tell me you don’t have the desire to go hang out some washing?

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à bientôt


13 thoughts on “A laundry day in June.

  1. I remember your laundry day very well 🙂 I also remember lusting over those beautiful bars of artisan soaps. You make laundry day look so enchanting.


  2. You make me want to start a Pinterest board on laundry..actually they could all go in my CHARMING board.
    You..the artist..make laundry day a thing of beauty:)
    I open my ugly washing machine..put the laundry and ugly Tide in..press start..then the dryer gets the job.
    Your laundry day is absolutely poetic.
    Have you seen UN ETE EN PROVENCE?
    Un charmant film!
    The daisy stole my heart from the first pic!


  3. Hi susan..thanks…not that it is always such a fairy tale! When it is hot out, it is sweaty and hard work, but I think I’ll keep doing it for the reward when slipping into those sunkissed linens..


  4. Monique, I haven’t seen “Un ete en Provence” yet…it is on my list though, Jean Reno being one of my favorite actors. I saw you writing about it a few posts ago!
    Hehe…the daisy was only for the camera of course!


  5. I too remember your lovely first laundry day post, but loved seeing it again. Even if the daisy was just for the camera, it brings out your brilliant talent for making washing look so charming. Are your poppies in bloom yet , I was late sowing mine, but they’ve just started to bloom. I’m looking at them each day as I wander around my garden during my post surgery recuperation. I mixed mine together so there will be a medley of pink & red.


  6. Bonjour Ronelle … what a lovely post – it inspires me to take out my linen and get washing and what a lovely touch to add those soap ends to the linen closet. Unfortunately I don’t have the real Savon-Marseille but for now will use my home-made lavender pieces and of course add a daisy to the peg!! soooo…. pretty.
    I’ve been spending time in beautiful Brittany but have now returned to spend a chilly cold winter in Australia.

    a bientot
    Dianne at “All Things French”


  7. Ronelle, you’ve turned laundry day into a charming event and I love your petite daisy on the clothes line. When we lived in the islands, we didn’t have a dryer and hung everything out on a big clothes line. Everything smelled so fresh.


  8. I can just imagine, Sam…and there you have the fresh sea air so everything must’ve had a touch of ocean air. I’d like that too..


  9. Salut dianne, good to hear from you!
    Your home made pieces of soap will be perfect. I was in Bretagne as well a few weeks ago…I hope you had the same wonderful weather we had!
    Enjoy winter in Australia…it has its charm too.


  10. Hi Barbara L…hope your back is doing better?
    I sowed some(not all) of yoiur weeds, but I didn’t get any crop, which is why I am happy that I kept some to sow this fall. I think it will be better. I also changed my garden quite a bit and is still busy with making changes. so it can explain why the seeds didn’t get chance to germinate, but I am looking forward to next season!


  11. Your words and photos make laundry seem not a chore but instead it seems to have a bit of romance to it. I am envious of your beautiful summer linens. And also of your blanchsserie when your weather is not good. There is no place like that where I live.


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