Wall-to-wall carpet is rare in France. Homes have wood, tile or stone on the floors, with area rugs, especially antique ones.
The first time I saw a home with tiled floors in the living room, I thought, ick! This is like the rec room in my parents’ basement. But I quickly came to distinguish nice materials, like terrazzo, from wannabe terrazzo-patterned lineoleum. And I really love encaustic and terra cotta tiles.When I mention wall-to-wall carpet, my French friends wrinkle their noses. It’s so dirty, they say. Not hygenic.
In France, one of the rites of summer is washing the rugs. I wait for a stretch of nice, hot days and haul out one rug at a time, set up over garden chairs. It gets sprayed down with a hose, rubbed with a big brush, and the one under the dining table gets a little Woolite. Then a rinse and it’s left to drip dry. I do it on the east side of the house, so that the rugs don’t sit in direct afternoon sunshine.
This year has been extra busy, with the carpets we bought for the apartments needing a wash.
Once I saw an enormous rug hanging to dry at a village lavoir, or public washing house. That would have been convenient for washing, and drying, but a hassle to haul it back and forth–they are extremely heavy. Maybe it was someone who didn’t have a courtyard.
Do you like wall-to-wall carpet or area rugs?