Atelier d’Ofard wallpaper makers extraordinaire in Tours

Written by on September 3, 2017 in Art and Artists, Centre, Tours in France

In days long gone, wallpaper was made by hand. It was time consuming and specialist and these days wallpaper is made by machines. But, there are still two companies left in France where the 17th century hand and wood block form of printing is still used as it has been for hundreds of years.

Atelier d’Ofard Tours

Tucked away in a side street in Tours in the Loire Valley is a small, barn-like building and inside, working away quietly and dextrously are a group of dedicated artists who create amazing wallpapers.

If you’ve ever wondered about the stunning wall coverings you see in Chateaux all over France including Marie Antoinette’s bedroom at Versailles – well this is the place to go to find out more. I have to tell you, you’ll need to make a reservation to visit and view. And it’s all in French. But it’s quite fascinating and you have an interest in the arts and in wallpaper (call me strange but I do) then you’ll love this place.

Versace and Hermès are among their clients, and, when I went, they were hand printing a blue and white stripe paper (photos below) for the bedroom of Chopin’s house in Salzburg. They’ve made paper for Angouleme Cathedral, castles in the UK and all manner of illustrious buildings.

Making hand-blocked wallpaper to centuries olds methods

The small team of specialists here are devoted to their jobs. From the person who draws the designs, to the cutter who creates the blocks and those who print and check each piece by eye then hang it up to air dry. After which it’s carefully packed and hung by a team of specialists as this is no ordinary wall paper you glue and push on the wall – it’s very fragile. Nothing is rushed, it takes time to create history on paper.

In fact, three whole days are needed to create 1 metre of wall paper with a complex design. Three days.

If you’re thinking of ordering your own bespoke roll it’s expensive, but maybe not as much as you might think at around Euros 550 for 10 m of a 2-colour roll. It’s the colour that dictates the price – the more colour, the more time is involved in stamping with blocks and the more time it takes to dry. They do, they tell me occasionally machine print for example if they’re making a huge amount such as for a cinema. But, it’s the hand-blocked, beautifully coloured, time-consuming wallpaper that draws the eye. The tiny imperfections make it authentic and unique.

The drawers and shelves of the atelier are stuffed full of samples some of which are hundreds of years old. Precious tissues that have come down through the ages, a record of styles and fashions, it’s quite fascinating.

Tours are available by reservation at: cargocollective.com/aterlierdoffard

For more information on tourism in the area see: www.tours-tourism.co.uk; www.valdeloire-france.comuk.france.fr

Related Articles

French wine cruise in Bordeaux

River cruises are becoming more and more popular and now you can choose to float along a river almost anywhere in the world. Bordeaux is one of the nicest places to do a wine cruise… Rolling down the River on a French Wine Cruise For our first river cruise, my husband and I joined a […]

Continue Reading

Stunning wine and Armagnac tour of Gascony, Gers, Midi-Pyrenees

Gascony is situated halfway between the Dordogne River valley and the Pyrénées Mountains, on the same latitude as the Italian Riviera. It’s a region of sunflowers, vineyards and rolling countryside, of rivers and streams crossed by stone bridges. There are half-forgotten abbeys, hilltop villages, and ancient traditions. The heart of this terrain lies in the […]

Continue Reading

Tour South of France in style | Provence to Cotes du Rhone

Discover the most wonderful places in the south of France from Provence to Cotes du Rhone on this luxury 10-day, small group tour. Explore the sun-drenched region of Provence as well as Nice and Lyon. Highlights include visits to the monumental Palais des Papes in Avignon, exquisite Aix-en-Provence, beautiful Saint-Remy, always lovely Saint-Paul-de-Vence, the fragrant Luberon […]

Continue Reading

 A luxury tour of Normandy and Brittany

A luxury tour of two very distinct regions of France, neighbours Brittany and Normandy have stunning seascapes, historic sites and fabulous gastronomy. In Normandy, explore Mont Saint Michel, Normand and Gothic architecture, landscapes captured by the Impressionists including Monet’s garden at Giverny. You’ll also see the main sites connected to the liberation of Europe in […]

Continue Reading

Espace Dalí Museum Paris

Salvador Dalí loved Paris but few realize the Catalan artist resided for a time, at 7 rue Becquerel in Montmartre. Today close to his former home, there is a museum-gallery which contains hundreds of his works. Espace Dalí museum-gallery The Espace Dalí museum-gallery is located in the heart of the hilltop artists’ village in Montmartre. It contains the […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top