Ginger and NutmegInspire: Art & CultureProvencal History & Traditions

Provencal Laundry all Washed up in France’s Lavoirs

Water sloshes against the sides of the shallow stone basin of the lavoir as weathered hands vigorously scrub at stubborn stains. Kneeling on their augets washerwomen exchange tidbits of town gossip as they work to brighten their laundry.

Lavoir Seguret #ProvenceHistory Laundry @PerfProvence

Lavoir Seguret #ProvenceHistory Laundry @PerfProvence

Before communal lavoirs, personal washing was done sparingly by the side of rivers or using precious well water. The washerwoman was often the lady of the house, or in instances of greater wealth, this was an outsourced activity. Laundry was done sparingly, often collected for many months in humidity-free attics or armoires.

This strenuous task was limited to a few times a year when the town’s washing was done over a three-day period a tradition called “la grande buée” or “la grande lessive” (the big wash).

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Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).

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