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Maison Cherie French lifestyle and home decor blog

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French bistro water carafe, the history and purpose of

Updated: Feb 17, 2021

During the 19th and early 20th century, water carafes were a common sight in French bistros.

French bistro water carafe, the history and purpose of

French bistro water carafes

During the 19th and early 20th century, water carafes were a common sight on the tables and bars of bistros all over France.

The purpose of the water carafe in the preparation of absinthe

Commonly used in the preparation of absinthe during the Belle Époque era, water carafes were often shared as part of the communal drinking experience romanticized by French artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway and Oscar Wilde.

Preparing absinthe was quite an art form, patience and accuracy were necessary. The carafe was used to drip water onto sugar cubes held in a slotted spoon over the absinthe until completely dissolved from the spoon.

Carafes provided graphic advertising opportunities

In addition to its obvious function to hold water, the carafe, was also used as a promotional tool for alcohol manufacturers who would supply bistros with carafes in the hope that the establishment would use them and subsequently promote their brands.

French Boucry and Lacroix water carafes

Inspired by antique water carafes of the Belle Époque era, these mouth-blown glass reproductions made in France, feature graphic advertising based on original designs and will add vintage charm to any French inspired home décor.

The Boucry and Lacroix carafes are available to buy in our online shop and are priced at £27.50 each.


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