07 January 2007

Les bleus de travail

On the way from Saint-Aignan to the big shopping area south of the city of Tours, along little country roads, we pass through the village of Saint-Quentin-sur-Indrois (among a dozen or so others). At Saint-Quentin there is this nice sign advertising bleus de travail and blue-jeans.

The blue border around the wall painting definitely recalls
the color of the blue workclothes it advertises.

Bleus de travail are the bright blue work clothes you see men wearing all around the French countryside (and in Paris too, for that matter. They come in three styles:
  • trousers
  • overalls ("Loose-fitting trousers, usually of strong fabric, with a bib front and shoulder straps, often worn over regular clothing as protection from dirt," the dictionary says). A pair of overalls in French is called a salopette. Also called "bibs and braces" in English.
  • coveralls ("A loose-fitting one-piece work garment worn to protect clothes"), called a combinaison in French
And of course there's a site devoted exclusively to bleus de travail. That's where I got this picture:

A hard-working ouvrier in his blue salopette

Another site shows some more of these kinds of wall-advertising signs. It's pretty amazing, every day, to realize that so much information is on the web. Here's a site that says the Mont-Saint-Michel-Ariès clothing company was founded in 1913 and moved into a factory in the Breton city of Rennes in 1923.

I once bought myself a pair of blue overalls. I think I bought them at the Samaritaine store in Paris, or maybe it was the Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville. It was in about 1982, and that was around the time when I quit smoking, just before moving back to the U.S. As you can imagine, I gained weight at that point, and was never able to wear the blue salopette I had bought. I don't know what ever happened to it (not that I would be able to wear it today!)

1 comment:

  1. Whatever the guy wearing the bleu de travail has had for lunch, I want the same ;)


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