I don’t know if many people still use handkerchiefs in France (or anywhere else in fact), but when they do, these Cholet handkerchiefs seen on the market in Blois just before Christmas, are considered to be the best choice.The history of the Cholet handkerchief goes back to the Vendée wars on the Atlantic coast of France. On 17th October 1793, the great battle of Cholet was fought with three opponents: the inhabitants of Vendée – Elbée Bonchamps, Rcohejacquelein and Stofflet,,those of Beaupuy – Travot, Marceau and Kleber – and finally, the people of Mayence . Henri de la Rochejacquelein  wore three white handkerchiefs from Cholet – on his hat, his chest and side, so that his men would recognise him – but he was a clear target for the Republicans as well. Having used one of the handkerchiefs to mop up a bloody wound, it became red with blood. It was this act of bravoury that Théodore Botrel immortalised in his song Le mouchoir rouge de Cholet in 1898. Since then, the traditional Cholet handkerchief, created by a local manufacturer, Léon Maret, has always been red with white stripes. The public, however, prefers them to be white! You can listen to the song by clicking here.

Je ne sais pas s’il y a encore beaucoup d’amateurs de mouchoirs en tissu en France (ou ailleurs) mais ces mouchoirs de Cholet vus au marché de Blois juste avant Noël, sont considérés comme parmi les meilleurs. L’histoire de ce mouchoir remonte aux guerres de Vendée. Le 17 octobre 1793, la grande bataille de Cholet oppose, d’un côté, les Vendéens, avec d’Elbée,Bonchampsla RochejacqueleinStofflet, de l’autre Beaupuy, TravotMarceauKléber et les Mayençais. Henri de la Rochejacquelein porte à son chapeau, sur sa poitrine et à son côté, trois mouchoirs blancs de Cholet, afin de mieux se faire reconnaître de ses hommes, mouchoirs qui le désignent tout aussi sûrement aux balles républicaines. Ayant utilisé un de ces mouchoirs blancs pour panser une blessure, celui-ci devient rouge de son sang. C’est cet acte de bravoure que Théodore Botrel a voulu immortaliser dans sa chanson intitulée Le mouchoir rouge de Cholet en 1898. Le public, lui, préfère les mouchoirs blancs ! Vous pouvez écouter la chanson en cliquant ici.

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3 comments on “Christmas Hankies – Mouchoirs de noël

  1. Susan Walter

    I use hankies and am always pleased to see that they are still available in the markets in France. There was a time when I couldn’t find hankies to buy in the UK and had to wait until I visited my parents in a small Australian town, where there is a small independent outfitters who still stocks hankies.

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