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Location: Minneapolis, MN

Dempsey is a Golden Retriever puppy who is in training to become a Helping Paws service dog for an individual with a physical disability. He lives with his parents Doreen and Paul, and Bailey the cat. None has ever trained a puppy before. These are their adventures. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the blog author. The contents of this blog have not been reviewed or approved by Helping Paws, Inc.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Toile Museum

Doreen and I tried visiting the Toile Museum of Jouy-en-Josas today, but we didn't make it. We've been trying to get there for a couple of weeks now, so I give up. I'll just tell you the story of toile in Jouy, and we can pretend I learned this by living in Paris, and not from Google.

First: What is toile? It depends on whether you speak English or French.

In French, toile means "fabric."

In English, toile means "a plain-woven cotton fabric printed with a repeating pattern of pastoral settings, animals, people printed in one color on a solid background of another color."

Why such different meanings?

, it turns out, comes from La Manufacture Royale de Jouy, a factory started in Jouy-en-Josas by Christopher-Philippe Oberkampf that produced what we now call toile. Oberkampf's patterns were much in demand at the royal court in nearby Versailles, and Oberkampf hosted many luminaries in his home (which is now city hall), including Marie Antoinette, Laplace, Lagrange, and Gay-Lussac. Oberkampf's printed fabrics were so popular, everyone started referring to them as "toile de Jouy-en-Josas." Eventually, of course, this was shortened simply to "toile."

Today, Jouy-en-Josas is a sleepy little village today that's probably best known for being home to HEC, but it used to be near the center of the universe 200 years ago.

If you're interested, you can read more about the history of toile here. CNN has also produced a story on Jouy-en-Josas. One writer has alleged industrial espionage, but if you can read French, the town of Jouy-en-Josas has a very different history on their Website.