European Flooring

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Extraordinary Flooring - French Limestone as a Home Building Material

Vieux Monde or old world - at Pavé Tile, we love all that is old, a soft patina that conjures up past stories of lives lived long ago. Romance, heart ache, peace and war - it is the human condition that across time - we are still all the same. This human connection is perhaps one reason we seek out authentic materials to place in our homes. French Limestone is one of these authentic materials. Used for over 2000 years in France, this regal and durable stone has felt the hands of the Roman Empire in the South of France - who used French Limestone in building their arenas, theaters, and coliseums. During the Middle Ages - from the 10th to 12th centuries - French builders used their limestone to build Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. And during the French Renaissance - from the 15th to 17th centuries - French Limestone was the foundation for the Chateaux in the Loire Valley such as the Palais de Versailles. Working with one of the best French Limestone quarries in France, using the latest technology and most advanced techniques, they age, patina, chisel, brush or hone this historic stone. The colors of French Limestone, as seen all over France, are soft grays, creams, whites and golds.

Unlike Jerusalem Limestone that has many more natural color choices and textures, French Limestone is more subtle in it's color palette.  This is why the importance of French Limestone lies in skilled manufacturing techniques that, can not only quarry the highest quality of French Limestone, but to then age it in a variety of surfaces.  These finishes make a difference in bringing out the nuances of French Limestone. My blog today is about these French Limestone finishes - and how each surface can change the ambiance of one's home.

Of course, one must begin with quality French Limestone.  Just like in cooking, even the most skilled chef cannot succeed if she is using a rotten tomato!  At Pavé Tile, the quality of our French Limestone is unsurpassed.  Generations deep, the factory with whom we work in France is meticulous in their quarry techniques and simply rejects the limestone that does not pass the strictest quality tests for home flooring surfaces.

Assured of the French Limestone's quality, the only way now to achieve an exquisite array of French Limestone surfaces is through advanced technology, education and skill.  At Pavé Tile, we can offer these exquisite surfaces due to just that - the ability of our French manufacturer's skill and level of education - up-to-date on the latest manufacturing techniques - to provide, ironically, the best in old world French Limestone surfaces.

Upon first glance, Pavé Tile's Collection of Antique French Limestone certainly resembles each other.  However, have you seen Valentino's 2011 Haute Couture Spring Collection?  A dress is a dress, but the array of  dresses he creates using champagne organza silk is breathtaking.  Valentino dresses and French Limestone?  I do have a point.  If one does not have an eye for detail and quality, those Valentino dresses might appear...could I possibly say this?  boring???  Never.  Not to my eye anyway.  And this is the same idea with Pavé Tile's French Limestone Collection.  The surfaces are simply extraordinary.

I have finally arrived to the section in my blog where I can show the different and exquisite surface textures of Pavé Tile's Antique French Limestone.

Pavé Tile's Vieux Monde Antique French Limestone Flooring Collection:
This first photo is from our French Limestone Collection St. Etienne Series. The colors are soft gray, cream, wheat and gold - a perfect blend of  warm and cool colors lending itself to either a modern or vintage decor.  This finish is called "14th century".   Reminiscent of the stone and finish of the 14th century that defines the beautiful yet fortressed chateaux for protection against invading armies, it is a chiseled yet smooth patina - a handsome and masculine floor. There are many sizes available, but as seen in this photo are widths 8", 12" 16" by random length. Thickness is 3/4". 
The next Collection in our French Limestone Series is called Vendôme.  Here the colors are soft wheat, cream and gold.  Less color variation with warmer tones, this is a French Limestone floor perfect to offset cooler elements in a home. "Renaissance" is the finish. This is reminiscent of the stone during the Renaissance when France was a flourish in art and culture. It has a smooth patina texture with soft, undulating edge - it is  rustic elegance.  The sizes as seen in this photo are  8" x 8", 8" x 16", 16" x 16", 16" x 24" which is the classic Versailles Pattern. The thickness is 3/4". 
The third French Limestone in our Collection is called Orléans.  The colors are cream to creamy white, beige with hints of soft gray.  This French Limestone floor coloring is perfect for that contemporary decor. The exquisite finish is called "Chambord".  With a silky, creamy texture, fine edging and light chisel, this stone is reminiscent of Chambord's stairwells, that glorious château built by François 1er in the 16th century, an ultra elegant old world floor.  The sizes as seen in this photo are 8"x 8", 8" x 16", 16" x 16", 16" x 24", again that classic Versailles Pattern and it's thickness is 3/4". 
 If the colors look similar to one of the photos above - you are right.  This is again the French Limestone St. Etienne Collection with the soft gray, cream, wheat and gold colors, but the finish is different.  This lovely surface texture of this French Limestone is called "Château 15th Century". This texture is highly chiseled yet soft to the touch. It is  regal in appearance and authentically old world France. The sizes as seen in this photo are 8" x 8", 8" x 16", 16" x 16", 16" x 24", again the classic Versailles Pattern and the thickness is 3/4". 
Here we are revisiting French Limestone "Collection Orléans" again with colors ranging from cream to creamy white, beige and hints of soft gray. This time, with the "Renaissance Finish", the Collection Orleans takes on a rustic elegance as seen in countryside Manor homes from the 16th century in the Loire Valley. The size in this photo is the 16" x 16" octagon with 3" x 3" Nero cabochon. The thickness is 3/4". 
Creativity and beauty are seen with this classic French Limestone in "Collection Vendôme".  The colors are in the warm tones of soft wheat, cream and gold.   As for the finish, it's the "Château 15th Century", highly chiseled yet so soft to the touch. The floor is regal and authentically old world France.  This image shows the lovely 8" x 8" octagon with 2 1/2" cabochon. Thickness is 3/4". 
And finally, here we are again viewing the French Limestone Collection Vendôme with it's lovely soft wheat, cream and gold colors.  However, this French Limestone Collection has the surface texture called "Roman".  Like walking along a Roman path in Nimes, this stone has the deepest patina, revealing silhouettes of shells and pebbles engrained into the buttery surface.  It has a fine edging for an extremely tight grout line installation and designers and architects love this French Limestone floor for it's old world sophistication . The sizes as seen in the photo are 16" width by random size length and the thickness is 3/4".

It's extraordinary how education can open one's eyes to details that one may have never noticed before.  Taking a class in classical music - one's ear would become fine-tuned to hearing the difference between a viola and a violin.  It's these fine details that make life more interesting, in my opinion.  I hope this blog on French Limestone surface textures will open your mind to seeing the details and variety one can achieve in using quality French Limestone and skillful techniques.  I always believe contrast, like in nature, makes the most beautiful spatial elements.  And this time, this contrast - or really the dichotomy of 21st technology with quarried French Limestone formed a millennia ago, makes extraordinary flooring.

À la prochaine!
Emmi Micallef
Pavé Tile & Stone, Inc.


  1. Limestone flooring is among the most durable flooring material that you can buy today. Limestone is often used by homeowners to give the rooms in their homes a timeless, classic look

  2. great post!tiles are a good choice if you want to resurface an existing asphalt or concrete pavement..

  3. Such a nice post! If you want a simple kind of stone and antique lover Antique Limestone tiles perfect for you. It's of sophistication!