Basket info

Basket Information
Basket Sizing
Leather handles and trims
Basket care
Uses for your basket

Basket Information
Basket making is one of the oldest art forms and ancient civilizations produced baskets as containers for the gathering, storing, drying and transporting of food and other things. Traces of baskets have even been found in the pyramids of Egypt.

Baskets of a characteristic "triangular" shape have been made in various countries around the Mediteranean for many, many years.

Our baskets are genuine “French market baskets”, so called because, although made in Morocco, they are very popular in France – every self-respecting Frenchwoman has one for her market shopping. Morocco was a French Protectorate until its’ independence in 1956 but the first exchanges occurred between the two countries in the 8th Century so they have had a long association!

The baskets are hand woven by farming families in small villages of the Atlas Mountains by traditional methods passed down from generation to generation. They are woven from leaves of the date palm (Phoenix Dactylifera), which grows abundantly in the region.

After the baskets are woven, they are collected and brought to a more central location where they are finished off by hand. Each basket is unique, so minor variations in weaving and finish are to be expected and treasured. Enjoy the difference!

As well as being stylish and beautiful these baskets are renowned for being strong and hard-wearing. They are traditional work baskets in Morocco, being used for such things as donkey panniers and in tile factories for carrying heavy loads so don’t worry about loading up your basket – it can carry more than you can!

Each basket takes 3 to 8 hours to weave, depending on size and style. The palm leaves are woven into strips, which are then sewn together and the basket is built up in “rounds”.

When baskets are new they smell like hay and leather – some people say the smell reminds them of their horse! This “new” smell will wear off over time.

Basket sizing
It's difficult to give exact measurements for each basket style as they come packed in stacks of 25 – 50 baskets and so size does vary. However, the number of “rounds” in a basket is a rough indication of the size of the basket - the more rounds the bigger the basket!

The largest baskets are 11 rounds, the size of a large shopping basket or beach bag suitable for a family. They have shorter handles as they are generally too large to be worn over the shoulder.

Most of the basket styles are either 10 or 9 rounds, so are medium-sized shopping baskets but not too big to be worn over the shoulder if they have long handles.

The "small" baskets on the website are are suitable for a small amount of shopping or for carrying a few things, not lots of shopping.

The "Baby baskets" are the smallest of all. They are good for making small hampers or for storing toiletries etc. , or as little girl's baskets.

Leather handles and trims
The leather used in making the handles or for trimming the baskets is goat or cow leather which has been treated either by dying, oiling or painting.

Basket care
If properly cared for, your basket will last for a long time. If it gets dirty you can wash it in soapy water (but do not leave it in water for more than five minutes), allow it to drain and then hang it up to dry. Drying in the sun is especially good.

The basket is fine to use for wet clothing such as washing or swimming gear. Just be sure to let your basket dry thoroughly after it gets wet to prevent mould – being made of a natural fibre is does not like to remain wet.

Wetting it also allows you to reshape it if for any reason it loses its’ shape over time.

If the leather gets dirty, clean with a little leather soap but keep in mind that age adds character to your basket.

Because the baskets come packed in stacks of 25-50 baskets, the base of some baskets is flatter than others. The base of the basket gets flatter with use. However, if the base of your basket needs to be reshaped a little after shipping, wet the bottom of the basket, reshape it, and let it dry thoroughly.

Uses for your basket
You will find lots of uses for your French market basket - the possible uses are only limited by your imagination and will probably wonder what you ever did without it!

Here are some of our favourite uses:
  • Supermarket shopping (it goes straight from trolley into your car boot)
  • Shopping at farmer’s markets and gourmet food markets
  • Great for the beach, pool, picnics, boating, etc or for transporting gourmet goodies on picnics
  • Makes a perfect gift, either on its own or filled with great food and wine.
  • Take it away for the weekend
  • Use it for both wet and dry washing
  • Great for storage of magazines, toys, craft quilting, etc.
  • Useful for carrying books, or even small dogs!