So what is the differences between French and UK beds and why aren’t the French up to the mark?
There’s an exact science involved in bed-manufacturing. A properly designed mattress should adapt to the shape of your body, not the other way round. The best made British beds and mattresses have a long tradition and design all of their own, geared to provide the best levels of support and comfort. Pocket-springing has been around for over 100 years and there is little doubt that the Brits do it best!
Over the years, British manufacturers have found ways of putting more and more springs into mattresses (and the bases underneath them) to provide better and better support for the spine. Couple that with the best natural fibres, for example, lambswool, mohair, silk, cashmere, and horse hair, which Mother Nature has given animals to keep them warm in winter and cool in summer, wick away their perspiration, and cushion them when they lie down, and you have unparalleled comfort. And finally, the best British manufacturers employ specialist craftsmen whose skills have been handed down through generations. You will often find whole families employed at one factory. For example, Hypnos Beds (the only bed manufacturer with a UK Royal Warrant) is still in the hands of its founding family after more than 100 years. You just can’t find better beds anywhere in the World.
French beds, on the other hand, are most often of a bed-frame design, with slats and a hard, shallow “sommier” supporting the mattress. “Matelas” are often thin, with a high foam content, or foam with a few hundred springs. They also seem to be either very hard or very soft. Either way, your back curves when your muscles relax, and you get up in the morning with back-ache that often takes an hour or more to ease. Not really a lit de luxe (luxury bed) and a refreshing nights sleep!
If you compare these French mattresses with a few hundred springs with a British bed from Hypnos or Relyon (arguable the best bed manufactures in the world) we can see the difference in quality. For example the Hypnos Eminence boasts over 2000 independently pocketed-springs in the kingsize mattress which is upholstered with pure cotton felt, hand-teased white hair, cashmere, silk and lambswool. The three rows of genuine hand side-stitching to the mattress borders ensure greater edge-to-edge support.
Another example would be The Relyon Emperor which has over 3400 pocketed springs in the Kingsize Mattress, which is upholstered with cotton felt, lambswool, hand-teased merino wool, cashmere, mohair, and horse hair. Its five rows of hand stitching provide the greatest edge-to edge support possible. The mattress is supported by a deep divan with 1000 pocketed springs and a further two rows of hand side-stitching.
Why British expats miss British beds so much when they move to France? Is it the textures/quality/comfort/style/price? Don’t the French traditionally have beautiful furniture?
Apart from the vastly superior support and comfort we’ve already mentioned, many Brits love the traditional “divan” styling which is hard to find among in French beds! Of course, French wooden beds and cabinet-making is absolutely beautiful, but it’s a completely different concept. Part of the “tradition” of a divan bed (or “box-spring” as our American customers call it) is the joy of dressing it with fabulous bed linen, although some modern divans are being offered with choices of fabrics so that they can integrate even more into you own bedroom design. And then, of course, the opportunity to have drawers fitted into the divan-base is so convenient, particularly in cupboard-less apartments!