If you are in search of the perfect outdoor dining chair, then you would be hard-pressed not to stumble upon the Fermob Bistro chair your review. The metal Bistro chair is one of the most iconic outdoor chairs sold today, particularly if you have been any Paris where the chair is quite popular.
I bought a set of these chairs for patio dining and here are my thoughts.
Fermob isn’t a popular company in the United State, but they are everywhere in France. The company has been around since 1889 and they are well known for their outdoor furniture and their lighting, with a few pieces having become true classics.
The most popular of their products is the Bistro family of metal, outdoor furniture. This collection includes chairs, tables, large tables, and more.
Fermob furniture is made in France but is sold all over the world. In the United States you can buy Fermob furniture direct from Fermob US or from a wide range of retailers.
According to Fermob the Bistro chair has been made since 1889 when it was patented as the Simplex chair.
Bistro Chair Details
The Bistro Chair is a metal folding chair designed for outdoor use. It’s been cloned, copied, and replicated any number of times, but Fermob’s is the original.
The Bistro chair is made of steel and is coated with UV-resistant paint so that it doesn’t fade or chip when kept outside. Each chair weighs 10.6 pounds (4.8 kilograms) and while all the structural parts of made of steel there are feet pieces and sliding pieces made of plastic.
The steel pieces are riveted together for strength and make for a maintenance-free chair. All the cross-pieces (that you sit on and lean back on) are curved for comfort and are are made of single pieces of metal. The design looks a bit like a leaf spring in a car but it doesn’t really flex much. The maximum weight is unlisted but we’ve had people around 250 pounds on it with no problems or creaks.
Bistro Chair Pricing
Authentic Fermob Bistro chairs are sold in pairs, typically for about $250-$275 per pair. They are sold in over 20 colors, with the Licorice being the most common color, though the red (Poppy) is popular as well. In Paris you’ll see Fermob chairs in many parks, most famously the Luxembourg Gardens, where the chairs are green (the closest color available commercially is Cedar Green).
Bistro Chair Review
Having used the Bistro chairs many times at different restaurants and venues, and now purchasing a set for my patio, I have found that I still really like them. These chairs aren’t cheap — there is no way around that — but they are attractive and well made.
They look like they would be light duty and flimsy, but they really aren’t in practice. Sure they aren’t as tough as some other outdoor chairs, like the Luxembourg collection, but this is largely due to the fact that they are folding chairs. Being folding means these chairs are easy to transport from place to place or put away for the winter. Sure the chairs are a bit heavy and they aren’t super comfortable to carry, but folding means 6 chairs can go in the place of a single unfolded patio chair, which is amazing for storage or taking to a friend’s house when they need chairs for a party.
I’ve found the chairs to be stable and more comfortable than you’d expected. I know some people prefer them with seat cushions, which aren’t included but Fermob does sell, but I think they are fine without. After all, these are chairs for dining and sitting down for some reading, not hours of lounging.
The chairs can be a little tough to open and close when they are new but they get easier with time, especially as you learn the technique. On the plus side, they never accidentally open when I’m carrying them, which is a major plus.
The Fermob Bistro chairs are a true classic and, beyond that, they look fantastic. It’s like having a little piece of modern French design right at my home, which I love. They do command a price premium, they don’t include pads, and the skinny slats can hurt your hands a bit when trying to carry too many of them, but these are acceptable trade-offs for me.
These chairs are still in high demand and you will typically have to wait 5-7 weeks for many of the popular colors, at least you do now (in the Summer of 2021 when all patio and outdoor furniture seems to be sold out or back-ordered).
The Bistro chairs come in a wide range of great colors, which is an added perk. I bought the most common, most boring color (basically black) but the color selection is another benefit of these chairs.