We cannot always have Paris, but we can all have a touch of Paris in our homes. I was surprised when I looked around my humble maison, (which more resembles a B&B), how much of a French influence I have in my surroundings, but they are small touches, understated, like the French themselves, where less is more. The French way of life is one of order, elegance, proper routine and a good dose of perfectionism – of course this might just be a myth perpetuated by smug French women! (The Victoria magazine cover Oct 2000 is just so French – I collect the back issues and the annual French edition is always inspiring. This years French edition is in May/June).
A favorite flea market sign from Winners, in my front hallway. (Note B&B wallpaper as I have not finished renovating the house yet, although the outside is done, but I don’t mind the wallpaper so it may have to stay).
My first and only attempt at stenciling hangs in the dining room, (don’t look too close, you really have to glue those stencils on well).
Who doesn’t love lavender. I have lavender everywhere, in bowls, sachets, vases, soap….
Paris hatboxes and journals….
A special Renoir journal for jotting down blog ideas.
A silk scarf a friend brought me back from Paris many years ago, in my favorite color blue.
And of course no aspiring Parisian would be complete without a navy striped boat neck sweater, (and some red lipstick).
HappyHauteHome, (check out her elegant blog on the modern French country home) posted about a French provincial home for sale, which looks like my dream house, but until I win the lottery, I will just have to be content with my petite accents. To be French is an attitude, a state of mind, oui?
What blog would be complete without une recommandation de livre.
The French way of life is a call to pay attention, an appreciation of all matters large and small, including food, which is to be savored without guilt or worry. I can smell those fresh baguettes already. French Women Don’t Get Fat.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An enjoyable read, this book certainly provided a different way of looking at eating, for pleasure and without guilt about calories or cholesterol. I think I’ll go for a long walk to the boulangerie….like the French do!
After reading so much about their chocolat chaud, I decided to try making my own. I added four squares of Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate (but any good dark chocolate would do), to a bit of water and microwaved it well until it melted into a nice chocolatey gooey mess, then a few teaspoons of sugar and the milk, and microwaved it again until hot. Um….like drinking a chocolate bar. Maybe best to add only add two squares……
My only venture into French cooking was a failed attempt at beef bourguignon which I ruined by using a cheap red burgundy, despite the advice of the LCBO clerk that I should trade up to a better vintage. She was adamant, I did not listen. I hadn’t shopped at the liquor store for years (other than an annual trek at Christmas to buy rum for the pudding), and was horrified by the wine prices, when I only needed a cup and a half? The best that could be said for it was that it was edible….if you were very hungry and very poor like Hemingway in his early days.
One day while shopping at a very expensive bakery ($55 for a birthday cake – let them eat Betty Crocker!), I spied a lovely tray of pastel macarons, and even though they were $2.50 per cookie I decided to splurge – totally tasteless. If this is what Proust was going on about with his French madeleines, I think I’ll pass. The best part of the cookie by far was the turquoise color. It’s good to try new things sometimes, if only to find out what you don’t like. I do like crepes though, my favorite tea shop used to offer an excellent chicken and mushroom crepe until they closed due to a rent increase. On my farewell visit I asked the owner for the recipe, and she said just make a basic roux, so I did, but my roux was thick and pasty from too much floor. Julia Child I am not, so I will need to try again as I do miss the tea shop. We have no need to fear the cream filled calories of France however, as gardening season will soon be here and now that spring has sprung, we can walk it off. Next week we will be in Italy, along the coast, bring sunscreen. Until then enjoy the spring flowers.
Muguet du bois,