The Epitome of French Style
Mademoiselle Allen – ecoutez s’il vous plait! My French teacher Madame Thomas inviting me to pay attention to the verbs of the day; I was far away walking amid French markets and rummaging through brocantes, inspired by images on the back of my text book! Even as a child I was intrigued by the fact that we were geographically so close to France yet our way of life seemed so different. Mrs Thomas had a lovely French accent and even when I was being reprimanded (which was pretty often) she had a way of making it sound intriguing, exciting and even romantic.(Picture courtesy of Moisonnier)
We holidayed regularly in France as children, starting North and venturing further south with each visit as we became more enticed by the French and their way of life. As a family, we progressed from holidays under canvas, I think Dad had enough of putting the tent up in 30oC .. We started to frequent small hotels near Parisian boulevards or rural village squares, even tiny chambres d’hote on the glittering Côte d’Azur.
I marvelled in the surroundings of Mme Murcia’s Parisian salon, which was every bit as grand as she was. Very chic with smart curtains hanging at tall windows, chipped gilt framed mirrors and, although a bit worn, elegant Louis XIV style chairs, strategically placed. It all looked as if it was absolutely intended to be there but in a random and slightly shabby sort of way. I loved it and lingered there, taking it all in.
French Commode (Picture courtesy of Maisons du Monde)
I suppose it would be fair to say that my love of French style began here in Mme Murcia’s grand salon, I was intrigued by the lack of contrivance or specific planning. My perception of French style has, however, changed over the years and I have noted with interest that, as trends come and go, the one certainty that remains is that the French style has exercised great influence on the international interiors scene. Links with French history have also continued to influence our interiors styles, with even the most contemporary of today’s schemes including one or two well- loved pieces with French origins.
Coco Chanel’s Classic Style
When we consider the French Interior styles of today, we would probably associate them with elements of sophistication, classic glamour and being utterly timeless. We all aspire to attain that certain “Je ne sais quoi” both in our homes and of course in our wardrobes, the legendary Coco Chanel has injected glamour in to both haute couture and home couture with her pared back classic style.
The French continue to influence and set interior trends in a more minimalist and yet quirkier way; famous designers such as Philippe Starck, managed to change the Louis chair to a must have within interior projects with his highly desirable Ghost chair being very much coveted.
Ghost Chairs (Picture courtesy of Vissbiz.com)
The French design house of Roche Bobois bring their own take to French Home interiors with Les Contemporains collection focusing on current trends and creativity and Les Nouveaux Classiques collections reflecting the more traditional side of French design.
Whatever our style, be it classic or contemporary, whether we live in period or modern properties, French style has its place and with some clever thought and a little courage, that certain Je ne sais quoi is not so far away!
Written by Penelope Allen – Interior Designer Pad Deco
Get inspired! (Photo courtesy of Pad Deco)
(Cover photo courtesy of Roche Bobois)