Archive for June, 2014

The “Black and White” of French Décor

June 19, 2014 @ 9:32 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Paris France - decor

Color accents ‘neutral’ Paris!

French décor.  It is a study in paradox, a blend of old and new, fluid and rigid, colorful and monochromatic.  French design at one moment gathers in the colors of the countryside, and at another allows life to make its statement against a backdrop of white and beige.

Walk along the paths of The Tuileries in Paris, and all of the neutral building colors gleam in the summer sun; but the gardens and awnings and sailboats in the fountains are all the more colorful against that background.  Enter a café or Salon de Thé in one of those seemingly ‘bland’ buildings, and you might enter a saffron-colored room or a restaurant deeply textured and toned in colors of jewels.

Travel south to Provence and the same light-colored palette washes the land and architecture, the stone walls and village lanes.   The landscape provides the perfect canvas for bold artistry, for paintings and fabrics and tiles that capture the spectacular colors of the sky, the vineyards and olive groves, the plentiful gardens and rivers and soft colors of the setting sun.

And all of this underscores color in décor.  Then, we have the accents that pull us in like bees to pollen.  An old wooden bust.   An antique piece of pottery.  A vase of tulips fresh from the market or a ceramic cicada filled with welcoming lavender.

French design

Color, shapes, unusual objects – the spirit of French décor!

Perhaps the real joy of introducing the French touch to your home is the lack of rules or the freedom to break any presupposed rules you carry with you.  Today, we enter a room filled with the scent of enormous lilies.  A bold yellow Quimper plate ‘announces’ its presence from a cherry bookcase.   Pure luxury exudes from the jacquard table linen in royal gold and burgundy colors.   A petite ceramic sign welcomes you to La Cuisine.

They are simple touches that quietly display our love of France and our appreciation for that delightful French touch in our home.   Surround yourself with those things you love, and your home will be as welcome to others, as it is to you.

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2014, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Fête des Pères – Fathers Day

June 15, 2014 @ 2:54 pm
posted by Sandra Sheridan
French Father's Day

1908 Flaminaire lighter

Fête des Pères – Fathers Day – also is celebrated in France on the 3rd Sunday in June, when young French children create cards and gifts for their beloved Père! And perhaps the older ones search out a handsome lighter or enticing gourmet products to make the day special.

In profiling the history of this celebration in France, some say what began as a religious remembrance was resurrected for commercial reasons by the creator of Breton gasoline lighters called Flaminaire.   If one could find an original dating to 1908, the collectible would make quite a gift!

Sadly, as with every traditional holiday, marketing gurus continue to create loud flurries of commercial suggestions. We have quieter French gifts in mind – perhaps a tray of macarons, an Opinel knife or an assortment of savory mustards and oils.  French wine or champagne also makes a nice gift for Dad’s celebration.

gifts from France

French metal sign from My French Neighbor

Whether for Father’s Day or other celebrations, our friends at My French Neighbor are quite happy to satisfy the desire for authentic French gifts.

Happy Father’s Day to all of those men fortunate enough to be fathers!

Paris – Lively & Lazy Moments

June 13, 2014 @ 12:39 pm
posted by Sandra Sheridan
rue Mouffetard

Lively music at Place Contrescarpe

You will enjoy both, you know.  Moments when the city teems with people, either executing the perfect Tango by the Seine or gathering for a grand communal pique-nique in one of the many city parks.  Wander through any marché, flea market or antique show; and you will be surrounded by the hum of happy folks shopping for their Sunday dinners or housewares, keepsakes or flowers.

Your mood might lead you to a quiet, 20-seat restaurant for a pleasant, prolonged dinner; or you might choose the bustling brasserie around the corner, where deft waiters make their experienced way among crowds of diners.

We have happened upon choral groups on a bridge, where crowds gather to enjoy the spontaneous entertainment.   We have found ourselves in the midst of a ‘blockaded’ area by the Centre Pompidou, where a suspicious package held everyone in place.  And we have enjoyed a celebratory parade of costumed folks from Bretagne, proudly acting out their heritage along the Champs Elysées.  Certainly, we have never been at a loss for things to do in Paris!

Paris France

Perfect time of day by the Seine!

At the same time, all of the quiet snippets of time are just as memorable.  A glass of wine at sunset on the Seine.  A few moments on a park bench to watch children at play or a game of petanque underway.  A walk in the evening topped with a nightcap at Le Café Marly overlooking the Pyramide.  Early morning coffee along a sidewalk café with a friend.

It’s impossible to value one type of experience over the other.  We encourage you to balance your trip with a blend of ‘lively and lazy’ moments that will stay with you long after your trip has ended.

PARIS lazy

Catch the sun by the Seine!

Fired Up for France: The Promise of Paris – now available!
Autographed copies with notecard gift (through PayPal)
Amazon direct order

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2014, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Aquitaine – History, Heritage – Pleasure!

June 4, 2014 @ 12:46 pm
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Aquitaine, France

Path to the great beaches of Arcachon Bay – Atout France/Francois-Exavier Prevot

Aquitaine is one of 22 regions in Metropolitan France – 5 more regions are overseas.  This particular region is vast and diverse, spreading across 155 miles of ocean coastline and sharing a border with Spain through the Atlantic Pyrenees.  Bordeaux is not only the largest Aquitaine city; it is the self-proclaimed world capital of wine.

Speaking of wine, one of our favorite areas was Saint Emilion, where surrounding vineyards provide some of the finest wines of France.  Wandering south down a little country road, we happened on to a delightful treasure – Château Vieux Mougnac;  where hospitality mixed with delicieux wine tasting and produced an everlasting friendship!

Beyond the vast topographical changes, Aquitaine engages all interests in offering more than 2,800 historic monuments and a wealth of archeological treasures – not at all surprising, when you consider 40,000 years of wildly-varying inhabitants!  Fortified villages and grand Chateaus shed considerable light on the wealth and heritage of Aquitaine; and Dordogne’s  prehistoric Valley of Vézère includes stunning remains from the Paleolithic Age – from the mystical caves of Lascaux to nearly 150 sites and other decorated caves.

Similar to California glitz and sports, Biarritz is the European capital of surfing and one of the most popular beachfronts aside from the famed Côte d’Azur.  Beyond challenging the ocean Atlantic waves, pelota is a primary local sport akin to American handball; and one of the favorite local pasttimes is wandering along the seaside, once a favored playground of Empress Eugenie.  All in all, it’s quite an elegant resort area.

Chateau Vieux Mougnac

Near Saint-Emilion

While you are sampling the wide variety of excellent Aquitaine wines, keep in mind that the gastronomy of the area is rich and flavorful.  Whether foie gras or deliciously simmered duck, Bayonne ham or Gâteau Basque, the cuisine will represent some of your fondest experiences and memories.

Aquitaine France

Gironde fishing cabane

We arrived in Bordeaux at the heighth of the season, when summer ‘soldes’ – sales – made for rather crowded streets.  Fortunately, though, the city is located on the banks of the Garonne River, a particularly enticing option for us to explore the countryside.

We wandered past cyclists enjoying the Bordeaux vineyard sights and stopped for a while along the Gironde estuary, where a lone fisherman perched above the water at his “cabane de pêche au carrelet” – his fishing cabin on stilts.  Against a threatening sky, he nonetheless seemed quite content with his world.


We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2014, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.