So much has happened since my last French Chronicles, and it’s hard to believe that it’s all happened in just one month. But I love it when my calendar is full and I have lots of projects on the go or coming up. It’s very motivating. At the same time, I know that July and August are going to be quieter, and that with the heat (which I can’t stand very well, long live the clouds and the rain – but only a little) I’ll be like a hibernating bear, with the shutters closed and the curtains drawn. Paris in summer is very hard to bear (not to mention the fact that everything’s closed in August), so we all like to get together as a family on Friday evenings to spend weekends in the countryside in the hope of finding a little cooler, more breathable air. Before the summer season gets underway, I’m going to take some time out to sort through the photos from my trip to Cornwall (and the Cotswolds – I still go there once a year), to find that bucolic English atmosphere I love so much, and draw inspiration from it.
This trip was very inspiring and gave me the boost I needed to get June off to a flying start. The month of June is full of events, and as a result I was once again forced to postpone some of the exhibitions I wanted to see. There was a short return trip to London during the day to celebrate my mom’s birthday early, and we took the opportunity to have a girls’ night out. On my return to the country, I was delighted to see the first dahlias blooming, as well as the tomato plants, which are getting stronger every day in the vegetable garden. The rose bushes are in full bloom, giving me the joy of creating numerous little bouquets to decorate the house.
Although it’s quite hot, I’m keen to cook summer recipes like gazpacho or cherry clafoutis… and I’m also keen to try the pineapple sage growing in the garden, which would no doubt be delicious in a salad… and I thought I was already done with summer! 🙂
A getaway in Cornwall
Rarely has a trip done me as much good as this one. England in late spring has an incredible charm and is worthy of the image we have of it: deliciously bucolic countryside. We were lucky enough to stay in a cottage that allowed us to cross a field of cows leading directly to secret coves for an evening picnic at sunset. The rest of the time, we drove up the coast (very difficult as the roads are narrow and winding – and yet we’re used to driving in England), visited gardens and garden centres and dined in pubs with character. To sum up, most of the time I felt like Elizabeth Bennett (BBC version) running through the fields!
There were some beautiful peonies in the garden when we got back (particularly the Coral Charm variety), as well as roses, so I took the opportunity to make a bouquet of them to decorate our little table set up in the garden to welcome friends. A fairly simple table with a fresh, pastoral feel, featuring birds, illustrated plants and garden flowers… a simple table for gardeners who like to hunt for bargains!
Every year in June, the Domaine de Chaalis hosts the Journées de la Rose in a very friendly and romantic atmosphere. Of course, roses take pride of place, but you can also find nurseries selling beautiful clematis and cosmos, for example.
Every year, I buy a lovely Anne Shirley hat, which is always useful in the garden. You can also visit the rose garden, which is magnificent at this time of year and is listed as a Remarkable Garden.
This is the title of a book by Violaine de Saint Vaulry that I love to give to my loved ones. It’s also one of my bedside books, which I like to consult regularly, especially when I can’t fall asleep. It deals with many different aspects of life in the country, and also proves to be very useful thanks to its many tips.
You’ll learn how to look after your rubber boots, predict the weather by observing nature, as well as little recipes like homemade cherry ice cream.
Back to London
for the day
One of the advantages of living in Paris (and there are a few) is that you can take the Eurostar to London in the early hours of the morning and spend the day in the English capital.
So I took my mom to London to celebrate her birthday in advance, and we had the pleasure of seeing the capital again and spending some time in the places we particularly like: Fortnum & Mason, the Liberty department store, Hatchard’s and Daunt Books… it was a little too hot, but we came back in the evening very happy with our little escapade (and very tired)!
For hassle-free entertaining in a bucolic spirit, I’ve launched a collection of Table Art Kits with upcycled stationery brand Artisan Paper.
You’ll find reversible placemats, menus, envelope invitations and place cards (all in paper) to invite your loved ones in style!
Various themes are available.
One of the great pleasures of summer is picking flowers from the fields to make a quick bouquet in a colorful, rustic style.
Gather armfuls of flowers on the side of a path, cut the stems at different heights and place them in a jam jar, mustard pot or antique container. The effect will be both attractive and authentic!