After a week in the countryside of Provence, we met up with our Charleston friends on the coast. While the sun got hotter and the colors brighter, our craving for a market filled morning and full days outdoors didn’t change. My friend Lucy’s family has had a home here for years, and we were lucky enough to be invited down for a few days. It was pure bliss! She’s been coming since childhood, so this is like home to her, and we got a peek into the relaxing abode they’ve created- filled with antique treasures her grandmother collected and special treasures each of the family members have added. Lucy, as our contributor on tablescapes, and I wanted to create something here that has a sense of French ease, using items found around the house and filled with delicious goodies from the market.
We absolutely love having guests come to visit. We often stay up late into the night chatting after dinner and encourage guests to sleep in as late as they want the next morning. With guests rising at different times, we’ve found it convenient to lay out an inviting breakfast table with lots of options so that everybody can help themselves at their leisure. We always try to set the table the night before, in order to avoid having to wake-up early the next morning to do it. It’s easy to set a simple, but elegant table with attractive plates, glasses, mugs, colored napkins and cutlery, and then add cereals, jams, and other dry goods the evening prior. Milk, butter, and fresh pastries, fruits and other perishables from the market are added in the morning. At home, we also leave fresh scrambled eggs on the stove, and hold crispy bacon warm in the oven for those who’d prefer a hot breakfast. Guests love waking up to delicious smells with everything ready when they are.
Life in France is very similar, though we seem to live off of pastries and fruit. It’s such a luxury to have bread hot and fresh from the oven, and, of course, croissants and pain au chocolate are always a must! Julia and I were inspired by the French open market, and we thought it would be a nice touch to pick up some fresh flowers — in this case, lavender and peonies which are both in season here — to decorate the table. We think it’s particularly fun in the summertime, whether it’s just for yourself or for guests. There’s usually so much in season, and you often don’t even have to leave your own garden.
Strawberry season just ended here and now the raspberries and melons are ripe and delicious. We admire how much the French respect eating locally and we’ve tried to do the same during our stay. We’ve also enjoyed picking up some savory quiches to share with late risers who prefer more of a brunch, and we couldn’t resist the fresh raspberry tarts which were quickly devoured. We like to set-out water and fresh juices in prettier containers and carafes and do the same with the sugar, butter and milk. These little touches dress up a table ever so slightly, making everyone feel more appreciated and well looked after when they come down a little groggy in the morning.
If you’re wanting to create a similar look at home, try starting with this bordered tablecloth, then add these blue plates, these etched glasses, white linen napkins, and just add some fresh lavender and white peonies!