Summer Reading


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My French Life Vicki Archer

Vicki Archer’s My French Life is one of my favorite books…

Anyone who has followed Vicki’s Blog French Essence knows she revels

in the enchanted world she lives in on a seventeenth century restored

olive farm in Saint-Remy-de-Provence and sends missives via her blog

on her meanders through France and more far flung environs. Love how

Vicki describes adapting to the custom of choosing entry doors first…

before building the surrounding portal, how a length of admired vintage

passementerie could be re-imagined into her gorgeous bed,  how she

realizes, when led by antique store owner into a dimly lit treasure trove

off a winding Nimes street:

“In France I quickly learned that it is the things that are hidden behind

closed doors that are the most remarkable. Not everything is as it seems. “

My French Life Vicki Archer

Full of gorgeous photos of the restored farmhouse, the gardens and groves,

and surrounding town of St. Remy, dipping into Roman history, bull fighting

in Arles,  Provence cuisine, beauty secrets of French women and numerous

small and charming anecdotes…an absolutely lovely book…


My French Life Vicki Archer

Chemin d’eau…a waterway from ornamental pond to stone basin…

olive orchard and Les Alpilles mountain range in the distance

My French Life Vicki Archer

White gaura and lavender…

beyond the spilling water

My French Life Vicki Archer


Antique bed on cobbled floor…

In the property’s reconstruction,  original material was carefully

saved  “in a field cleared and designated the stockage” and

re-utilized as much as possible

My French Life Vicki Archer

My French Life is an inspiring glimpse into a world that evolves when one takes a chance,

a leap of faith, trusting one’s heart and instincts, and adapting as needed to fullfill

the dream and enjoying every moment of it…

My French Life Vicki Archer

Wonderful and plentiful photos of details

Photography by Carla Coulson

My French Life Vicki Archer

Couldn’t resist showing you the book cover under the jacket…

a photo of a vintage rosy quilt…

Also love that the book comes with a red ribbon

to keep your place….

My French Life Vicki Archer

Originally printed in 2006…My French Life is followed by

French Essence: Ambience, Beauty, and Style in Provence


Vicki Archer My French Life

School is out, summer around the corner…

Over the next few months I’ll highlight my favorite books

I’ve listed on my side column, just in case you need to add

one or two to your shelves…






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Provence Garden


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Provence Style of Living

A slow and fragrant ascent up-slope to a 17th century stone house

edged with bush morning glory, vittadinia (looks like erigeron),

round balls of dwarf boxwood, rosemary tumbling over the upper

walls and stalwart olive trees and cypresses defining the view…

Lavender and olive trees

Lavender and olive trees near Grasse…

Foliage of both silvery in the sunlight…

softly glowing in the summer dusk…

Stone fountain in the Luberon mountains

Stone fountain in the Luberon mountains…

Italian cypresses in the background…

Olive leaves Trouvais

Up close glimpse of my new olive tree…will be moved up to a sloped Provence garden

I’m creating off the master bedroom. Blue Italian cypresses, lavender, the daisy like

ground cover erigeron, hazy blue nepata, and a pallet of Sonoma stone are slowly

moving into place. The David Austin white Glamis Castle roses have been pruned back

hard to rejuvenate them and creeping thyme is started between the pavement.

Rather than terracing the area to a perfect level,  I’m letting there be a gentle

slope, planning a more informal pathway of steps up through the sloped garden.

Stone table in Provence

Harvesting lavender on an old stone table shaded by mulberry trees

on the terrace of an 18th century country house in Haut-Var…

Reminds me of last summer when I was doing the same with my

bumper crop of lavender …see my Lavender Harvest post here

The scent was intoxicating, heavenly….

One can never have too much lavender! My favorite type here

Garden gate and Provence garden

Clipped yew hedges and conical boxwood attempt to order the riotous lavender

in the kitchen garden of the Château Val-Joanis in the Luberon mountains…

gold fine pathway and an old wrought-iron gate….


Provence Style of Living

Jérôme Coignard

Photographs and captions from Maison Côté Sud

More garden inspiration at Authentic Provence here

Chateau Dominque here

Colette in Wonderland


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Colette's South Africa home

One of my dear readers, Colette, has just dipped her toes into blog land! Hailing from

the intriguing world of South Africa, dripping with talent and good taste, on a steady

diet of all things French, and currently rifling through the brocantes in Chateauroux

with her husband and adorable daughter, Colette is a natural with her camera,

capturing exactly what I want to see as if I was peering over her shoulder or elbowing

her out of the way for a choice piece of French linen. The photos of her home in South

Africa are incredible. I love the expectant feeling captured as furniture is unwrapped,

ladders still scaling the upper reaches of her gorgeous vaulted and beamed ceilings.

French Interiors in South Africa

Last November Colette sent me a charming email…

Dear Trish, I discovered your blog by chance one evening and just simply forgot everything
around was like picking up this most wonderful book and being transported into
 another inspiring and so reliable- I receive your feed every eve at almost
the same time -  between 10pm and 11pm in South it is my relax and enjoy last thoughts and the best bedtime story to fall asleep with and dream on
.....gosh that sounds soppy, but just love your blog! congrats on your 200th!
kind regards from another francophile....way down South..

French interior in South Africa

What perfection in a photo: the symmetry of the arched tall windows,

the French parquet floor, nuanced cafe au lait walls,  the glistening globes

of crystal dripping down from the ceiling’s enormous height…

Antique French chair

We’ve exchanged many emails since and I’m so excited that she’s taking this leap…

Like so many of us, she is an amazing woman, with a wonderful and unique

perspective towards the beauty in her world and the desire to reach out and share it….

Antique French letters

In one of her first posts at  La Brocanteuse Colette writes:

Both my husband (de VilliersNel) and myself(nee-Marais) descend from the French Huguenots that

arrived in South Africa in 1685. These French Huguenots that fled France when the edict of Nantes

was repealed , settled in the Western Cape,  most of them in the wine regions of Stellenbosch, and a

little village not far from where we live now, called Franschoek (if you translate this directly:

“French corner”). My maiden name was Marais- we traced it  all the way back  to this little village

between  valleys and mountains in the Luberon.

In Provence

A wonderful start…the first step is always the hardest!

A glimpse into yet another beautiful world…

Visit La Brocanteuse here…

La Brocanteuse

Tag along while she travels through

the south of France…and be sure to say hello!