French Essence


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La Mirande Avignon

Vicki Archer’s latest book French Essence

has been on my nightstand the last few weeks…

Its red ribbon bookmark slowly moving its way

along her charming storytelling path through

her life in the south of France…

French Essence Vicki Archer

The Chinoiseried walls of the Chinese Cabinet room

at La Mirande in Avignon…

Carla Coulson’s photographs leave an exquisite trail

of Vicki’s travels through narrow pathways in Avignon, St. Rémy,

Aix-en-Provence. Past chocolate shops and florist stalls, a peak inside

Cézannes’s art studio and his favorite restaurant Les deux Garçons


Vicki Archer French Essence

The art of collecting…

Love the glimpses of Vicki’s exuberant style…

A peak into china cabinets and linen closets, across stacks

of books and perfume strewn vanities, her red jacket

tossed over her desk chair before a wall resplendent with

inspirational French movie posters and photos…

French Essence Vicki Archer

In the gardens of Mas de Bérard, Vicki’s re- christened hot pink climbing

rose  “Shocking Semini”…along with tales of white iris’s and clipped hedges,

apple orchards and olive harvests…

French Essence

Sitting room chairs pulled out into a summer garden…


You feel like you’ve been welcomed in for a visit..

French Essence guest bedroomA warm winter guest bedroom at Mas de Bérard…

French Essence is a continuation of Vicki’s personal story

from her earlier My French Life…earlier post here

With chapters on collecting, her gardens, the harvest,

views of Mas de Bérard dusted with snow, replete

with the vivid reds of circus tents and Christmas baubles

and a sprinkling of candlelight throughout…

Truly magical…a book to savor slowly…


French Essence Vicki Archer gift wrap

Thanks for a lovely gift of a book, Vicki! A huge book…double page

photos…my snippets don’t do it justice!

Vicki’s blog here

Thanks to a post Vicki did on Roman antiquity in Arles here

and personal emails, my daughter had a magical detour

through Provence last January on her way to Rome…

Quiet Beauty in Provence here

Antiquity in Provence here


Making a List

Trouvais kitchen counter

My list of to do’s is in near constant flux…

And it’s pretty messy over here…

Trying to tie up as many loose

ends as possible…and put off the rest

so that I can get to the serious business

of decking the halls…

Trouvais December roses

The drip drip drip in my bathroom is not

the plumbing…it’s herding the cats…


The day the plumber hoists that

toilet from where it sits outside my

garage to its final resting space…

well…I sure hope it will be in 2010!

Trouvais dining room

Over Thanksgiving break my son enjoyed resting his bean-pole

frame after a family meal on my outdoor bed brought in from the cold…

By the time all my major projects are finished the bed will be able to

make its way back outdoors.  Though…I have to say…I kinda like the

idea of taking a nap or going through a tall stack of design books in

my dining room… perhaps a little espresso and pots de creme to

fortify me as I work my way through the visual feasts of

Vicki Archer’s French Essence or Suzanne Rheinstein’s At Home…


Trouvais front door

Outside our front door…a garland waiting to drape the entry…

and a San Francisco Flower Mart bouquet… info here

Holiday forecast: messy with a touch of pretty

to be continued…