Geographically speaking, we have the ‘serious Scandinavians’ to the north with their finely crafted mid-century classics. Down south, the effortlessly cool Mediterraneans love their expressive, dramatic and creative designs. After all, they have been setting trends since the Roman Empire! In the centre of it all are the French, who have what I think is the perfect blend of ‘the serious’ and ‘the fun’. For me, a Francophile tragic, I feel right at home.
Recently, design from France has come to the fore. There is something so effortless about French interiors. Where the Danes have their ‘hygge’ (ie ‘cosy’) way of life, the French have their own ‘Art de vivre’ – best described as ‘The Art of Living’. It’s a joyful sort of mindfulness, where they stop to enjoy lunch in the afternoons (not eating at their desk) and fling open the windows in the morning to welcome the day. I’m still not sure how they stay so gorgeous and chic whilst enjoying delicious cheese, wine and croissants!
The French surely possess a kind of ‘style magic’ that alludes the rest of us. There is often a ‘twist’ to their designs – an element of the traditional and at the same time something theatrical and sculptural. Joris, the founder of Youth Éditions, explains the French style has an ‘elegance and craziness, with a touch of down to earth sophistication.’
To me, the French style is full of life; the spaces tell a story and have soul. They are exciting spaces to be in. There’s an abundance of gorgeous colour and pattern, which is often set within an incredible historical space. French style doesn’t take itself too seriously, and c’est très cool.
It’s a difficult style to describe or emulate, but here goes!
The French adopt a laissez-faire attitude like no other – they practically invented the idea of casual living. We have the French to thank for the sofa and occasional table as we know it. A casual French home is one in which the (incredibly chic) owner has put the look together themselves, with slightly quirky and unusual pairings. The French interior is never too curated or too perfect, but always elegant.
Designer Emilie Bonaventure’s own home in the 9th arrondissement is serene and elegant, allowing her to find some peace in her busy life. The colours are neutral and the walls are white, however the space is anything but boring. She trawls Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen (flea markets) in the north of Paris for pieces to add to layer in the space. The French are able to pull of this eclecticism, and elevate it to create an elegant and sophisticated interior.
This Haussman apartment has parquet oak floors, classical wall moulding details, a carved marble fireplace, whilst being extremely welcoming and warm. Sound French enough for you?