Some of the houses, such as Saint-Marcel-de-Felines, have been continuously occupied for centuries; others, like Galleville, have had to be resurrected from the ashes of a destructive fire. All, however, survive for the very good reason that, generation after generation, those who have lived there have expressed their pleasure by enriching the houses according to their own tastes.
Each refuge has become a treasure trove of historical witness - borne out in beautiful furnishings, as well as in family albums, faded love letters, libraries at the top of towers, and, most of all, attics full of old toys, musical instruments, left-over brocades, and wallpapers. So important are the latter to the art de vivre, as defined here, that the author has included three brief chapters dedicated to the histories of silk, 'painted' paper wallpaper, and attics themselves. Embellished with 220 colour photographs - illustrating rooms from the salon to the kitchen below and the attic above, together with details of silver, fabrics, textures, traditions, and even aromas of traditional French living at its most charming and intimate, this book will enthral everyone in love with architecture, decor, gardens, history, and France.
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The French Country House