The French Country House


The French Country House Celebrating what the French call l'art de vivre (the art of good living), this book takes the reader not to historic palaces and chateaux, but instead inside the intimacy of private dwellings deep in the French countryside. Here we discover places of retreat - old manor houses, a onetime commanderie, slightly dilapidated chateaux, even a former priory - that, because of their great age, long time habitation, and accumulated memories, engage the profound affection of their owners and in return, provide no end of delight for family, friends, and neighbours.

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

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