When I think of French style, the first thing that usually comes to mind is fashion and personal style. But “style” in France goes beyond that, encompassing every aspect of life, from homes and family to food, to the attention to details of living and savoring life’s best moments. This lovely book “My Stylish French Girlfriends” by Sharon Santoni, who writes the blog My French Country Home, illustrates that concept beautifully, between the profiles of Sharon’s girlfriends and the absolutely gorgeous photographs that capture the details of their homes and lives. I’ve been a reader of Sharon’s blog for some time and had the pleasure of meeting her when we were in France earlier this year. She is charming and delightful, and I knew from the quality of her blog that I’d want to see her book as soon as it was released. I was caught up immediately when I opened the package and started turning page after sumptuous page.
Sharon profiles several women she knows personally or has met through her work or travels in France, and gives a brief history of how their lives intersect. These are women living their lives with passion and creativity, yet balance between work and family is stressed in each of their profiles. They are artists, cooks, hoteliers, decorators, designers, florists, antique dealers, and some are also still raising children.They each seem to love what they do, but also make it a priority to “unplug” and relax.
Each and every page of this book is a visual delight.
From Normandy to Paris to Provence, there’s a common thread of having created lives surrounded by family and beauty, both natural and designed. Many have built businesses that involved renovating and rebuilding older properties, both country and city, with absolutely stunning results. (If you’ve even just dreaming of redecorating your current home, there’s loads of inspiration here.)
The women profiled have substantial resources, yes, but what comes through most for me in this book is the attention to detail and making the quotidien beautiful. Whether you dream of someday renovating a home in the French countryside, or love art, interior design and beautiful photography, this book is worth picking up. If nothing else, you can lose yourself for hours at a time in the beautiful images. It’s a coffee-table-sized book, so the quality of the photographs really comes through.
I find myself just wanting to step right into these photos. “My Stylish French Girlfriends” is available on amazon.com but if you have a local bookstore please do support them and check there first.
Book was provided for review. Photos used by permission.
That book looks lovely, and I know people in France, and in Italy, who live in such lovely places. Usually, they’ve done a hell of a lot of work restoring them.
But remember, this is the countryside, and they have a luxury of space that people in major French cities don’t (I’m most familiar with Paris and Lyon). Except for the super-rich. Friends with good professional jobs; professors, journalists, people in lucrative IT business are living in beautifully-appointed spaces, but much smaller ones; I don’t know a single Parisian who has a bedroom the size of the one in the cover photo. A few Lyonnais, yes, but that is because the flats where they live once housed families that worked entire families of silk weavers working on tall Jacquard looms. Usually those very high-ceilinged rooms have been fitted with mezzanines, to use space and avoid heating too much air.
But they also have plenty of style in those smaller urban spaces.
Thanks for sharing this with us Susan. . . Gave me a needed break in the middle of my business day 🙂
thank you so much Susan for introducing my book to your readers, it was a pleasure to write and to photograph, and a privilege to share my girlfriends’ homes
Hate to sound a sort of sour note but. … And I am sure Sharon and her friends are lovely, But this seems to be the sort of book a New Yorker like me should not look at. Too much envy. None of this is at all realizable for someone like me.
Judy, I approach books like this the same was I approach Vogue or Architectural Digest or certain lifestyle blogs. I probably couldn’t afford 99.9% of what’s being shown, but I can appreciate the beauty, effort and artistry, and perhaps glean some inspiration for styles or color combinations that could translate to humbler resources.
Judy, as I said, it is no more achievable for at least 99% of Parisian population either, even people with good professional jobs. Remember, this is in the countryside. I have a couple of friends who are both full professors, and they have a lovely little flat. Yes, little…
Thank you for reminding us to support our local independent bookstores!
I just love your blog! I got terribly busy this summer with family health problems and furiously unsubscribed from anything but essentials. I found myself missing this blog. Something fierce. Your writing, photos and especially travel tips seemed like a distant memory. I’m so happy to be back.
AJ, thanks so much and welcome back! I hope all is well with your family.
I just want to say how much I love this blog. I just returned from a 10 day trips to London, Marne Le Valle, and Paris. I came across this blog in planning for my trip. I decided I want to dress more European/like a Parisienne and not like a tourist. This blog came up in my web search. It has struck a chord with me and I check it every day. I wanted to use my trip as not just vacation but an opportunity to update my wardrobe tweak my style just a little. I wanted to buy pieces that I would not only wear on my trip but then incorporate in my daily at home and at work wardrobe. I made my own LOOK BOOK and did my own polyvore on the floor. I even let part of the trip be an opportunity to search for and hopefully find/buy a couple of the pieces on my wish list. I am excited to say I some success finding a couple pieces in both London and France in my modest budget!
This was a special trip. It was my first trip to London (although I have flow through Heathrow many times) and Paris (although I have been to France once before). I traveled with my aunt. She is 63 and it was her very first trip outside the US. It also happened to be her birthday during the trip (not planned that way just a happy happen stances). I am an experienced traveler. She is not. I was so happy to accompany her on this trip.
The fashion and travel tips in this blog (especially the 15 piece travel wardrobe) were a big part of the fun getting ready for this trip. I was happy with the wardrobe I put together and wore during my trip. I have now carried over this style now that I am back home. I continue to check out the blog especially as a finish bringing my LOOK BOOK to life. I have been trying to stick to the style and color scheme I have identified in my LOOK BOOK. At times I think you have seen my LOOK BOOK. Today’s post with the Marsala cardigan is so on point to my style. I am not sure it is the power of suggest or I thought of this all on my own but this color/similar shade (perhaps a little more burgundy) is my color scheme. I adopted this color scheme about 4 years again when I made first wardrobe overhaul with eye toward being deliberate about my style and having pieces that could easily be interchanged to make many outfits and looks. This has worked well for me. My current update is not an overhaul. I moving out some piece to bring in some new piece to give make my wardrobe feel fresh and new without buying all new pieces; to be able mix and match the kept pieces with new pieces and wear them in a new ways; and to overall to feel up to date and trendy while be myself/not giving myself a now unneeded overhaul (saves money too).
I guess I am being a bit long winded. I find myself visiting this blog often. I just love it. Thanks!
Kim, thank you so much for your nice note! I’m so glad you found the travel wardrobe helpful and that you enjoy the blog.