Feeling Bookish: Florence de Dampierre Shares Lessons in Living French Chic..

There are no shortage of books discussing this and that a la Parisian. Perhaps they talk about masterful wardrobe editing or extol the virtues of living in the land of fresh croissants and ballet flat chic. But few books lay out in exquisite detail exactly how to go about living your existing daily life with the ease and confidence possessed by those rarified French citizens. In French Chic Living: Simple Ways to make Your Home More Beautiful Florence de Dampierre offers us very specific ways to infuse the spirit of dwelling in a manse in Provence in our daily lives.

This lovely text won't linger in a stack in my library, instead it will be kept handy for frequent reference. Why? Because it is literally filled with "I can use that today" wisdom and great ideas for the care and concern of all things chic living. Having spent time in the French countryside growing up, the viewpoint of the author is decidedly rustic French. But even a city mouse will love the timeless wisdom spilled out on each page. Shopping tips, cocktail party secrets and everything in between. 

From easy recipes to detailed suggestions on exactly what to acquire for your linen closet, how to grow and store your herbs, stocking the ideal pantry and natural cures for everyday niusances. This book, perhaps more than any I've read recently, is the exact gift to give to everyone on your list. From the young singleton in their first apartment to the busy mom of five, this book lays out in beautiful detail what a well-stocked (but never overstuffed) home needs. 

If the name Florence de Dampierre name sounds familiar, it is because she is literally a household name. From several other books (Chairs: A History and French Chic: The Art of Decorating Houses are but two of her other titles) to licensed lines with such brands as John-Richard, Surya and A&B Home, she is a bonafide authority on the topic of channeling je ne sais quoi into your everyday life. 


I was delighted to interview the author to pull out a few more gems of wisdom. I hope you'll enjoy our discussion! 

Florence, I’ve loved many of your books. Chairs: A History, French Chic: The Art of Decorating Houses are two personal favorites. French Chic Living was inspired from your childhood memories of time in France with your family. Can you share more with us about your early life abroad in such a romantic setting? 

Thank you very much. So happy that you like my new book as well. It is a very personal book, close to my heart. It mix together a lot of my memories from my grand-mothers. They were both strong characters in their own way and both had a way of making people and family around them at ease and happy.

Food and smells still are anchored in my mind,and to this day triggered lovely memories. 

The food was relatively simple but always with fresh products. Fresh eggs from the farmer down the road along with milk directly from his cows with the cream on top. All was used to make cakes. Leftover were always reused doing something delicious. No waste was ever a possibility for anything.    

I love that this is a true lifestyle book, offering a reader everything they need to know to set up house and garden in true art de vivre style. What inspired you to share this wisdom with readers? 

My friends have being for ever asking me about recipe for one thing or another or are marveling at some things I am doing. I realized how much of a desire for getting things done is out there and also wanted to share how easy many things are when you know what to do.

In the book you offer exceptional information on tips for selecting, storing and preparing food using natural ingredients - as well as recipes we can follow. I would love to hear about some of your early memories of cooking alongside your grandmother or mom and shopping for menu items at French markets. Any great stories to share?  

For me shopping at open market is a always such a pleasure. I love to look and to try things. It is a total experience and fun experience 

Your brand collaboration with A&B Home provides us with many of the French living essentials outlined in the book. From the perfect cream throw to gorgeous garden urns and elegant lanterns. It must me absolute bliss to see those ideal imagined creations come to life! How important is frequent international travel to your design process for products and interiors?  

Frequent travels are very important as it keep your creative juices flowing and keep you with the finger on the pulse of what is happening. 

Yes it is almost magical to see products that you designed and dreamed of becoming reality . It is a great feeling. 

The holidays are coming up quickly. Given your decidedly European approach to entertaining, could you offer insights on creating a relaxing and welcoming environment for large family gatherings? Any special tips to help us a create stress-free atmosphere as we cook up the most important meals of the year? 

My first tip would be to do things that you can do easily.Do not be over ambitious and try to cook, prepare and organized more than you can master. The goal is to spread joy and happiness around you. Not to be stressed out 

So pace yourself and do not do everything at once. Organization is key and knowing where to buy what, is good! A lovely presentation of a delicious store bought product is not a bad thing!. 

And finally, what can we expect from Florence de Dampierre next? 

Many more products for sure, to make your life better.  

I hope you enjoyed the interview! I found the recipes and entertaining tips to be very on point and applicable for all lifestyles and ages. Love the book and am so happy to have it as a reference. Below is a link to the book on Amazon as well as a few of my other favorite books by Florence. Enjoy! 


{Photos in this post are by yours truly, Franki Durbin}