T.S. Eliot wrote “The chief danger about Paris is that it is such a strong stimulant.” I agree. La Ville Lumière – The City of Light (or Enlightment) has inspired for centuries. Grand architecture, tree-lined boulevards, the beautiful Seine with its many bridges, museums, monuments, parks, markets, cafés and winding backstreets – Paris continues to enchant. It’s not just the sheer beauty, but the sense of history, mystery, and of course romance.
And so we keep going back for more – family holidays, birthday celebrations, weekend visits, and a 3-month stay. A love of this majestic city has been the driving inspiration behind Frenchhouse and Company.
Our travels have evolved into exploring much of France, and all it has to offer – beautiful cities, cobble-stoned villages, chateaux steeped in history, vineyards, pebbled beaches, bustling markets and of course the people. We also keep bringing back mementos of our travels – artwork and furniture pieces, beautiful handmade ceramics, soaps and gifts, table linens from Provence…we love Provence…
…in fact it was the Provençal table linens that got our thoughts brewing. Sitting around the lunch table one Sunday afternoon a family member casually commented “you can’t really get these table linens here.” And so we thought, well why not bring them here? And curiosity then took us to Draguinan on our next visit to Provence, to visit the family-run L’Ensolleilade fabric house. And soon thereafter we were also visiting the soap manufacturers, La Savonnerie des Alpilles, in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Our next visit took us to Aubagne, to the ceramic workshops of Atelier Bernex and Barbotine – amazing to see the craftmanship behind these beautiful handmade ceramics. And along the way artists in their studios – Eze, Nice, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, exhibitions, museums, and many, many markets. From quaint village and bustling town markets, back to the sprawling Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen in Paris.
It has been heart-warming how we have always been welcomed. It has also been particularly inspiring to visit family-run businesses, and to witness how they have continued to maintain a sense of history and authenticity in their products. They have proudly continued in their tradition, but also aim to be current and relevant for today. And so we have tried to mirror this in our store offerings. Our products are predominantly personally sourced, and will often tell a story – not only reflected in their authenticity and history, but in many ways also our story.
Frenchhouse and Company has been an adventure – of travel and family, fun and laughter (as well as some tears), meeting new people, buying and selling, learning some French (Je parle un peu français, mais j’apprends), making new friends, being bold, stepping out of our comfort zones, and above all, being inspired.