Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I'm so sorry for the long silence...

I've just returned from the Maisons & Objets Salons trade show in Paris, followed by my "Industrial salvage collection" purchases in the south of France.

I have been attending the French "Salons" for more than 10 years and am always in awe of the creativity, the perfection of displays, all under one giant roof. My typical buying trip is spending my first day, since i usually land in the very early morning, dropping by to my favorite spots in Saint Germain where I always stay.

Cafe de Flore, on Blvd Saint Germain
my lunch: warm goat cheese on toast divine

Modenature showroom at 59 Rue de Seine

My dearest friend Henry Becq owns Modenature. Interieurs would not be what it is today without its long relationship with Henry and Modenature. Our professional relationship has become a very strong frienship. We actually discovered after a few years of working together that we both come from Lot et Garonne in South West France

La Maison Rustique
My favorite bookstore on 26 rue Jacob for design and garden books

I cannot end the day without crossing the Seine and
admiring the Louvre and its stunning glass pyramid

During the Furniture Salons, my typical day's schedule is quite grueling, up at 6:30 AM, catch the RER train by 7:30 for an hour's ride to the convention center not far from Charles de Gaulle Airport; early meetings at the "Club Maisons et Objets", then walk, look, talk, walk, look, talk... always, always, always looking out for new ideas, products and vendors. At 7pm, rush with thousands of maddening and maddened people back to the RER station, while trying to avoid being crushed by the crowd of commuters all hoping to catch the next train back into cental Paris. Wait, and wait some more, usually under freezing rain, for the next train, too often facing either the occasional and suddenly announced train strike, or a bomb alert (which was the case this trip that almost caused me to be crushed by the crowd after a 2 hour evacuation delay for a train.... Finally, by 9 pm, the the thought of the taste of my entrecote keeps me going. Then its time to wait yet again in line with hordes of diners all begging for a table at Le Relais de L'Entrecote.

Le Relais de L'Entrecote where the only two menu choices are
steak, either saignant (literally, bleeding) or a point (medium).

My husband believes he's cracked the secret of the restaurant's famous
sauce, a long and very closely held family secret and the real story
behind the small chain's amazing success.

This year, glitter and shine seemed de rigueur at the shows, it is not my cup of tea but still, it was refreshing and uplifting

I love this simple installation, very bucolic

I also noticed touches of humor in contemporary designs and enjoyed the colors, the whimsical chances that these designers were taking.

Some of the new pieces and collections I purchased for my (soon to be moved) Interieurs Showroom

A Sofa from the New Paola Navone Collection


Overall, I felt that everyone in france, feeling the impact of a high Euro and decline in sales were playing it very safe; the mood was not very uplifting.

One of my favorite parts of my work in France is catching the TGV to Avignon where I spend a couple of days working with Bernard on our industrial pieces for the next container. As I mentioned in a previous post I love looking for industrial pieces to salvage and transform. It is such a fun challenge to give a new purpose to these industrial discarded "obsolete" pieces... such a part of history and the Industrial revolution.

Luke, my husband, came along for the ride and I showed him the Provence I love where we hopefully will ultimately live for at least part of the year.

Gordes, an old city in the Luberon section of Provence

Then on to my family village for a few days with my parents and extended family. A surprise feast prepared by my cousin Gaby awaiting us and all dearest cousins Andre, Francoise and Marie Therese were there to welcome us. These moments spent with the ones you love are really what is important in life...the rest...work... so you might as well work with passion and try to find time for yourself, your friends and family... I believe that we too often tend to forget that in the States...

Clermont-Dessous, my 12th Century village


  1. Oh Francine, thanks for bringing us along. I absolutely loved the tabletop dishes lined in the rippled gold, gorgeous, organic and luxe at the same time...a personal favorite combination for moi;) I am really looking forward to seeing your salvage pieces, I love the metal cabinet with the "chicken Wire" front. Btw, Yan Weymouth, a Tampa architect, worked with IM Pei on the Louvre pyramid. He actually used the stair prototype as his son's desk tabletop...how cool?

    bienvenue à la maison ,

    Not sure I said that right, lol?

  2. you are in my favorite place eating at the best people watching cafe, cafe de flore.
    i used to make several trips a year to shop and import from 'Clignancourt.'

    have a wonderful time.
    and i see you have already made some amazing discoveries.

  3. Always such a delight to be taken along on one of your many adventures Francine. Once again I amazed by what you do and the process of finding all the incredible furnishings and objects for your showroom. You've hi-The lited some beautiful finds.From the high-backed sette (would love in a dining room) to the allure of the metals. I'm very impressed by your love of transforming old industrial pieces to something grand again. Those (leather) tables with the studs, are incredible. Your special moments with your family never go unappreciated, you are always so grateful and that is admirable. Your mothers health continues to be on my mind & in my prayers. Safe travels to you and Luke xx deb

  4. Francine,

    I just LOVE it when you post about your trips. Feels like I'm right along side you. My mouth was literally watering looking at the photo of the steak. I love all the colorful plates on the wall of the one photo you took.

    Luberon looks gorgeous. Hope it's the summer months you plan to live there - can't imagine living there with the Mistral winds.

    Thanks again for bringing us along.

    Karen O.

  5. It sounds like a very tiring but satisfying trip Francine...You were enjoying some of my favourite, favourite places....Paris and Provence, xv.

  6. I can't tell you how delighted I am to discover your site. I saw your comment over at Joni's and was coming over to let you know that I am the designer who styled the photo shoot (added the blue and white rug)for the California cottage you admired. I wanted to let you know that I have done a follow up post on my site showing more photos of the cottage as well as the gardens and the main house. But what a find your site is. I have so enjoyed my first visit and will back for more. The minute I saw your Christmas dinner table decorated in orange and blue I knew we marched to a similar drum. We have had an apartment in Paris for the past couple of years as my daughter is going to school there, but I see your site is a treasure chest of information on Paris and France that I will keep exploring. So very nice to meet you! ~jermaine~

  7. that last picture - gorgeous! the cloud cover!!!

  8. What a beautiful account of your trip Francine...Your hometown looks idealic...so nice that your husband was able to join you.

    Congrats on the new store location. We will be there again at the end of March...will you have moved by then?


  9. Warm goats cheese!!! Nothing better than that :)

  10. I appreciated your candor about the overall mood.
    We look forward to the day it begins to fade.

    Beautiful post, beautiful photos, Francine.

  11. Great post Francine,
    Paris is always on top of my list.I love Paola Navone's sofa. I will be in Milan for the Design Week and I will report from there, it will be interesting to compare the moods...
    Au revoir from Olympic Vancouver.

  12. Love most all that Paola Navone does. Would have liked to see her booth. Great scale on that aviary wire metal cabinet. Know what you mean about Provence. Lived in St. Remy for two years. Maybe when I grow up I could live there again.


  13. Missed the salon this year :(
    I am sure it was great, it always is. You made me relive the experience (adventure) of going back to Paris at the end of the day. But the food and the city itself kind of helps wash off what you face during the train trip and the feet that feel five sizes bigger from all the walking done during the day.

  14. Francine,
    I can see that you have a very good taste in everything you do! I would love to go with you to visit Paris for a few days! I am sure that I really would enjoy all these famous and wonderful places, restaurants,... you know so well!
    I have to say that I adore the sofa you purchased and the table (in metal) is gorgeous!
    Have a nice weekend!

  15. Hey thanks so much for your kind comment on my blog! I loved to read your profile and you saying that both life and art are at their most beautiful when they maintain the integrity of their natural form. You are so right ;) I guess thats why you love those old industrial pieces as much as I do.
    I will add youto on my list of blogs, thanks for following, I am gonna explore your blog a bit ... A la prochaine

  16. Absolutely enjoyed reading this repertoire! Love everything French!! It's all making me drool! :)


  17. So happy to have found your blog! I too love the book store La Masion Rustique. I have an entire bookshelf full of finds from there. Have a great weekend.

  18. Hi Francine!
    I can see you made some real finds in the South of France. It looks like you had a great trip.Gordes, it one of my favorite villages in the South of France. Oh and you'll love this... I was one of those people stuck on the train!!!!!!Amazing!!!!!!!Maryanne xo

  19. I want to go to that show one day! Thanks for the recap, sounds like your trip was wonderful!

  20. I hate to hear about the mood being down... that doesn't lend itself well to the inspiration for creative minds and business owners. I have to agree with you on the flash of glitter and shine... which seems to pass quickly.

    Love the industrial pieces...

  21. Francine, thank you so much for sharing. I really love the industrial finds! What a trip!

  22. francine..
    i left you a vmail at your office this morning... thank you from the bottom of my heart for the comment you left re my mom. you will never know what that means to me to have to send that. when we meet, (someday soon) you will get the biggest hug of your life... till then thank you dear francine.... xx pam

  23. Absolutely I really enjoy read your blog, I really love all about design..;)

  24. I guess our roads crossed. I was in Maison et objets , it is funny because I posted the same picture of the missoni armchair . And I came back to marseilles ... may be we were in the same TGV . Love your pics of the show

  25. So sorry we missed each other in Paris!!! I was really looking forward to meeting you but maybe next year! Looks like you had a great time and saw the same things I did. I would have loved to see Provence in the winter. I stayed an extra week in Paris with my husband who loves loves loves Le Relais de L'Entrecote. It's his favorite destination for good, reasonably priced food when we are in town.

  26. i usually go to Paris in JAnuary for the big lingerie tradeshow (next to Maison et Objets)...and yes, i go to Cafe de Flore. I also went to Le Relais de L'Entrecote! and yes, i had steak. :-)
    xoxo alison

  27. What an amazing trip! great photos too... have a nice weekend!

  28. yum, goat cheese sounds divine! lovely pictures!

  29. Hi Francine!

    I tried but didn't make it to Gordes last time I was in the Luberon. I think it was there that I heard they have a large antique market one weekend a month?

    Thanks so much for stopping by my new blog and commenting. You have such a beautiful blog yourself. What exquisite taste! I guess that is only natural for someone who seems to be as lucky as you growing up on a farm in the South of France!

    Happy to now have you in my RSS bookmarks :-)

    A bientot!

  30. this post truly carried me back on the trip my daughter Sarah (Haute Design), her boyfriend David and I did two years ago...while I loved Paris, Mazan and Avignon were amazing to me. Having french heritage on both sides of my family, I believe the "french" never leaves you. I felt truly at home for the first time in my life and long to go back to the South of France and buy a second home there...thanks for sharing your trip and the beautiful pictures.

  31. We are so happy that we found your blog. Thank you so much for taking us all with you on your exciting trip to France. It was wonderful.

  32. Well where are you?/ Hope all is OK
    When someone hasn't done a post for so long I can't help but think you are sick. Best wishes Yvonne


Related Posts with Thumbnails Follow InterieursNYC on Twitter