Last week Fe’s family came to stay with us for a few days, to spend some quality time with Fe and Lex.
It’s funny because they always comment on how my interior style is so British, but really it’s quite the opposite. All my friends and family know that my style is hugely French inspired, with shutter blinds, ceiling chandeliers and pastel/grey hues throughout.
But there are some things in our home that I realised, they are right, you just would never find them in a French home.
It made me reflect on French homes I have encountered over the years, the trendy Parisian apartments of our friends, the chalet houses of his grandparents in the Alps, the country house in Provence. Fe has family all over France, Chambery, Provence, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Amiens, Versailles, and of course Paris. We’ve been around a fair bit and I’ve come to realise there are some things you will never, okay let’s say rarely, find in a French home.
The French just don’t do carpet. You will never ever see carpet in a French home, even up in the north of France where it can get colder. If they do opt for some warmth under the feet they will choose “a tapas” which is a large rug. These are the French alternative to the British cosy carpet.
You won’t find luscious thick curtains in a French home. To block out light instead, you’ll find shutters. Occasionally, mainly or decor purposes, you will see some dainty drapes to dress up a window, or some muslin thin curtains, but the majority of homes will opt for the trusty shutters which us Brits have all come to adore as a French feature.
I don’t think I have ever come across wallpaper in a French home. French interiors often consist of painted walls and soft furnishings. You may find an exposed wall, which gives you a more rustic feel (especially in the country), but wallpaper is hard to come by. If anything you’ll find wall art of wall stickers, particularly in the more creative and modern of homes.
It’s true we are a nation of tea drinkers, but when it comes to our Frenchies it’s all about coffee. Every house will have a coffee machine, which means a teapot is nowhere to be seen. The occasional house may have something that might look like a teapot for a ‘teasan’, which is a herbal tea. But really, in terms of a good old teapot, you won’t find them there.
5. An immaculate car
This is an ongoing joke between Fe and I. When walking thr streets of Paris, if we see a car without a dent or scratch we will point it out. Why? Because they are so hard to come by. In Paris, it is good parking etiquette when parallel parking to leave your handbreak off. This means, when the person infront or behind is getting in or out of space, if they get into difficulty they can bumper you (hit your bumper) to maximise all the space when manoeuvring. This gives you an idea of their attitude to cars, and keeping them well kept. Really, the best way to travel the city is by scooter, a good ole classic Vespa will get you there twice and fast and collision-free.
What things have you noticed about French culture? I’m generally not very good at reflecting on the differences, as a lot of it has become second nature to me. But I’d love to hear your experiences, observations and anecdotes across the channel.
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