It’s no secret that the French have perfected the art of setting the table, and they even have a saying for it – art de la table – art of the table. Namely, their strong sense of tradition sets them apart in this category and why we all admire French decor and dining so much. As with everything, I like to incorporate my personal touches while being inspired by what I love most. Here are a few ideas to create a festive French inspired tablescape of your own – cheers to a beautiful and memorable holiday season!
I associate the color burgundy with France. Perhaps it’s the velvet burgundy interiors of their iconic Chateaus. Or maybe because it’s the color of my favorite bottle of Burgundy Wine. It was the first color to come to mind when considering how to style our Thanksgiving table this year. There’s something ‘Holiday’ about it without being overtly ‘holiday.’ The French refer to this monochrome styling technique as camaïeu – it gives the feeling of relaxed and intentional uniformity while keeping your table cohesive and calm.
No. 2 Unfussy Floral Centerpiece
The French and their florals – a pairing as iconic as turkey and gravy. Frenchwomen have a knack for effortless beauty, from how they dress to how they outfit their interiors and style their unfussy florals. The key here is to create charm through unevenness and imperfection – as though you went foraging for branches and wildflowers in the forest. I worked with the lovely and talented Kelsi from Pop-up Florist to create these arrangements. She did a beautiful job pairing focal flowers with textural elements and foliage for the centerpiece and accent piece we placed on the mantle.
No. 3 Revisit your Antiques
A table setting has the power to take you back in time, and the quickest way to do this is by pulling out pieces that have history – like your grandmother’s antiques. She doesn’t have to be from France, but adding a touch of heritage breathes old stories into the new ones you’ll be telling around your table this holiday season. Think crystal cut stemware, fine silverware and brass candlesticks. Pair with colorful porcelain plates like these multicolor ones from Dior’s Cruise 2023 Wind Rose collection for a modern touch that feels elegant and refined.
No. 4 Set the Mood
The French are known for romancing just about anything. A bottle of wine and a baguette by the Sienne – romantique! A stroll down Rue des Barres in Le Marais – romantique! A classic film at le Champo – romantique! Steal a kiss from your sweetie at Jardin du Palais Royal – romantique. It’s all about creating those romantic moments, and what better way to set the mood than with a candle-lit dinner? Put the dimmers on so your guests can see their food but let the candlelight lead the conversations!
No. 5 French Inspired Menu
While this one may be a bit more straightforward, there’s no way around it. If you want to create that ‘je ne sais quoi’ through your food, serve a few festive French dishes. Our favorite? Potatoes au gratin. It’s a crowd-pleaser and such a simple recipe to make. Freddie is sharing his version on his site today in addition to the recipe for the carrots and herb roast.