Paradise Found: Luxury Lessons from Provence

DISCOVERY

The only way that I can truly relax is to leave the country, no car pools, no to- do list, no early bird dinner preparation. And, most important, limited ability to social mediate (international service is too cost prohibitive) This summer, I wanted to feel lost.  Lost in paradise. Translation? High style. No crowds. The anti-Hamptons. Faraway- feeling fabulosity.  Pre-requisites: a laid back luxe ambiance (read: no sweats/yoga pants or sneakers) and easy access to adventure. Oh, and toss in a side of glorious weather. For a fashion-wine-food loving gal like me, this type of paradise can be found in Provence. So, for three glorious weeks, I ate, drank and flea marketed my way through southern France. French living has always impressed me. Food is revered. Setting a beautiful table is de rigeur, a veritable art form. Meals are not details, but experiences to be savored. Casual dressing is stylish, not slovenly. And, strategic beauty regimens allow women to age gracefully. For three weeks, I was able to live and absorb this well cultivated lifestyle. Inspired, I put my favorite elements of Francophile culture under  a microscope. The result? A bevy of FIVE MINUTE FIXES  that show you how to effortlessly Frenchify your style

LESSON ONE: FRENCHIFY YOUR MORNING COFFEE ROUTINE


ATK having petit dejeuner in Provence

My morning coffee in Provence was not a minor detail of the day. It was a highlight. Why? A Provencal petit dejeuner is epic. Presentation is everything. Details as minute as the placement of a teaspoon (it is leaning upon a mini pot of local honey) requires serious consideration. Great care is taken to transform a breakfast table into a multi-sensory tableau that beckons with the promise of excellence. Wicker tables are dressed to impress in a laid back luxe kind of way: Crisp white linens blanketed with local lavender, sparkling silver, pitchers of juice, porcelain tabletop and artisanal confiture. The scene is electrified with a postcard perfect view of verdant vineyards and the heady scent of just-baked croissants. Sipping a café crème, I am absolutely present. I don’t want to tweet. I don’t want to check email. I don’t even want to read. I just want to sit and savor the pleasure of this moment in time.

Yet another glorious breakfast

INSPIRATION: A chic coffee served in Provence

So, how can a frazzled working mom re-create this type of experience at home? Well, let’s be real. It is not going to happen on school days. But, on weekends, you can absolutely Frenchify your morning and luxe up your coffee routine. All it takes is a fresh presentation. Here’s how:
• Fancify the table with a crisp white tablecloth
• Upgrade paper napkins to cloth. This has major visual impact
• Add a pop of color with freshly cut flowers
• Place bagels, toast and/or croissants in a wicker basket covered with a napkin. Super chic!
• Use white ceramic or porcelain coffee cups and saucers
• No plastic containers on the table. Ever!
• Place jams and butter on a small platter. Have individual spoons for each condiment.
• Pour juice into a glass pitcher. Milk should be in a small white pitcher

VOILA!

Provencal Perfection: A wicker table dressed to impress

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