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When you really stop to look, you can find bits of France in the most unexpected places.  A few weeks ago I was wandering around the furniture shops in my neighborhood when I found the charming, Patrimoine De France.  You know you’ve found the right place when you turn off of Harrison Ave in the South End and you see a table set with vibrant linens and Pastis (pictured above) greets you at the door.  The beautiful textiles will draw you in and when you cross the threshold you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to Paris.

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Sylvain, the owner, is a master of textiles and an expert in design.  He works with companies that have savoie faire.  His sources for tablecloths, napkins, porcelain, linens, etc. have excellent reputations. Some have been in business for centuries.  For me, this is one of the trademarks of French living.  In our culture, where nearly everything is disposable, I find great comfort in buying home goods that are made with the highest care and quality.

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Sylvain encourages his clients to think in the European way: to accept pieces from different family members and make them work for you.  He says that you can find your unique style by mixing the old with the new.

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One thing that made me smile is when he said, “Cute is not enough…” This resonated with me on so many levels.  The “perfect” monochrome table can look bland.  But add linen placemats, an unconventional plate, a colorful fork and suddenly your table becomes more interesting.  It catches your eye.  The same can be said for people.  “Cute” can be initially appealing, but it can grow old very quickly.  When we show our quirkiness and the things that make us unique we become more real and more interesting.

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This weekend I’ll be hosting a brunch (with quiches and tartes on the menu, of course) and I so I bought a lovely 1940s amber plate.  I’m considering this the first of my collection.  The beginning of my ideal French table.

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So when I need a little bit of France in my life and in my home, I’ll stop in to say bonjour to Sylvain and Pastis and I hope you’ll do the same.

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