La fête du

JARDIN

Fancy bringing that ultimate holiday feeling of La Douce France to your own home for the day? Pas de problème. These tips will help you transform your garden into a place where guests can enjoy toasting until the early hours. Santé!

La vie en rose
There’s nothing as romantic as a French summer evening. The sun is low, the air feels balmy and you can enjoy a casual tête-à-tête, culinary delights and a glass of wine under the lantern-lit trees. It’s no secret that the French have been inspiring us for decades. From their language to their food, clothing and films, they all seem to be just that bit more elegant. Bringing that stylish joie de vivre into your own garden for a day is a good plan. Get some inspiration from François Simon's book Provence Glory, which is full of beautiful photos to help create that ultimate holiday feeling. You can almost smell the lavender while you’re flicking through the pages.
To get you in the French mood, a touch of je ne sais quoi à la Jane Birkin won't hurt. Try out our Victorian cotton blouse paired with wide-legged jeans (or a denim skirt when it’s hot), casual hair and a large amount of mascara. A good outfit is half the battle. Start your day with a café au lait and a croissant at a café and buy your flowers and groceries at the market in the morning. Strolling around and searching for the best-quality products is all part of the perfect day. To get even more in the mood, put on Spotify's Floss' French Bops playlist – although a Françoise Hardy album will do just as well. Of course, both are great background music once the guests start arriving.

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Provence... in your own back garden
The first step in decorating your garden comes from above: hang lights and lanterns in the trees in your garden and along the edge of your balcony. Lanterns from HKliving create a romantic mood and are a beautiful addition to your interior once the garden party’s over. For a little extra intimacy and protection from the summer sun, put up a nice parasol. The one with lemon print and fringing by The Business & Pleasure Co. is our favourite. A pretty table starts with the basics: choose a fine linen or cotton tablecloth to create a natural, chic, summery feel. Use straw placemats – Tiseco's rattan placemats, for example – and cloth napkins. The ones by Les Ottomans through Anna+Nina are real eyecatchers. Nonchalantly scatter carafes and vases over the table, and fill them with lavender and gypsophila.
You can still embrace La Douce France for a day if you do not have your own outdoor space. With a little improvisation, you can transform a picnic table, a rug in the park or a folding table on the pavement into a true French delight. Take the accessories and snacks with you, replace the lanterns with candles and c'est ça.

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L’apéro
At the table, serve an easy-going French apéro (aperitif) so that you, as hostess or host, can fully enjoy the evening without having to slave away in the kitchen. A fresh baguette is a must – make sure you buy it from a good bakery – served in a wicker bread basket with salted butter. A simple salad with red wine vinegar vinaigrette and shallots, oven-baked camembert with thyme, mini bite-sized quiche lorraines that you can bake the day before (veggie bacon tastes good in this too) and you're ready. Put everything on the table and let the guests simply serve themselves à volonté.
Drinks? Nothing beats Un Piscine on a hot summer’s day. This drink is very popular in the south of France: a gigantic wine glass filled with lots of ice cubes, topped with rosé or champagne. People initially turned their noses up at diluting champagne with ice, but Ice Impérial by Moët & Chandon has been around for a few years now. To create exactly the right taste with this concentrated champagne, dilute it with melting ice. Let the garden party begin – c'est parti!

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