Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Another Fine French Book Giveaway!

Down on the Côte d’Azur, my friend Lanie Goodman wears way more than her share of hats. In addition to teaching part time at the SKEMA Business School at Sophia-Antipolis, she writes about travel, food, film, books, art, architecture and design for a wide range of top publications including the Wall Street Journal, Elle Décor, Interior Design and Conde Nast Traveller. Plus, she does translation—and has translated four contemporary novels from French into English. 

Having lived in France for 24 years, Lanie has a very wide network, with personal and professional contacts in all the fields above. So when the UK-based publisher Cico Books was looking for someone to produce and write a book on romantic French home design, Lanie seemed a natural. 

True to form, my gal pal hit the road running. Her first assignment was to actually find the properties that would be profiled and photographed…not such an easy task given that French homeowners tend to be quite private. But slowly and diligently, Lanie was able to gather a group of wonderful houses, to convince the owners to share their compelling stories and then encourage them to open their doors once again, so their homes and beautiful possessions could be photographed. She toured roughly 30 homes and eventually selected 14. “I knew immediately which were right,” she says. “We didn’t want decorated or ‘done up’ homes--it was more about an artfully assembled mix of different styles and an atmosphere that reflects the ‘soul’ of the owners.  Often, the history of the walls were part of the story.” 

In publishing terms, the project was a rush—it took just seven months--and the book came out last week. Go Lanie! 

And, as I often do when I find a book I think you’ll love, I’ve asked the publisher for some copies for you to win. Graciously, Cico Books said yes to two copies. So if you’d like to win one, just leave a comment under “comments” at the end of this story. Meanwhile, here’s a bit more about the book…

The properties in Romantic French Homes are spread out across France, from the city streets of Paris to Megeve in the French Alps; from the windswept coast of Normandy to the heart of Provence and the sun-baked shores of the Riviera. There are classic country houses which have been in the same family for generations, tiny boltholes, city apartments, quirky seaside homes and more. Each home has its own very-individual character, reflecting the owners and their passions. 

In Paris we get a glimpse of a sophisticated pied-a-terre owned by an acclaimed musician. In the Alps, we’re invited into a chalet built with reclaimed wood from surrounding old farmhouses. Another property is a grand château owned by Alexis de Tocqueville, filled with antiques collected by generations of the de Tocqueville family. 

The book is divided into four chapters: Châteaux (castles, châteaux, grand country houses, and town houses); Bastides (old manors and farmhouses); Maisons Bohèmes (artist's, writer's and seaside homes); and Paysannes and Pavilions (small and simple, thrifty and humble town houses and country houses). Whether grand and imposing or humble and rustic, the authentic charm and history of these houses shines through. 

One of Lanie’s most serendiptous finds was in St. Tropez, while trying to locate Colette's home, La Treille Muscate. The writer had lived just outside the village for many years…before Bardot…before it was fashionable. ‘’I knew where it was on the map,’’ Lanie recalls, ‘’so I parked my car and began walking towards the house, hoping to catch a glimpse of what I remembered from the photos. Obviously, most of the villas in St. Tropez today are hidden by high walls replete with intercoms and cameras, but I  happened to stumble upon a very inviting property in passing--a little Provencal stone mas surrounded by an overgrown lush garden, a pool, and trees strung with paper lanterns. A gypsy caravan sat in one corner, a giant Indonesian day bed draped with beautiful fabrics by the pool. La bohème! The gate was wide open so I walked in. A lovely suntanned woman in bare feet and jeans came to greet me with a smile--I apologized for trespassing and asked if, by any chance, this was Colette's former home. She said 'It's just down the road. But this used to be Marcel Pagnol's house. Would you like to see it?’ You bet I did. And it’s one of my favorite homes in the book.” 

The 176-page hardcover has 150 or so color photos by English photographer Simon Brown and can be found in bookshops and boutiques. 

Ok! How to win a copy? Simply leave a comment below, by clicking the word ''comments,'' and you'll be entered into the giveaway. Please don’t forget to include your email address so we can reach you if you win; signing in with your Google account is not enough. 

You can also buy the book on Amazon here (US) or here (UK). 

If you’re in Nice on Thursday, March 28, be sure to pop by the Librairie Massena at #55, rue Gioffredo (tel 04 93 80 90 16). Lanie will be there from 6:30 pm onward, greeting friends, sharing stories and signing books.

To see all the current Cico Books titles, click here. To follow them on Twitter: @cicobooks 

Photos: 1. One of the 14 houses in the book is the 18th-century-style bastide “Les Confines,” near St. Remy de Provence. The exterior was rendered more elegant by limewashing the facade, realigning and enlarging the windows and repainting the shutters in a natural shade of green that would harmonize with the garden. “The five magnificent plane trees and the underground source were a real draw,” says owner Dominique Lafourcade, an artist and landscape architect whose passion for gardens is reflected in the design of the bastide’s interiors as well. To replace an unsightly metal shed in front of the house, the owners dug out an oval pond, filled with water lilies and connected it to a long central ribbon of water, which serves as the geometric “spinal column” of the garden. Dominique is married to well-known architect Bruno Lafourcade, who runs his high-profile firm with his architect son, Alexandre. 2. The cheery country kitchen is the central hub of activity since the owners are passionate cooks. The antique wooden farm table, found locally, was given a Verona marble tabletop. For added color, the simple chairs, from a brocante market, were painted blue. The walls are decorated with Salernes ceramic tiles from Alain Vagh. 3. The cozy winter living room is a fanciful mix of trompe l’oeil murals, lamps, mirror frames and faux animal-skin chairs. 4. The dining room is a patchwork of color and whimsy, filled with local animal-themed bric à brac and garden flowers. Dominique's trompe l’oeil murals depict the couple’s favorite landscapes from their travels. 5. A view from the bastide terrace. The 20-acre property includes two swimming pools bordered by greenery, a flower and vegetable garden, a fruit orchard and a fanciful African garden hemmed in by bamboo with rare exotic plants. The smaller southwest-facing dining terrace faces a garden of clipped ornamental round hedges. “It’s the perfect spot to enjoy the last rays of light before sunset,” says Dominique. 

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  1. Julie, thank you, I love French interior books and collected a few, but I was unaware of the mechanics behind creating a book; and this is what I'm learning in this post; so insightful.
    I'd love to come to the get-together in Nice, but unfortunately I'm not in the Cannes area (which I also call home:-)
    that week.
    Please count me in; nnedkov@yahoo.com

    Thank you and have a great week!!

  2. I think a lot of us have a picture in our heads of the quintessential French house when in reality there are many different types. This book sounds like a wonderful tribute to all of the various home styles and decor. I can't wait to "trespass" on some of these homes. Thank you for sharing.
    Vicki edhvah@yahoo.com

  3. What beautiful pictures. I would love to peruse that book inch by inch! Hope I'm a winner. My email is polowhite@aol.com

  4. I wish I was in Nice to "pop in"! We were able to see a few very interesting homes when we visited a couple summers ago. The history, the charm! I would love to have a copy of Romantic French Homes to remind me of homes we visited.

  5. Just seeing the photos you posted not only makes me want the book, I want to go visit the homes myself! What a treasure.

  6. Julie would I ever like to win one of Lanie's gorgeous books!! as always your post hits all the high spots for me.. thanks so much!
    a bientôt


  7. kaycotner@gmail.comMarch 26, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    What a beautiful book!
    It would make such a lovely gift! & a gift to oneself!!

  8. I need a French house! I want a French house!
    But, hey, I would settle for a book about French houses! Lanie's book would be the ticket to fantasy island for sure.


  9. The book sounds lovely. Since getting Wini Moranville's Bonne Femme cookbook I've become slightly obsessed with all things French. I think my Italian-American husband is waiting for me to enter my "Italian phase" but for now I'm quite content to live my interpretation of a French life!
    rachel.e.formaro (at) gmail.com

  10. This looks like a lovely book. Ever since buying Wini Moranville's Bonne Femme cookbook I seem to have become quite a Francophile. I'm quite sure my Italian-American husband is waiting for me to move on to an "Italian phase" but for now I'm quite content staying in my interpretation of a French live!
    rachelformaro (at) icloud dot com

  11. This lovely book does not deserve a place as a "coffee table" book, but in our warm French inspired kitchen. I would be so grateful in receiving it.

  12. You make my heart leap with the images of France. I could smell the kitchens and gardens in the photos. Lovely!

  13. I love this blog. It never fails to transport me to Provence. In addition, Julie is just so REAL and very helpful! I would be extremely happy to win Lanie's book. Merci.

  14. what a beautiful site. and congrats Lanie for such a feat. Lovely cover. How do you win a book??

  15. Oh, I would love to win one of Lanie's books. Just reading about it and looking at the photos made me start dreaming..... Quelles belles images!!

    Jeanne Boin

  16. Oh, quelles belles images! Just looking at them and reading the description of the book put me into a dream state! I would love to win a copy of Lanie's book.

  17. Julie, please drop my name in the hst for the book. After 6 months of translating 108 year old handwritten French recipes and spending days/weeks with a photographer cooking and shooting the dishes for late 2013 publication "A Fench Culinary Adventure" I need to see someone elses work. House shopping during this time also calls for some ideas for decorating my own house with ideas for things from the local 'Marche de Flea". As ever, Karen

  18. this looks like a beautiful book to add to my collection. I love Provence, when I can't afford a trip, these books comfort me.

  19. Book beautiful!! You did a wonderful job of making me crave going back and experiencing some of this in real life. congrats Lanie!

  20. What a lovely book. Lanie truly entices you to travel again to France and experience the beauty of the homes, history and romance.


  21. What a lovely book and what fun "finding" the properties to be featured. A friend and I did that once but for gardens to put on a garden tour. It also turned out to be a great way to meet some very interesting people.

  22. What a lovely book, it would look great on my French coffee table!! Thanks for the chance.

  23. My architect husband would love that as a surprise gift. Those pictures are gorgeous.

  24. I am all about France. Totally the best place on the planet. I live, breath and long for France. I certainly want all of the books about France.

  25. I really, really, really want a book about France. Not that I don't have a lot of books about France, but I never tire of reading about it, even though I have been there 3 different times.

  26. I love visiting France; it would be wonderful to decorate in the French way as well! Thank you for such a generous giveaway! Sara
    SDawsonH at yahoo dot com

  27. If you can't get to France in person at the moment, this beautiful book would be just the ticket ... at least it would be for me! Oh ... it really would be such a lovely treat. Always dreaming ... Merry


  28. From the very first photo -- love at first sight.
    I would love to win this book so I can daydream about my new maison from the comfort of my sofa.
    Thank you!

  29. We just had a foot of snow dumped on us this weekend. A foot! In March! Nothing would brighten my day more than a book about Cote d'Azure decorating. Merci! Eva-Marie
    em9499 at gmail dot com

  30. What an interesting subject.. The book looks and sounds lovely. Cheri H. hletergo@aol.com

  31. What a stunning looking book. Love your comments about it here. Would love to be there, but for now will have to settle or the experience through the pages of the book. Thanks- jo@jotilley.com

  32. beautifully published book ;), I love France and it's style, I will be happy to read the evening and delighted to see photographie ;)
    Have nice week ;)

  33. Once again we in Yorkshire are in the midst of Winter. Knee deep in snow for nearly a week, and those white flakes are falling from the sky yet again!
    Your blog brightens my dull cold day, and this book has me dreaming of our holiday to Provence in June.
    How I would love to see inside those wonderful houses, but the beautiful pictures in this book are the next best thing.
    Fingers crossed I am lucky!
    Thank you

  34. A gorgeous book! Makes me want to move to Provence tout de suite.

  35. This looks like a great book. Love the Marcel Pagnol story, he also lived in my town of Tarascon and I am now inspired to find his house here.

  36. Love all of France, and this book looks fabulous! I plan in a few years to live in the country that makes me feel so at home! I hope I am the lucky lady!


  37. Oh another wonderful book that is begging to sit on my coffee table. Thanks to Elise for sending me over here to sign up and to see your great blog!

    Paris Through My Lens

  38. Beautiful images! Would love to take the visual tour that this book offers. Thank you! abbottmom at aol dot com

  39. Such a lovely book. I would love to win this beauty.
    Happy Wednesday.

  40. I am absolutely in love with life in Provence. I cannot get enough of the french home styles! The book looks amazing! I would love to pursue the pages! Thanks for the giveaway!

  41. What a magnificent book!! Would love to win it!

  42. Je voudrais ce livre!!! Please consider this my contest entry form. Merci.

  43. I can't breathe..I want this book!
    vicki2201 at Mac dot com.

  44. France...my ancestral home...would look lovely on my coffee table.

  45. Oh what a joy it would be to page through this book and find ideas that scream my name! I could then have much fun attempting to duplicate. The book would be useful to both my houses, one in the states and the other in the Luberon. Merci de votre gentillesee!


  46. Just what I love. French and not "done "!!

  47. My love affair with France began six years ago on our first trip to Provence. We have since returned and plan to visit once again this fall~
    I am dreaming of anything French these days~
    Je taime~

  48. French interiors are fab, especially ones that have not been photographed before.
    karlight52at yahoodotcom

  49. Okay, I wasn't going to enter because I live in this little furnished apartment in Aix. I figured the book should go to somebody who could use it. I've changed my mind. I've decided it's BECAUSE I live in a little apartment in Aix that I would this book. Hopefully the flying bells will deliver it in my Easter Basket!

  50. Easter week, time got away until this afternoon.....and now to read this wonderful story about the gathering of places and photos for a magnificent book. I would love to have the inspiration of these fantastic French homes to push some of the designing in my retirement bungalow to perfection. Please enter me in the drawing.
    rockymountainbirder at gmail dot com

  51. I just want to win this book. France is one of the place in this world. France is the largest country in Western Europe.

  52. Some people might say I don't need another French interior design book, but I say, please, Pagnol's house? It's a must have. Such inspiration.

    Thank you for the opportunity.


  53. Oh wow.....it looks fabulous!!! I would adore to be included....thank you.

  54. I would love to have this book since everyday I DREAM of living in Provence . . .God, I hope my dream comes true!

  55. This book is on my amazon.com wish list. Hope I'll be lucky and win it :)
    PS. would it be okay to leave my blog link here instead? I don't feel too sure about posting my email address.

  56. Would love this book robbieknocks (at) gmail.com

  57. Love, Love this book!! I dream of moving to Provence daily..This lovely book would transport me there!

    Thank You

  58. For sure I can find room on my coffee table for this book.



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