When you picture a Parisian bistro, do you see a cobbled street, perhaps a striped awning and outside; a row of woven chairs tucked around marble tables? If you’re craving a little bit of la belle vie, spend your Sundays like a French girl and create a Parisian bistro brunch in your own home.
We’ve tested out some of the best cafes in the City of Love, scoured antiques markets and sampled a few croissants in our time so read on to discover what we’ve learned from our many trips to Paris over the years.
1. French Marble
The backdrop to every cool girl’s croissant pics, marble has this effortlessly chic feel to it and will forever be timeless. We love marble platters and often use them as backdrops for new products.
2. Bistro Cafe Chairs
We’ve got a bit of an obsession with cafe chairs; they’re so iconic and whenever we’re in Paris we seem to find a brand new design that we’ve never seen before. Sometimes called French cafe chairs or Riviera chairs, it was the Thonet chair that stole the hearts of every cafe owner and cafe dweller in 1859 when Michael Thonet a German cabinetmaker, introduced the No.14 bistro chair; a seamless design crafted by steam bending beechwood and a seat made of woven cane or palm. Everyone from Pablo Picasso to Albert Einstein owned one and today, you’re unlikely to find a Paris cafe without a row of them outside.
Lately we’ve been branching out and finding those same braided textures in unexpected materials like metal baskets for our croissants and brass placemats for Lexi’s vintage French tableware.
3. Breton Stripes & Vichy Checks
Of course every Francophile has a classic navy Breton Stripe or a ticking stripe up their Mariniere sleeve, but these days we’re swapping it out for the Vichy check (that’s gingham to you and me), originating from the region in France of the same name and popularised in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Vichy check was designed to be a common, everyday fabric. Easy to weave and easy to launder, it’s a utilitarian fabric that feels distinctly French when used as a tablecloth, tea towel or embroidered napkins.
4. Monochrome Mania
Embody jazz cafe culture with music-note monochromes in your soft furnishings, tableware and kitchenware. Black and white is timeless but we're brightening it up with a bit of tarte au citron yellow or absinthe green.
5. The Best French Croissants (of course!)
It can’t be a French bistro without French food and with the Cordon Bleu culinary school situated in Paris and widely renowned as one of the greatest culinary schools in the world, it would be hard to argue that the French don’t know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to expertly executed food. After all, they created the croissant and the croque-monsieur. For our Parisian-inspired supper club our Head Chef Connor prepared a menu of classic dishes from all over France, from bourgignon to macarons.
Bella’s favourite is freshly baked (still warm!) crusty baguette served with salted butter, and we have a decadent yet refreshingly simple recipe for zingy lemon tart that is the perfect finishing touch to every bistro brunch. C'est parfait!