Jane Webster has long had a love affair with France. From owning La Gare in Melbourne, a tiny but bustling French restaurant, to taking annual pilgrimages to Paris, husband and four children in tow, the country was always her unofficial home.
So it came as no surprise that during those trips an idea began to form… to buy a chateau and relocate to the other side of the world. In 2004, that dream became reality, when Jane purchased Chateau Bosgouet in Normandy.
Two books and a thriving business later, Jane spends her days running The French Table – a week long stay at Chateau Bosgouet, where guests enjoy beautiful food and wine and visits to the surrounding countryside, markets and coastal villages. The business has now expanded beyond Normandy to other parts of France, to include all the wine regions: Champagne, Burgundy and Bordeaux.
Jane has just released her third book, French House Chic, with Thames & Hudson, which draws on the other side of her life; her fine sense of style and decoration. Initially honed by her father’s antique business in Melbourne, it didn’t take long for Jane to become a regular at auction houses. Once she moved to Normandy, she would scour the local markets, brocantes and vide-greniers for unique pieces, something she continues to do to this day.
Jane’s various trips around France have taken her to some magnificent homes – often never open to the public. Her visits to those houses grand and small have become the basis of French House Chic, giving readers a rare glimpse into the most private of French residences: from supremely elegant Parisian apartments to lavishly upholstered sitting rooms in French country estates. From le salon to la salle de bain and every room in between.
Offering practical insight, French House Chic is Jane’s personal story of cultivating an eye for style and bringing it to life in the home – a style that can be emulated with just some simple guidance. It is a book that will make you want to rearrange your copper saucepans, reupholster your sofa, and even book a one-way flight to Paris!
French House Chic by Jane Webster, with photography by Robyn Lea and published by Thames & Hudson, is out now for $59.99.