For le 14 juillet, I set a table to celebrate la fête nationale, France's national holiday, in honor of Greg's French ancestry. I used the colors of the French Tricolor flag — bleu, blanc et rouge.
I started in the center of the table with a red and white striped runner that I had initially planned to use for our Fourth of July holiday until I found the bright and bold linen set I chose instead.
For the bleu, I selected textured dinner plates with repeating leaves on the rims. For French flair, I used silver chargers underneath. Rouge makes another appearance in balloon wine goblets, for France is inextricably linked in my mind with wine. Two bottles of vin français are set on opposite corners of the table.
For the centerpiece the choice hands down was the basket of gorgeous fleurs that my daughter had sent me for my birthday.
By coincidence, the flowers are predominantly white, accented with those of blue and a smattering of red buds. In the French way, formal roses mix easily with cottage flowers.
Salad plates pay homage to the monuments of Paris. Two depict La tour Eiffel and the surrounding city scenes in wonderfully evocative line drawings. You may remember them from A table for la Fête nationale.
The other two sketch the trio of the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre-Dame de Paris, and La tour Eiffel in a more architectural rendering. These are slightly larger, probably luncheon plates rather than salad plates.
Navy napkins suggest fleurs-de-lis, a symbol of a lily with three petals, bound together at the base, which originated as a heraldic emblem.
To continue the French atmosphere, I placed prints of Claude Monet's paintings of his gardens in Giverny on the buffet.
I have a much larger print of a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir in the study. Monet and Renoir along with several others developed the style of Impressionism, which particularly appeals to me.
In France they're celebrating with parades, programmes culturel, outdoor concerts, and breathtaking fireworks.
We'll celebrate in a simpler way — with a French table that celebrates good food, good wine, and good company.
Vive la France!
Dinner plates | Bordallo Pinheiro
Eiffel Tower salad plates | Mikasa 'Parisian Scenes'
Trio salad plates | Royal Stafford 'City Scenes'
Red goblets | Waterford Marquis 'Vintage'