inspiration found in a Provence château

by Sharon Santoni


While in the South this summer, I was lucky enough to meet rather an extraordinary French lady, living in an 18th century château, … with an art gallery in her garden.




Sabine Puget is passionate about art and the importance of art in everyday life.  When she and her husband bought their château some years back, she was brave enough to create a gallery and open its doors to the public


She quickly ran out of space, but boldly created extra display areas around the gallery, stark modern shapes, that fit into her breathtaking property effortlessly, and whose brick red colour echoes the beautiful patina on the château walls.
The gallery is open from May to September, and she creates two exhibitions each season.    I was fascinated to visit the current show, which combines and juxtaposes the work of two artists:  a photographer who likes to shoot pictures of old catalogues of plant collections, and a sculptor  who is passionate about granite, marble and stone.

All through the show, sculptures, large and small, echo the beautiful black and white photos on the walls.



To add interest to the already breathtaking sculptures, they are created to move and to turn upon themselves.


The garden around the gallery and the house is carefully planted to emphasise the presence of the gallery.  Walking around the grounds, this visitor sometimes gasped at the beauty of an unexpected artwork, whose silver grey wood or subtle stone, reflects the soft Provençal light.







In a corner of the garden is a tiny chapel, long since abandoned when Sabine and her husband bought the property.  It is now restored with evocative paintings on the wall and unique stained glass windows, and has become the subject of a small book.



This stunning property is perfectly maintained and designed but never overwhelming.  At every corner there is a reminder that this is first and foremost a home, owned by a couple who have understood the importance of life’s simple pleasures.  Be it a striking work of art; sitting in a simple deck chair in the shade of an old chestnut tree, or hearing grand children play pétanque outside the house.


So if you find yourself in the south of France this summer, and you would like to visit Sabine’s gallery, simply contact her or turn up on a sunny summer afternoon and refresh your body and mind as you breathe in the utter beauty of her property and the art she cares to show





Lost in Provence July 26, 2012 - 10:48 am

Oh my goodness, what an amazing environment! How generous of Sabine and her family to share it with the public. I am fascinated by the sculptures too. Will definitely try to visit the next time that I am in the region–such a beautiful part of Provence too!

david terry July 26, 2012 - 12:33 pm

Dear Sharon,

Well, I used to be an interesting person, who nearly always had something original and incisive to say.

Now, I've taken up the habit of reading your blog every morning….and all I find myself able to do is to repeat myself again & again…..same old tired stuff.

That said?…thank you for the lovely (as usual) posting (I think I post this about five times per week, as though I were an under-exposed parrot).


David Terry

vicki archer July 26, 2012 - 12:57 pm

This gallery looks extraordinary Sharon… I must go…. Are you still in the south… xv

PURA VIDA July 26, 2012 - 1:50 pm

love those rock cairns

Mercy G. Gallardo July 26, 2012 - 2:21 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.

Mercy G. Gallardo July 26, 2012 - 2:29 pm

I admire the photography, nice features and I like this posting, thanks for sharing…

Mercy G. Gallardo

david terry July 26, 2012 - 3:00 pm

Dear Sharon,

Well, thank you for your "private" email (which I just received and read). I hope you don't mind my responding to it publicly (I'm suddenly recalling an admirably flamboyant friend from my twenties who once, when someone had scolded him, said "What is the POINT of being 'discreet'?….there are so many other, more INTERESTING ways to be!"

In any case…yes, I make a point of sending compliments your way concerning your blog. I was raised (by a mother most folks might regard as "Strict", but with whom I'm great friends, even at this age, to this day) to thank folks (particularly ladies who already have households and children to manage)when they've gone out of their way to provide you with something nice.

That's how I think about at least several blogs…I could (and do) pay a considerable sum of money to see movies, read books, flip through magazines….and, often as not, it's a disapointing experience.

Your blog is never a disapointment (sp?). It's always a delight in several ways. I think that, when someone goes out of her way (it's not as though you're paid to maintain this blog so regularly and well) to write a blog or throw a party, it's incumbent on the reader to make his/her appreciation clear.

It's best not to take things (such as your blog, which I'm glad to see so many folks enjoy) for granted.

Quite frankly, I'm being less than entirely altruistic in sending compliments your way. What if you decided that maintaining "My French Country Home" simply wasn't wroth the effort (considerable) and/or time (obviously a LOT)?

I'd have to return to reading irritating natterings such as "".

I expect that all of your constant readers think, as I do, that oyu deserve and should get compliments on your work (and a good blog is WORK, I realize).

I suppose I should emphasize for readers that I am definitively NOT being paid under the table to write comments such as this (in fact, I've never laid eyes on Ms. Santoni). Everyone's perfectly free (welcome, in fact) to begin sending me checks whenever they please.

In any case, this is one of my three favorite blogs….and I'll admit that I can't help (having spent years in feminist/gender studies as a literature professor) but mull over the obvious (for me) question of why women seem better at the business than men do? I read a few blogs written by men whose writing/work I admire, but the authors obviously don't go out of their way to cultivate a "community" of readers.

Go figure, as we say…..


david terry

La Brocanteuse July 26, 2012 - 4:06 pm

Well put David! I ditto on that if you allow me. Sharon, this one will go on my bucket list for next time. thank you for sharing so beautifully.
Love from Afrique du Sud.

Our French Inspired Home July 26, 2012 - 4:29 pm

Always love the images you post. Not being in France, it is great to have these private little tours of something special. I too have to say this is one of my favorite blogs because I get a glimps of French life and design, which we have used to incorporate into our homes design.

Burlap Luxe July 26, 2012 - 4:37 pm

Your posting make us feel as if we are right there with you.
Thank you for sharing.
All things French inspired.

67greystone July 26, 2012 - 4:42 pm

you always take pics from the most beautiful angles to show the best of what you are looking at, so very talented. but i must say same of the angles of the house appears that the house is leaning in upon itself. WOW!!! maybe some day you can give tips on how you get the "story" of each pic to show thur so effortlessly. i really enjoy that you post everyday. it get me up and going, thank you

sharon santoni at my french country home July 26, 2012 - 4:52 pm

oops! Thank you, and well spotted! I forgot to mention that this house is slightly trapeze shaped, with two walls spreading out at an angle. This is common enough in Provence for there to be a name for the style, they say the house "a du fruit", it "has fruit"!! Works for me!

As for getting the story effortlessly, I am simply very fortunate. Sabine Puget is a friend of the friends we were staying with last week. I was invited over to take some pictures, and simply clicked away on my camera while Sabine and her husband walked us around the property – a totally delicious way to spend an afternoon! 🙂

wendi yates July 26, 2012 - 6:24 pm

How beautiful Sharon and how generous of you and Sabine to share this intimate afternoon at this amazing home – thank you doesn't seem like enough. I concur with David and look forward each morning for my little dose of La Vie Douce en France. Merci beaucoup Sharon!

Kris July 26, 2012 - 6:28 pm


It is so beautiful there, the color of the Chateau is perfect and the landscaping breathtaking. Thanks so much for sharing these lovely photos with us. 🙂 It made my day!

Tara Dillard July 26, 2012 - 9:05 pm

I did a miniature, compared to this, outdoor museum/art gallery for a client in the Mississippi delta.

Their collection of historic farm tools was prodigious.

Would really like to see how this garden is designed for maintenance issues.


Julie Aarsvold Minnesota, USA July 26, 2012 - 10:22 pm

I just stumbled upon your blog one day and have been entranced ever since. I love your home and all the lovely pictures that you post makes it seem as though we are sitting in the same room or traveling together. It is a dream of mine to someday visit your lovely chateau in Normandy and stay in your cottage. thanks for all the beautiful pictures and comments. I look forward to them every day.

Sincerely Julie Aarsvold

Pamela RG July 27, 2012 - 12:48 am

Madame Sabine is so lucky to own that beautiful and enchanting chateau and to be able to apply her passion for art in her home too. It's a good thing we can view her passion for art and her chateau.

helen tilston July 27, 2012 - 2:12 am

Hello Sharon

A beautiful journey through the home of Madame Sabine. The exhibition is fascinating of the sculptures with the photographs. The image of the children playing shows a perfect summer day

Wishing you a great weekend

Helen xx

Vicki July 27, 2012 - 5:04 am

There is just nothing in my West Coast-U.S.A. neck 'o the woods, unless they're behind gates for the rest of us not to see, that remotely looks like this beautiful, elegant home and grounds. You captured it perfectly in your photo essay. I love what's underfoot, perhaps pea gravel or crushed seashells. Again, the whole place is sublime, understated elegance. Europe does it best. Such a treat to view; thank you for sharing.

Sue J. July 27, 2012 - 1:56 pm

stunning photography of a truly beautiful and tranquil place.

Kim July 27, 2012 - 4:20 pm

My husband an I are trying to get to France this fall as you know! And your blog has become my travel guide! We have exhausted The standard travel guides and I am calling our trip … Sharon's Guide too France! Thank you for all you have introduced us to!

Kim July 27, 2012 - 4:21 pm

My husband an I are trying to get to France this fall as you know! And your blog has become my travel guide! We have exhausted The standard travel guides and I am calling our trip … Sharon's Guide too France! Thank you for all you have introduced us to!

carolyn bradford July 28, 2012 - 4:26 am

When we were traveling through France we stayed two nights at The Bastide Rose…is this anywhere near that? It's been several years since we've been but it was glorious! We loved every minute of it and I know we would love this too!!

Peggy Cox February 18, 2014 - 5:19 pm

Makes me think of the poet’s words:
“If eyes are made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for being.”

Maha October 21, 2018 - 9:18 am

I must say the same of the angles of the house appears that the house is leaning in upon itself. WOW!!! maybe someday you can give tips on how you get the “story” of each pic to show thur so effortlessly. I really enjoy that you post every day. it gets me up and going, thank you


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