my stylish french girlfriends – Cécile

by Sharon Santoni
It’s been a while since I  introduced you to one of my stylish french girlfriends.  Today I am especially pleased to present to you Cécile;  a girl after my own heart.  Living in the countryside, putting her family first, and living as creatively as she can.
I first met Cécile this summer when I walked into her gorgeous boutique and brocante: Chez Nous Campagne.  It’s amazing that I even found her; she is out in the middle of the countryside, miles from anywhere, and suddenly HOP!  there’s a barn packed full of amazingly beautiful furniture and treasure.

In her store Cécile combines brocante with new designer pieces, and particularly likes to showcase the furniture and accessories of local craftsmen.

 She also has a delightfully light-hearted approach to taxidermy!
Visitors to her shop can also pause to enjoy her little teashop.  Here she serves an amazing range of teas and fabulous home made cakes, and if you ask nicely she serves an outstanding brunch!
This week,  Cécile invited me to lunch with her and her husband, in their lovely homely kitchen.  Cécile’s husband, Franck, works as a writer and photographer, specialising in cookbooks, so you can imagine that the meal was fantastic!
As we chatted before lunch, and I clicked away on my camera, Cécile laid the table and quickly made her tiny signature chocolate fondant cakes to accompany our coffee at the end of meal.

 In true French style, she is very slim even though she spends so much time baking cakes and testing recipes for her husband’s books!

 I loved the fact that we had lunch in the kitchen; the hub of the family home.  As we ate a delicious onion pastilla with a simple salad, followed by this pretty pear charlotte, our conversation wandered from  raising a family in the countryside; to the pros and cons of living in Paris; to children and their music bands, to training naughty dogs to raising chickens …. you know,  the essentials!
In the middle of lunch Cécile’s mail was delivered …. through her kitchen window …. that’s country life for you!
Their home is colourful and fun, furnished tastefully with a mix of vintage and designer pieces  alongside antique paintings.  A home designed for comfortable living, for Cécile, Frank and their boys, with always an open door to friends.
Had to love how their sweet dog Fifties, blends into the colour scheme so perfectly!

And the big bonus to Cécile’s lovely home is that she has a guest house, which she charmingly calls the chicken coop.



Positioned in the garden; the only sound that guests can hear is the gently cot-cot-cot of the chickens at the other end of the yard!


So if one day you find yourself near La Ferté Vidame in La Perche, then I suggest that you knock at Cécile’s door, visit her store, taste her cakes and if you want to stay a little longer in the area then why not book yourself into her chicken coop!



Francesca Meazza Passionedeco December 7, 2012 - 2:52 pm

Oh good gravy Sharon! You have the most amazing, talented, chic friends in the World!!
And look at that kitchen and that charlotte….mmmmm!

I love the fact you talked about those essentials, really love that!!!! Lol!


French Girl in Seattle December 7, 2012 - 2:53 pm

Cécile… It was wonderful to meet your friend, Sharon. I have always loved that first name, and have a couple of friends named Cécile too… French hospitality is alive and well, and that is a comforting thought… You both live in a beautiful part of France… Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

carolyn bradford December 7, 2012 - 3:18 pm

Loved this post and got a real feel for life in the countryside of Normandy! I truly remember it looking just like you've shown here…I almost wonder if we stopped by her shop? I would have to get out our itinerary! Anyway, thanks for sharing this! It was beautiful!

michele December 7, 2012 - 3:19 pm

ok, sharon. you have reached in and squeezed my heart with this post. it's such a lovely engaging tribute that has stirred up all my senses. i want to join you! how heavenly to savor the delectable baked goodness surrounded by so much beauty and creativity. it truly speaks of a life i would like to live.

seriously swooning, and if cecile has a blog/site/fan club, sign me up immediately.



Noelle December 7, 2012 - 3:25 pm

Cecile, the dessert cake at the bottom of the page is stunning. It's only 6:20am and the mouth is watering and I'm thinking, what IS that cream on the inside…Bavarian? And mail delivery through the window. A beautiful, country life, indeed. Tres fab! Noelle Steele

Blondie's Journal December 7, 2012 - 3:30 pm

What a wonderful friend you have here, Sharon. Very stylish indeed, it shows in her beautiful home and her cooking and baking! What a delicious lunch. Even her chickens are beautiful!


Splenderosa December 7, 2012 - 3:43 pm

What a lovely day this must have been. Meeting new friends is the absolute best. So happy you shared your experience, Sharon. MERRY CHRISTMAS !!

The Blue Farmhouse December 7, 2012 - 4:05 pm

This just goes to show you that no matter where you are in the world style…beauty…good food…welcoming friends….and of course, always a touch of "blue" (Cecile's beautifully wrapper scarce) is never out of style!

MaidofKent December 7, 2012 - 4:12 pm

Absolutely charming. the whole post was great-except all that we need is the recipe for pear charlotte!

Tara Dillard December 7, 2012 - 4:20 pm

The irony is, those are the ESSENTIALS!

When go inward we outwardly connect.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Amy December 7, 2012 - 4:43 pm

What a magical place! Thank you for sharing.

I could move into that chicken coop and be perfectly happy!

La Dolfina December 7, 2012 - 4:50 pm

It is such a treat to live vicariously through you, thank you!!!

kuzicka December 7, 2012 - 4:58 pm

c'est tout beau ♥

salutations des montagnes suisses … juzicka

ivana December 7, 2012 - 4:59 pm

I feel like I have been at Cecile's with you! Nice time you have spent together! That kind of moments are real blessings!

Very stylish friend with gorgeous house and lifestyle!

vicki archer December 7, 2012 - 5:02 pm

What a beautiful home she has… and that dog, 'Fifties' is just the cutest… xv

Anonymous December 7, 2012 - 5:12 pm

Absolutely beautiful! Does she have an online brocante?

Merry Christmas to your family!
Robyn Huff

Kristie Franklin December 7, 2012 - 5:19 pm


I so enjoyed this post. Cecile is a wonderful friend and has a beautiful home and "chicken coop". Ha She is a very beautiful and talented lady. I'd love to know her secret on staying trim while living with her husband the chef! Love Fifties! 🙂

Have a great weekend! 🙂

hostess of the humble bungalow December 7, 2012 - 5:28 pm

She looks beautiful and I love her place!
How lovely that you have become friends and can enjoy each others company over a delicious looking lunch in a fabulous home!

Anonymous December 7, 2012 - 5:37 pm

Ah, Sharon, How I love your blog! One request? I noticed the lovely snow times out on the front page of the blog, but as I explore the other pages (which I LOVE!!) it bogs my system down. Is that fixable? Thank you for all the lovelies here. This is my favorite blog ever!!

Stacey Snacks December 7, 2012 - 6:00 pm

Love it all!
Cecile, the food, her home, her pets, her shop! You have the coolest friends!
I love your fashionista friend posts the best.

Cathi December 7, 2012 - 7:37 pm

Your friend and her place sound delightful!

Today's Treasure by Jen December 7, 2012 - 8:06 pm

Sharon, I think the two of you are cut from the same cloth. Have placed Cecile on my list for our next visit. Her shop looks right up my alley and their home looks lovely… I love all the clocks in her kitchen. Yet another wonderful post- thank you!

Mary Palumbo Collings December 7, 2012 - 8:19 pm

It all looks so special and beautiful!!!
Ciao for now…

Scarlett December 7, 2012 - 8:41 pm

Cecile's pooch Fifties is Adorable 😀 A new friend for Ghetto and Gibson perhaps? Those terriers remind me of Tin Tin's dog Milou (Snowy).

PURA VIDA December 7, 2012 - 10:24 pm

Cecile is lovely..those chickens are just adorable

Eleanor December 8, 2012 - 1:01 am

Isn't it the best to meet kindred spirits unexpectedly like that? What a lovely shop and home – a woman of true taste!

Linda C. December 8, 2012 - 1:32 am

Hi Sharon…I really enjoy these posts on "meeting your lovely friends". They are indeed lovely,and it's great to get a little peak inside a real home.
thank you…and , how DO the French women stay so slim?

Vicki December 8, 2012 - 2:50 am

Can "charming" even really define such a way of living? You're killing me, Sharon! Now we know of TWO wonderful guest cottages, yours and that of your friend's. Normandy is definitely on the bucket list. Isn't her simply-laid table beautiful? As is she…and, yes, French women, but many others who are fine cooks/chefs, often seem to be the thin girls…which must be attributed to the concentration on the creativity and not the temptation of the aromas wafting through their kitchens!

The enchanted home December 8, 2012 - 3:00 am

Wow what charm! elegance! and beauty abounds here..your stylish friend looked like she was enjoying every moment and I love seeing that, of course you know what they say…to have a good a friend you have to be a good friend, and I bet you are a wonderful friend Sharon! Loved this post and missed your stylish friends:)

Amelia December 8, 2012 - 4:38 am

Thank you for introducing us to your lovely friend Sharon. She has a nice home and great kitchen. Any place that delivers the mail through the window is my kind of place. Easy living and yet gracious and elegant.

xx Amelia

Pat December 8, 2012 - 6:13 am

You make the best friends! Elegant, even the fluffy chickens.

chanteusevca December 8, 2012 - 7:14 am

Lovely post! What amazing fun it would be to wander into her lovely shop and decide to book her chicken coop for the night. Thank you for sharing and thank you to Cecile for opening her lovely home to us to see how she lives and works. Those chickens are beautiful!

Sarah Malone, European Farmhouse Charm December 8, 2012 - 8:32 am

Such a charming place Sharon and just my style too:) Another great shop to add to your list. You and your friends…all lovely and creative women. I love it! And that cake looks fabulous.
Hugs to you,

kat December 8, 2012 - 12:08 pm

Une belle promenade autour de l'amitié…
Joli décor et une ambiance des plus agréables où tout y est !
A bientôt
Kat (le chat peint vert)

Nantucket Daffodil December 8, 2012 - 1:09 pm

I have decided I am meant to live in France! These women you introduce us to…their homes, their shops, their talents, their lives… is all so real, no pretenses…rustic and lovely! I'll be over on the next flight!

sheepyhollow December 8, 2012 - 2:20 pm

What fun! Will your dear friend share her onion pastilla recipe? Her silkie chickens are beautiful…as my chickens are all moulting at the present time! I love her whimsical decorating style and will incorporate a few of her ideas (shamelessly)…and your new 'winter' banner captures the season beautifully!

I don't always comment, but enjoy my visits with you tremendously!

LA CONTESSA December 8, 2012 - 6:03 pm

LOVE IT!Would love to come for a stay and a HUNT with YOU!Happy Holidays!Your home is so beautiful in the snow………….well, anytime!I'm totally jealous of your LIFE!Please keep sharing!XXX

helen tilston December 8, 2012 - 6:06 pm

Hello Sharon

What a perfect oasis in the midst of the bautiful countryside. Cecile's hospitality and style make staying at the chicken coupe very tempting.


Dianelady December 9, 2012 - 6:59 am

I absolutely loved visiting with Cecile and seeing inside her beautiful home. She looks a very contented woman.. Charming is a good word to use is it not? I have never visist your blog before nor have I ever been to Normandy but this has given me a taste for just such a trip.. Who knows? I am looking forward to searching through your site as I am sure I will be delighted with everything you write about. Thank you and thank Cecile for allowing you to take such fabulous photos.. Her cooking is very yummy looking too.. Truly a sweet intimate look into her life.. Very nice.. Merry Christmas to you Sharon, your family and to Cecile's family too..

teri December 10, 2012 - 12:30 pm

I enjoyed this post very much. What type of dog is that? I think French chickens look much fancier than their American counterparts!

david terry December 10, 2012 - 4:40 pm

You7r friend, Cecile, is indeed effortlessly (or so it seems) lovely.

The chickens and that dog, however and by contrast, look like trouble…..

—–david terry

Debra December 10, 2012 - 8:39 pm

The rabbit…gotta love the rabbit.

Leslie December 11, 2012 - 3:40 am

I wouldn't believe how wonderful this experience was if I hadn't seen!! Charming! Inspiring!–As your posts often are.

sharon santoni at my french country home December 12, 2012 - 1:15 am

Thank you for pointing this out, I can't answer you directly because you are 'anon'. I have looked into the problem, but can't find a solution yet.

Betsy February 17, 2013 - 11:56 pm

I am glad I found this post and can't believe I missed this one. Love reading about your Stylish Friends. Cecile is beautiful and I want to know how one can cook such wonderful dishes and stay so slim and trim.
What a compliment to be asked to dine in ones kitchen. Great looking onion patilla, can almost taste it.
The rabbit is great.
Happy Sunday

Jillian Hardie April 22, 2020 - 1:09 am

Wonderful post! Is there any chance of Pastilla receipt, amazing beautiful lady xx


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