get the look … summer entertaining outside the french way

by Sharon Santoni

french cafÉ terrace

August is the time to be outside in France. The cities are largely empty and the countryside is all about  summer entertaining on terraces, in gardens and in the shade of trees.

blue and black chic in the garden

As we move around we spend time on the terraces of bistros and small restaurants, an aperitif with friends, a coffee after the market shop …. and while at home entertaining outside is one of my favorite ways to reconnect with friends or get the whole family together for a dinner.

Here are some of my favourites for entertaining outdoors , French style.


Find these and similar pieces for your home & garden from US based retailers:

Beige umbrella here, round black table here, black bistro chair here and blue striped pillows here

Red Breakfast Cup & Saucer Set hereRustic White Lanterns herePatio Umbrellas hereFolding Metal Bistro Chairs here,  outdoor pillows here, red metal Table here.


You can find more bistro patio furniture in the US here.





Taste of France August 24, 2016 - 4:57 pm

Cute selection! In our region of France, the wind can be pretty strong. It’s mostly welcome, because it’s hot. But our parasols kept getting blown over. We built a pergola, which has the added benefit of giving us a way to hang roll-up/down shades, so folks facing west don’t have the setting sun right in their eyes. The shades also keep the table area much cooler. We have bamboo on top–it gives shade while letting the air circulate. The pergola has low stone walls, which creates a kind of outdoor dining room. Everybody who comes loves it.

Emily August 24, 2016 - 5:22 pm

Sounds wonderful!

Kaye August 24, 2016 - 5:35 pm

Taste of France . . . This sounds absolutely blissful to me, as I love the heat but not the direct sun when I am outside.

Our French Oasis August 24, 2016 - 5:58 pm

There is nothing I love more than living here in France, especially in the summer. As we are close to the coast our towns are buzzing too, but everyone is always happy. Restaurants are overflowing, it’s fun to join in, but it’s also fantastic to eat on the terrace at home with friends, sitting until long after the sun has gone down, chatting, enjoying the warm night air. Pure heaven!

Marilyn August 24, 2016 - 6:08 pm

Love French Bistro style. I have three old tables and chairs and people all the time ask to buy them.

Deborah August 24, 2016 - 6:14 pm

Sounds enchanting! Here in the southern most part of Illinois, it has been so hot and humid that we cannot even use out beautiful pergola my husband built. Nothing would sound or be more lovely to dine outdoors for dinner and not be in an oven or overrun by mosquitoes! I would love to try the French style! It would certainly be welcome but just is not the right time! I love all of your posts Sharon and I am planning one day to go on one of your trips! They sound like my bucket list for sure! Have a blessed day! Keep up your wonderful pics and posts! Smiles, Deb

Taste of France August 24, 2016 - 6:52 pm

Can you enclose it with screens? Some friends in the Midwest did that–all the fresh air without the bugs. We don’t have mosquitos, so it isn’t an issue.

Dottie Monta August 24, 2016 - 9:29 pm

Deborah: Here in Pennsylvania, when it is hot and humid, we find that running a fan keeps the mosquitoes away–they hate the fast-moving air! We also burn pretty torches filled w/citonella. A stand of lavender joins our patio to the terrace (also a deterrent).
The French style is indeed the loveliest: linens, baskets, wire serving pieces, a chandelier laden w/greenery. No harsh colors anywhere!
Is is any wonder we are so fond of Sharon’s choices and inspiration!

Lindy August 24, 2016 - 6:29 pm

Sharon, please tell – where is the Bar Chez Fanfan?

Linda Patton August 25, 2016 - 4:39 am

Thank you!!

Sharon Santoni August 24, 2016 - 11:04 pm

Hi Lindy

The bar is at Ampus, a tiny village in the hills


Linda Patton August 25, 2016 - 4:39 am

Thanks, Sharon!

pamela lepage August 24, 2016 - 9:14 pm

Sounds like your having an awesome time enjoying summer!!!
Have a great day!!

Linda Cook August 25, 2016 - 1:10 am

All sounds so lovely to hear you are all enjoying summer, its still winter here in Australia and its been a cold one for us in the west. September is when it starts to warm and I’m so looking forward to sitting outside again. We have a lovely outdoor area with new furniture we have yet to use. Bring on Spring

Terra August 25, 2016 - 1:20 am

I like the name of that cafe. I spent many days in Paris in cafes over the course of 6 months. I do have an umbrella table on our patio and lots of plants, the umbrella is green, a restful color.

Darina August 25, 2016 - 6:55 am

I love the French bistro style and I am dreaming about my own French house where I can put it and enjoy!

Botanic Bleu August 25, 2016 - 7:43 am

My sister and I are headed to France next week, and I can hardly wait to have our first meal at a sidewalk cafe in Paris!


Deb September 8, 2016 - 6:22 am


I have been trying to set up an area in our backyard for some time now that has a French feel and look. I have some pale green/blue paint that I plan on painting on a couple of chairs and a table, then I will add a garden nearby.It wont be a bistro look, more French garden. Can anyone suggest the best colors for the paint?



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