french country table scapes – domaine de primard

by Sharon Santoni

Bonjour from Normandy! not that far from my home, where I visit the Domaine de Primard, and share with you the first in our new series of French Country Table Scapes.

As you may know, I love to entertain, and for me a large part of a successful dinner is the care that goes into the table scape. A pretty table is more than just flatware and flowers, it is a message to my guests, “You’re welcome. I’m glad you’re here, let’s enjoy this meal together.

Here at home we always lay the table with care, choosing the right elements for the meal ahead, sometimes creating a seating plan if the table is big. And then there are the flowers. Be it individual stems in tiny glass vases, or an intricate mix of flowers and maybe even fruit down the centre, I always aim to create a floral decoration in keeping with the seasons and the occasion.

So in this new season of French Country Table Scapes, I shall be visiting with friends to see how they like to lay their own tables. This may include dinners in private homes in the middle of the country side, or more formal settings for grand occasions. The fun is in the diversity.

For this first episode, I visit Guillaume Foucher, who has recently opened a stunning luxury hotel and gourmet restaurant, close to me in Normandy. The beautiful Domaine de Primard, just an hours from Paris, was originally built in the 18th century as a leisure abode for a Parisian family. They chose a prime position on the river’s edge in the heart of the valley de l’Eure.

Unusually the chateau is surrounded by a moat, not because it needed to defend itself, but rather as a safety barrier should ever the adjacent river break its banks. I love the design of the moat walls, with their round recesses creating perfect oval reflecions in the water below.

Before Guillaume Foucher and his partner Frédéric Biousse purchased the chateau, it was the private home to Catherine Deneuve. Within easy reach of Paris, she often spent time here with family and friends. This new chapter in the chateau’s existence as a luxury hotel, obviously required a major renovation, but the Fontenille team are used to that. This is not their first rodeo.

Primard has taken its place as the latest jewel in the Fontenille crown, which already included properties in Provence and South West France. The common theme to the venues is well-being with simple elegance.

Here is a short video of the table I created in the private dining room at Primard, I hope you may also get to visit one day.

We’ll soon bring you another video and tablescape, thank you for reading!


Suz December 9, 2021 - 9:09 pm

So beautiful, hopefully l can visit when we are free to travel to France next time❤️

Kathryn Gauci December 9, 2021 - 11:59 pm

Inspiring, Sharon. Thank you.

robert December 10, 2021 - 12:08 am


Beautiful tablescape d’automne. Your dahlias are lovely and such warm fallish tones. Thank you!

Marianna Chryst December 10, 2021 - 12:56 am

Just lovely

Lorrie Orr December 10, 2021 - 4:26 am

Just lovely!

Cynthia December 10, 2021 - 7:10 am

What a wonderful new series. Inspiration on a “do-able level” is always welcomed inside my little space of this universe. This tablescape exhibits simplicity, beauty, and elegance – VERY do-able! Thank you, Sharon.

Melissa Walker December 10, 2021 - 8:48 am

I would love to sit down at this table – so welcoming & lovely. And I’ll be pinching a couple of ideas for my Christmas table(s). Thank you!

Mary Beth Haviland December 10, 2021 - 10:36 am

So lovely! I love your floral designs! It is so inspiring how you create the perfect look with the beautiful place settings. I can’t wait to use your ideas for our home and I can’t wait to visit this beautiful venue. ❤️Thank you

Renae December 10, 2021 - 1:08 pm

So lovely!

chris December 10, 2021 - 2:42 pm

Looking forward to this series. Just loved it, thank you.

I also was wondering if you are writing any more stories. I really enjoyed the last one you put out.

Nan Litchfield December 10, 2021 - 10:04 pm

Loved France I was there with heritage roses in 2007

Jeanne Henriques December 11, 2021 - 11:50 pm

Thinking back to your comment Sharon at our Tahilla Gatherings event…what a gift it is, for guests, to set a beautiful table. Making them feel at home and welcome. I look forward to this table scape series. about that donkey! Pressed the linen mats and napkins from your latest box this morning…just love them! Jeanne xx

Mrs. Laura Susan Bamberg Gideon December 14, 2021 - 8:58 pm

Sharon, thank you for sharing these beautiful ideas! What is your advice for small tables? We live in a cozy little home, and have a kitchen table that seats four, as well as a dining table that seats four. When I entertain, I invite (usually) another couple only. In warm weather, of course, we can eat outside with more space by the pool. But during the winter, I need ideas for simple tablescapes. I would love your help (and anyone else’s!)

Emm December 16, 2021 - 11:54 pm

Fairly early on, you did a number of articles about people in your area who were creatives — furniture restorers, small decorators, stylists, and so on. More of those would combine beautifully with a series on table settings.


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