Rustic French Stone Inspiration & French Lesson

Holy hydrangea fireworks, Batman! Isn’t this display stunning!?! For a short break from interior inspiration, today we’ll peek at Rustic French Stone Inspiration from crumbly, ancient (or should I say ancien?) exteriors with climbing vines and blooming lovelies in Northwestern France.

We will also consider a list of French terms relating to the dreamy stuff we are drawn to: homes, architecture, and interiors.

Pink hydrangea thriving in Brittany, France. #pinkhydrangea #rusticstone #frenchcountry #Brittany

Rustic French Stone Inspiration.

Images: Ma Maison a la Francaise

Stone & Garden Inspiration

The inspiring images are from a photographer I connected with behind the delightful, “everyday beauty” journal, Ma Maison à La Française. She is French and living in Northwestern France. In her words:

“I blog about my meandering journey in France and in the United Kingdom. I love travels and I blog for people just like me who love magic old stones and wild landscapes. On the menu: French châteaux, castles & cottages, quaint villages, windswept and rugged coastlines, lochs, landscapes.”

Old stones? Wild landscapes? Hello, Lovely!

What a pleasure to welcome to this space, the fruits of her eye for beauty and her beloved French countryside.

The French Lesson

As for the glossary terms (scroll way down) related to French houses, interiors, and design…my French is not so good, and we are often exploring French influences here. After finding some help on Chateau Domingue’s site, I searched a bit more for home-related vocabulary. Feel free to enlighten me with more.

BTW. While not French in origin, the word that kept springing to mind as I devoured these images of old stone buildings was: patina. 

Patina: The natural aging of the stone surface through oxidation and other exposures that enhance the color and texture of the surface.

Do the French have descriptive terms related to ‘patina?’ The Italians began using the word in the 17th century to refer to the green film developing on the surface of copper. Later, it was used to describe surface appearances of objects growing beautiful with age. Patina can even describe someone’s vibe.

I found this bit somewhere online: She carries the patina of old money and good breeding. (I’m afraid the patina carried by moi  is decidedly more Kraft dinner and public school! What patina do you carry?)

I promise I will end this word-nerd geekfest.

Let’s see the French countryside lovely.

B u t  f i r s t.

A Brief Diversion to the UK

I sort of drifted into a trance viewing images on the Ma Maison à La Française page, where these shots were shared of Highclere Castle (of Downton Abbey fame) decorated for Christmas…is it too soon to be thinking about Christmas decor? And did you know filming of the Downton Abbey movie will begin next month at the castle?

If you would like to discover an enchanting blog full of grace…do visit Lady Carnarvon, a gifted writer who lives in the castle and has authored this beautiful book!

Christmas in a Castle

2015 Highclere castle tree. It is the main filming location for the British television period drama Downton Abbey. — at Highclere Castle.

Highclere castle – Christmas 2015.

The fireplace in the Salon Gallery in Highclere castle, the main filming location for the British television period drama Downton Abbey. — at Highclere Castle.

Christmas tree at Highclere castle – 2015.

A view on the Salon Gallery from upstairs in Highclere castle, the main filming location for the British television period drama Downton Abbey. The gallery walls are decorated in ancient Flemish tapestries and the crest you see all around the gallery is that of the Carnarvon family. — at Highclere Castle.

Downton Abbey film location – Highclere castle.

The most impressive main staircase in Highclere castle, the main filming location for the British television period drama Downton Abbey. — at Highclere Castle.

Christmas decorations – Highclere castle – 2015.

The saloon in the Gallery from the entry hall in Highclere castle, the main filming location for the British television period drama Downton Abbey. — at Highclere Castle.

Highclere castle – main filming location of Downton Abbey.

Highclere Castle, the main filming location for the British television period drama Downton Abbey. — at Highclere Castle.

At Highclere castle.

The most impressive main staircase in Highclere castle, the main filming location for the British television period drama Downton Abbey. — at Highclere Castle.

Magnificent staircase at Highclere castle.

Highclere Castle, the main filming location for the British television period drama Downton Abbey. — at Highclere Castle.

Wintry lovely.

Wow! Okay. Now we’ll shift gears, head to Brittany, and experience rustic French inspiration.

Rustic French Stone Inspiration

Close-up on the lovely doorstep of the house down a pathway in Rochefort-en-Terre, Brittany France.

Old Stones & Gardens

Navy blue doors on a charming French country stone exterior .Rochefort-en-Terre, Brittany France. #frenchcountry #stone #exterior #bluedoors #ivy #climbingvines

Geraniums spilling from pots on a stone building in Brittany, France. #frenchcountry #stone #exterior #geranium

Vibrant pink hydrangea blooming in Brittan, France with a stone country house. #frenchcountry #stone #hydrangea #Brittany


Would you be willing to click a box to cast a vote for me?

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Amara interior blog awards 2018...nominated blog.

Vote for me RIGHT HERE.

Grand Christmas tree in Brittany, France at a chateau. #french #chateau #christmastree #Brittany #holidaydecor

You might wonder what is this stone way in the middle of the alley? It is a legacy of the middle ages when the gutter was in the middle of the streets and would carry the rainwater as well as the garbage and... the waste water of all kind

Rustic stone house in Brittany, France. #rustic #stone #houseexterior #frenchcountry

Ancient stone home in Brittany, France with staircase and wild garden! #frenchcountry #stone #exterior #climbingvines #wildgarden

Rustic stone exterior of antique shop in Brittany, France. #rustic #stone #exterior #France

Charming green bistro chair and table in Brittany, France. Rustic stone and lush greenery. #frenchcountry #bistrochair #rustic #stone

One of my favourite buildings of Rochefort-en-Terre, Brittany France, and my favourite antiques shop.

Lush greenery around rustic white doors in Brittany, France. #frenchcountry #exterior #inspiration

16th century home I had a crush on in Rochefort-en-Terre, Brittany France. I really loved these charming stairs covered with such pretty flowers... and this door, these windows and these roses..

Rustic stone exterior of a charming building in Brittany, France. Hydrangea and lush plantings. #frenchcountry #stoneexterior #rustic #france

Ancient rustic stone house exterior in Brittany, France. #stonehouse #rustic #exterior #oldworld #france #frenchcountry

Design Glossary

 Glossary Terms: Chateau Domingue , French Property, French Luxury , Complete France

Ancien: Old.

Atelier: Workshop or studio, especially of an artist, artisan or designer; originally from 14th century Old French atelier, referring to a carpenter’s workshop piled with wood.

Appartement: Flat/apartment.

Balcon: Balcony.

Bars: A term used in southern France referring to slabs of rectangular limestone usually laid in a running bond pattern. Originally cut to uniform sizes in order to span the floor joists.

Bastide: A bastide is a local name for a manor house in Provence, in the south of France, located in the countryside or in a village, and originally occupied by a wealthy farmer. It was larger and more elegant than the farmhouse called a mas and was square or rectangular, with a tile roof, walls of stone sometimes covered with stucco or whitewashed, and often was built in a square around a courtyard. In the 19th and 20th centuries, many bastides were used as summer houses by  wealthy citizens of Marseille.

Bibelot: Small object of curiosity, beauty or rarity.

Bois: Wood.

Boiserie: Woodwork.

Bon état: Good condition.

Bouchard: The bouchard is a hammer with many points like a meat tenderizer and especially effective for finishing the surface of harder stones.

Bureau: Office.

Cabriole: Legs which curve out from the seat & inward toward the foot in an S shape.

Campagne: Country.

Canapé: Sofa.

Chambres d’hôtes: Guesthouse, B&B.

Chambre: Bedroom.

Charentaise: Stone house found throughout Poitou-Charentes.

Château: French stately home, sometimes part of a wine-producing estate.

Château fort: Castle (fortified).

Chaumière: A French cottage, thatched cottage or “petite maison.”

Chêne: Oak.

Chinoiserie: Style of ornamentation chiefly from the mid-17th to mid-18th century in Europe, then revived during the Regency (1811-1820), characterized by intricate patterns and an extensive use of motifs identified as Chinese. Currently, it is a style of decorative or fine art based on imitations of Chinese motifs.

Comble: Attic.

Cour: Courtyard or yard.

Credence: Small table or sideboard.

Cuisine: Kitchen.

Dalles: Square and rectangular stones laid in an opus romain, or seemingly random pattern.

Dépendance: Outbuilding.

Domaine: Estate.

Écurie: Stable.

Escalier:  Stair.

Espagnolette: Shutter.

Évier: Kitchen sink.

not French but helpful…Fattoria: A term for a large farmer estate in and around Tuscany.

Ferme, corps de ferme: Farmhouse/farmstead.

Fermette: Small farmhouse.

Foyer: Fireplace.

Gîte: Holiday cottage.

Grange: Barn.

Grenier: Attic.

Jardin: Garden.

Jardinière: Plant container.

Longère: Long, rectangular house common in Brittany and Normandy.

Maçon: Builder.

Maison à colombages: Half-timbered house.

Maison de campagne: Country house.

Maison de maître: Mansion or manor, usually in a town or village (literally ‘master’s house’).

Maison de ville: Town house.

Manoir: Manor, usually in the country.

Mas: Traditional farmhouse in the Provence region of France. A mas was a largely self-sufficient economic unit, which could produce its own fruit, vegetables, grain, milk, meat and even floor. Usually constructed of local stone, the kitchen and room for animals was on the ground floor, and bedrooms, storage places for food and often a room for raising silkworms on the upper floor. Not every farmhouse in Provence is a mas. A mas was distinct from the other traditional kind of house, the bastide, which was the home of a wealthy family.

Marquise: Porch.

Monument historique: Listed building.

Moulin: Mill.

Moulure: Moulding.

Mur: Wall.

Objet d’art: Means literally “art object”, or an object of artistic worth or curiosity, especially a small object. It therefore covers a wide range of works, usually small and three-dimensional, of high quality and finish, in areas of the decorative arts.

Papier peint: Wallpaper.

Parefeuille: Terracotta rectangular tiles originally used to line ceilings between beams, now reclaimed and also used for flooring.

Pavillon: Bungalow.

Pièce: Room.

Pigeonnier: Dovecote.

Plain-pied: Single storey.

Plâtre: Plaster.

Prieuré: Priory.

Rénover: To renovate.

Restaurer: To restore.

Séjour: Living room.

Trumeau: Decorative treatment used over mirrors, windows, doors or mantels. Used often in Louis XV & Louis XVI periods.

Vignoble: Vineyard.

Close-up on the lovely doorstep of the house down a pathway in Rochefort-en-Terre, Brittany France.

Did you know many of these design terms? I must admit, I didn’t even know a grenier was an attic even though I have experienced the wonder of shopping vide greniers (“empty attic” sales) in Paris!

French Laundry Basket
Rustic French Country Cabinet
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
Rustic French Farmhouse Table
French Country Sideboard
French Country Headboard
French Country Stencil With Bee
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Linen & Oak Settee
Linen & Burlap Tufted Ottoman
French Grey Side Table
French Blue Antiqued 4-Drawer Cabinet
Weathered 4-Door French Cabinet – 71″
French Linen Accent Chair
French Country Wing Chair
French Louis Style Arm Chair
Teak 3 Leg Stool
French Linen Upholstered Dining Chair
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Linen Slipcovered Dining Chair, Set of 2
Louis Upholstered Bench
French Country Sofa
Pamela Arm Chair
Weathered Arm Chair
Rustic Wood Candleholders
Aged Terracotta Pots
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair Set of 2
Galvanized Console Table
French Farmhouse Dining Table
30″ Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Antiqued French Lamp
Light Grey Rattan Chair
French Country Altar Candlestick
French Industrial Metal Cafe Chair (Set of 2)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Linen Curved Loveseat
White Farmhouse Lantern Pendant Light
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
French Country Loveseat
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Oak Accent Stool
Rustic Ring 12-Light Chandelier
French Upholstered Gray Bench
Jute ARea Rug
French Candle Style Chandelier
Swedish Writing Desk
French Linen Sofa
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Parisian Glass Bottle Vase
Magnus Table Lamp
Spindle Leg Upholstered Bench
Modern Farmhouse Lamp
White Slipcovered Sofa
Tufted Headboard
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Aged White Writing Desk
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Grainsack Stripe Armchair
Fireclay Farm Sink
Striped Dress Form
Elm rustic stool
Matelasse Coverlet
Quilted Coverlet
Grey Bistro Set
60″ Round Pedestal Dining Table
Scrubbed Look Wood Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
French Country Chandelier
Rustic Rectangle Farm Table
Teak Farmhouse Stool

Do LIKE and visit Ma Maison a la Francaise for more rustic French country inspiration!

 Peace to you right where you are.


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  1. August 14, 2018 / 10:39 pm

    OMG, you are unbelievable. So much work to create a blog post like this, I know !!!
    Hydrangea love X10 !!

    Thank you thank you thank you !!!

    • michele
      August 15, 2018 / 12:21 pm

      Oh, friend, I’m just muddling through – truly! Those hydrangea blow me away, and put mine to such shame!!! Your energy is so lovely and buoyant – thank you for taking the time to visit here. 🙂

  2. Sara LeSueur
    August 15, 2018 / 3:57 am

    Your patina is peaceful and lovely indeed!!

    • michele
      August 15, 2018 / 12:20 pm

      Merci – that is so kind to say! 🙂

  3. Teresa C.
    August 15, 2018 / 4:15 am

    Oh! My goodness. You have done it again. I am inspired by such beauty, dignity. Thank you.

    • michele
      August 15, 2018 / 12:19 pm

      Music to my ears, friend! I wish I had more time for research – there are all these amazing sources of French country authentic lovely that I may never discover…:)

  4. Dominic Primato
    August 15, 2018 / 4:31 am

    Strangely in English the spelling of the city is “Marseilles” and in French “Marseille”. I think the one ending in “S” would be appropriate form in your text. I only remember this because I was scolded for the error in French 101 many years ago.

    • michele
      August 15, 2018 / 12:18 pm

      Thanks so much! I will look at my post and try to make the correction. Thank you for reading and taking care of this hopeless foreign language student…ha!

  5. Connie
    August 15, 2018 / 12:00 pm

    Yes, I have been following her FB for quite awhile and correspond with her frequently. Her photos are absolutely wonderful! Thanks for sharing more.

    • michele
      August 15, 2018 / 12:17 pm

      How cool is that!?! She has an awesome following, and I’m so glad to find her. Please direct me to any kindred spirits who you would like to see spotlighted here or who you think we would enjoy hearing about! xox

  6. Gail
    August 15, 2018 / 2:17 pm

    A “vide grenier” is, literally, an “attic empty”. People “empty their attics” and sell the items they no longer want.

    Similarly, a “vide poche” is a “pocket empty”…a little tray to put things in when you empty your pocket.

    French is fun! Thanks for reminding me of so many good times I had there, over so many years!

    • michele
      August 15, 2018 / 3:12 pm

      Thank you for educating this peasant! I loved shopping the vide greniers in Paris!!!

  7. August 15, 2018 / 9:27 pm

    You got my vote, talented friend! Beautiful post today, the crumbly, aging stone houses are so inspiring to me. I love the texture and patina. Also thanks for the Downton Abbey memories and French lesson ❤️

    • michele
      August 15, 2018 / 9:29 pm

      Shucks! It would be such an honor to get to the short list. Thanks for your loyal readership and constant support – you are such a blessing to me. xox

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