Bonjour readers! I’m excited to share my latest décor obsession – the charming, rustic style of French country tableware. In this post, I’ll explore the key elements that make up this cozy tabletop aesthetic and provide plenty of shopping inspiration to help you bring a touch of Provence into your own dining room.
French country style is all about creating a relaxed, farmhouse vibe with vintage-inspired porcelain, earthenware dishes, and antique-looking flatware. The colors tend to be warm and earthy, featuring rich cream, beige, and almond hues. Aged, distressed finishes give the impression that these pieces have been passed down through generations. Designs often incorporate pastoral scenes, fruits, florals, and scalloped or intricate borders.
Whether you’re a Francophile looking to design an authentic French-inspired space or you simply want to infuse a bit of European farmhouse chic into your kitchen, this post will cover every piece you need to master the French country tablescape.
French Country Table and Dinnerware Sets
Here are some classic examples of French country style tableware:
- White porcelain dishes with scalloped edges or subtle floral patterns. French country dining often features all-white dishes or white dishes with small blue, green, or pink accents.
- Earthenware dishes in colors like yellow, blue, green, or terracotta red. The colors tend to be muted and inspired by the French countryside.
- Dishes with rustic details like uneven glazing, hand-painting, or a crafted, handmade look. The imperfections add to the charm.
- Vintage-style plates, bowls, and cups sourced from French flea markets or antique shops. These add an authentic French farmhouse feel.
- Classic French accents like faience pottery from Quimper or Provence. The pottery often features traditional French motifs like flowers or fruit.
- Blue and white French transferware featuring pastoral scenes of French villages, farms, cafés, and beaches.
- Cutlery and glassware inspired by designs from Burgundy or Provence, including glasses etched with grapevines or flowers.
- Linens with toile patterns depicting French country scenes, checkered cafe tablecloths, or runners made from French grain sacks.
The overall look is relaxed, a bit imperfect, and inspired by the beauty and simplicity of the French countryside. Highlighting well-loved ceramic and glass pieces gives French country tablescapes charm and character.
History of Porcelain in France
The history of porcelain in France is closely tied to the development and production of dinnerware.
Porcelain was first produced in France in the late 17th century. King Louis XIV’s finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, initiated efforts to establish a porcelain manufacturing industry in France, aiming to rival the Chinese monopoly on porcelain production.
In 1673, the king founded the Royal Factory of Saint-Cloud, which became one of the earliest porcelain factories in France. However, the factory faced challenges and closed in 1697.
The true success of porcelain production in France began in the early 18th century with the establishment of the Vincennes porcelain factory in 1740, later moved and renamed as the Sèvres porcelain factory in 1756 under the patronage of King Louis XV.
Sèvres porcelain gained renown for its exceptional quality, exquisite designs, and innovation in techniques and materials, becoming the preferred choice for luxurious dinnerware among European royalty and aristocracy.
Sèvres porcelain dinnerware often featured intricate hand-painted designs, gilding, and elaborate patterns, catering to the tastes of the elite. The factory produced an array of dinner services, including plates, cups, saucers, and serving dishes, characterized by fine craftsmanship and artistic sophistication.
Throughout the centuries, Sèvres porcelain evolved and gained a reputation for elegance and quality. The production of French porcelain dinnerware remains a celebrated tradition, with vintage and contemporary Sèvres pieces highly prized by collectors and connoisseurs around the world for their historical significance and artistic beauty.