Bring Home French Bistro Style

If sipping a café au lait at a side walk cafe in Montmartre feels like a distant memory, or it’s something that is on your “must do” list, French bistro style is for you! The French are admired worldwide for their joie de vivre, and French cuisine is beloved worldwide. French bistros are a big part of this “art of living” – relaxed, chic, the very essence of French culture.  Bring home French bistro style, and add a bit of Parisian flair to your home decor.


summer dining in France




A bistro is a casual French restaurant that serves tasty food in a relaxed, cozy setting, a mix of a cafe and a restaurant.  In France, your favorite bistro is where you meet your friends, relax with a cup of coffee and a croissant, or a glass of wine for lunch or dinner.  There is a close relationship between owners and customers, many customers eat there on a daily basis. Bistros are an important part of French culture, bringing together people from all walks of life.  On sunny days, small tables surrounded by bistro chairs cover the sidewalks outside all over France.


When we go to Europe, sitting at a sidewalk cafe or bistro is a daily pleasure!  There are times that I leave Mr. FrenchGardenHouse there with a cup of coffee and a croissant {usually a ham and cheese} early in the morning while I go shop local dealers.  After I have seen and bought the best things that I can’t live without for the shop, he’s usually still there! Then we can have a leisurely lunch before driving to the next town.  The best days are when there is also a local farmer’s market at the same time, because then he can shop at the stalls, taste a cheese or a slice of sausage, and buy some “necessities” for later. Once, just over the border in Belgium, a farmer’s chickens escaped and it was quite entertaining to see them running around the town center before being caught again and sold on to people who wanted to adopt these girls for their eggs.


French bistro




Bistros have always been melting pots of French society. Bistros attracted writers, artists and philosophers, the famous Les Deux Magots had Hemingway and Sartre amongst other literary greats as customers. Bistro walls have no doubt overheard titillating gossip, seen many romances bloom and die, and observed fevered discussions on politics.

Before the French revolution there were estimated to be fewer than 50 restaurants in Paris.  After the French revolution,  lots of talented chefs were without work when the households of the nobility and very rich were scattered. Many of these chefs returned to their small towns, jus as many went to the big cities of France.  There they became the chefs of small little neighborhood restaurants, called bistros. Each bistro has its own specialities, and its own design look. All of them are charming!

French cafe


Bring Home French Bistro Style


Inspired by France’s abundance of bistros and diverse culinary richness, I bring back cuisine antiques that reflect my love of France to share with you. It is my hope that you will find pieces at FrenchGardenHouse to capture the spirit of a French bistro in your own kitchen or dining room. Our French antique kitchen collections, linens and dishes make it easy to design your own bistro at home, in a style all your own.




Other than the iconic small bistro tables and woven rattan chairs, you can bring home the bistro look by adding authentic French antique pieces and kitchen ware.  Here are a few ways to add some bistro to your life.




The walls in a French bistro are never left empty. Depending on the owner’s preference, each bistro has exciting walls filled with antique and vintage art. For your own home bistro style kitchen or dining room to really pop, collect antique paintings and prints. Food related art is a great touch, and a wonderful beginning of your collection. It’s one of the more recognizable features of a French bistro.


Bring Home French Bistro Style




The easiest way to add some French bistro-style to your table is to collect classic white ironstone plates, tureens and compotes. They go with everything, and have survived decades {sometimes a century or more} of daily use. You’ll find most bistros in France use simple, serviceable dishes. {It’s all about the food, n’est pas?}


Bring Home French Bistro Style




A French chef never enters a kitchen without a proper apron!  We do sell beautiful linen aprons at FrenchGardenHouse, and also a combination towel-small apron that many waiters wear in bistros. It is a large towel, but with and extra long tie so that you can cover the front of your clothing while stirring a sauce or serving your world-famous dishes. Our model is a bit on the small size, so it won’t wrap all the way around you, but these are so handy!


Bring Home French Bistro Style


For those of you who prefer a full sized apron, the linen aprons are fabulous. {Look for a beautiful warm French hazelnut color soon!}


Bring Home French Bistro Style


Tips for Creating a Provencal Kitchen

French bistro style is easy to achieve by adding French linens to your kitchen.  True authentic antique towels from trousseaus of long ago are one way to add a touch of France at home. Those of you who have read me for awhile know that it’s one of the every day luxuries we can’t live without here at FrenchGardenHouse. I do also adore the colored all linen new towels...they dry like a dream. And, well, yes….those colors!!  I ordered a whole lot of a glorious hazelnut colored towels for our fall season, but these Brittany blue and chartreuse colors that are currently in stock always make me happy.


french linen towels




Most bistros have tables that are either wood, marble, or formica.  Fancier bistros will have white linens, but in our own home I set imaginary “bistro” tables with simple French country linens too. The new napkins that we sell fit perfectly in bistro style with their woven linen and red stripes.


Bring Home French Bistro Style


So do the larger antique French towels from long ago. Many of those are of a size that they make a perfect runner or centerpiece for a table.


Bring Home French Bistro Style




Bistros differ greatly in their style…in the big city of Paris, for instance, a bistro might have more sophisticated serving pieces than a bistro in the countryside will.  Silver wine bottle coasters, bottle pouring baskets, and champagne ice buckets all bring extra flair and style.


Bring Home French Bistro Style

Bring Home French Bistro Style



Authentic French bread baskets to serve up your best baguettes? Yes please.


aAntique french bread basket



Olive bowls just like the ones used in bistros all over France.


olives in bowl


Antique French wood fromage boards and chopping boards make your cheese course speak fluent French!


cheese board


Antiques in the French bistro style add so much character and charming good looks to your kitchen and dining room. Just add a few, or go all the way with tables, chairs, and antiques to decorate with France in your heart.


Et voilà! I hope this helps you bring home French bistro style. Do you like French bistro style? We’d love to know.




Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and above all uniquely yours. Visit our shop

16 thoughts on “Bring Home French Bistro Style”

  1. What lovely tips and such beauty in this post! I love your Bistro Collections.
    Elegant and quite stunning.
    Thank you… and Happy Tuesday!

    1. Thank you Nancy, I hope you are having a beautiful week!

  2. Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors

    Good morning, Lidy! I loved reading about the history of the French Bistro. I have never been to France, but it is definitely on my bucket list. You have so many pretties in your online shop. I always enjoy browsing. Happy Tuesday, sweet friend!

    1. Shannon, I know you would love it, it’s right for your favorite decorating style!

  3. Alice Genzlinger

    Lidy I must have one of your antique French bread baskets. I just read Pam’s post on sweetened iced tea and I’m on a high. Then chose to read yours and I’m somewhere between Alabama and France in my mind. Pure heaven if you ask me.

  4. Lidy, we embrace French bistro style here! We had a set of bistro chairs we bought from a local dealer, and I recently gave them to our niece for her new wine venue. Fun to see the younger generation embrace French style. Beautiful post as always.

    1. Sarah, how blessed your darling niece must feel to get your lovely bistro chairs for her wine venue! It IS fun to see the younger generation embrace French style, isn’t it? We have have been attracting many younger clients recently in their mid 30’s who are just starting to build their home and it’s exciting!

  5. You just inspired me to display a bottle of wine (or maybe champagne!) in my ice bucket on the counter in my drinks area! Thanks Lidy!

    1. Love it! Always a good idea, wine or champagne! Wishing you a cheer-filled weekend!

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