France, the countryside, picnics and baskets go hand in hand.
I cannot imagine one without the other.
The climate, especially in Provence and the local’s love of outdoor life makes the picnic an ideal way to spend some leisure time.
Yesterday, on a long walk with my daughter we saw many French people out and about, with their baskets, heading to find a favourite shady spot to spread their rug and set up their picnic. The French know how to create an ambience when they eat outdoors; forget plastic cartons and Styrofoam coffee cups. I see picnickers with the full set-up and that includes tables and chairs and a comfy spot to snooze.
What I admire about the French lifestyle is their attention to detail when it comes to the everyday. Each meal is important and as we all know there is no such thing as ‘no’ lunch. Whether a picnic, a restaurant or a meal at home, lunch is lunch. The outdoor picnic is no different.
I have been in love with French baskets for years.
My collection of baskets usually swells in the summer and gets depleted towards the end of the season as guests and children come and go. Everyone finds something in Provence to make his or her own and they need a basket to carry it home. It’s a win/win for both of us as I can continue my passion for collecting without feeling too carried away.
Baskets have evolved since my love affair began and now the French style basket has become the picnic basket of choice, the shopper or necessity and the fashion accessory of the season.
The humble basket has really found its forte.
When I pack a picnic I use a combination of baskets.
The ‘fashion’ baskets become the carriers for food and drink, for tablecloths and for napkins. One is my handbag for my personal bits and the traditional wicker chest style basket is the holder of all things practical.
When I am in France I use a basket pretty much every day, as a handbag and a practical way to shop. On the weekends I have started doing the same thing in London. This season there are so many pretty and decorative choices; it is an easy one to adopt.
Decorating our own baskets is also a fun way to go.
I have made well use of the paint, ribbon and pom poms on mine and for this I prefer the simple style of the French market basket and a spray on paint. Don’t forget the stencils, otherwise it’s a messy disaster and decorate outdoors!
Picnic or party? I’m copying the French with a basket or two. xv
The Basket: Yes Please
image, kathryn m ireland, summers in france