19 May 2012

What’s On The French Kitchen Table

In one word vegetables

My kitchen table is mostly full of bowls of vegetables… as are my bench tops and cook top when they aren’t in use. I like to have most of my vegetables and fruits at room temperature so I arrange them in pottery bowls around the kitchen. It is easy to see what I have to work with and plus it really makes the kitchen come alive. Even though the kitchen is a practical space. I can’t help playing around and styling it up.

The pottery bowls you can see in the distance come from the market in Lourmarin, a village in the Luberon region of Provence. Hélène has a stall there most Fridays and has some of the most unusual  bowls and plates I have seen. Her studio is in the nearby village of Cucuron… (if you have seen the movie A Good Year, with Russell Crowe… you will recognise it as the village where the outdoor cinema scene is filmed)… a very pretty place with a magnificent plane tree lined bassin in the middle. Hélène will make to order but if you are passing through Lourmarin on a Friday I am sure you will find something to please in the market. I would say that her pottery is not really Provencal in look but it has a wonderful, earthy quality and textured feel to it that seems to sit well here. The colours she chooses are neutrals… those taupes and putty shades we all love so much… and the shapes are irregular…hand formed… quite unique in their way.

How do you arrange your kitchens? Are you styling mad like me? xv


 Provencal Diary

Hélène Paris,

Rue de la Chapelle des Filles,

84160 Cucuron



and for lunch

La Petite Maison de Cucuron

Place de l’Etang,

84160 Cucuron

+ 33 (0)4 90 68 21 99


images exclusively living4media

photography carla coulson – styling vicki archer


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The Enchanted Home

Gorgeous picture! Those tomatos looks so incredibly good. I do love to have bowls of fruit and veges especially in the summer, adds such pretty color to the kitchen. Love what you have done with yours, Vicki!

Francine gardner

Your tomatoes look amazing, to morrow i will be off to buy my vegetables to plant them in the garden.
Thank you for the delicious gateaux secs!
Have a great week end, Francine


You see the little lightbulb over my head? That’s my revelation that I need not keep the veg in the fridge: they will be so much prettier and more usable displayed. Already I am planning the repurposing of my potboard dresser. Thank you for the inspiration!


Hi Vicky, Along with flowers and herbs in containers I also keep most of my vegetables and fruits in bowls in my kitchen and for the same reason. Fruit and vegetables taste so much better when they are room temperature and as you say, they add color and interest to your kitchen.

Cindy McDonald

Chere Vicki, j’adore Lourmarin…un petit bijou dans le Luberon. I do love to cook but sometimes… I would prefer to ‘style’ the kitchen and not cook! It’s all about creativity isn’t it? Bon journée.


ooohhh this makes me miss my French kitchen so much!! I did like you – I had all the lovely French fruits and vegetables in bowls in the kitchen. I still do, though the Norwegian food choice is not the same.. But I kept my French bowls from different markets in the South of France and I use them for vegetables.

Caroline S

Congrats on your new purchase and I am so look forward to reading all about your Le Petit Bijou journey over the coming months…. hopefully one day when I purchase my own little jewel en France (dreaming but just maybe it will turn into a reality!) then I will just come to you as THE source of ‘all things renovation!”


Vicki, your stove looks fabulous! A stove like that is a “someday” for me. I, like you, enjoy having my fruits and vegetables readily available and at room temperature. l lean towards white ceramic or porcelain. I recently acquired a beautiful berry bowl made by a talented potter in Massachusetts. I so enjoy sharing my morning coffee with you. Have a wonderful day.

Trish Murphy

Vicki I love the georgous red truss tomatoes with the backdrop of the navy
Aga oven. It looks so yummy as well just a glass of wine missing!
I like to put my tomatoes in nice Italian bowls and my fruit in a large glass star shaped dish.I must admit I could do some more styling but the kitchen is relatively small. The pottery from Lourmarin from what I can see has a lovely shiny glaze
the market must be fabulous.I remember so well those magnificent plane trees in
Provence.Have a great weekend x Trish
Forgot to mention yesterday I love the name of your new house The Little Jewel .


pottery bowls! what pottery bowls? do you mean the dim shapes in the background of the photo that might be or a stove or table.
ecotic photographers need to picture the products of whch they sndspeak…it like talking about a renoir with only seeng the frame.
do you know the gals who publish the provence post and kristen of french-word-a-day. you should all get together for lunch and have a multi-interview online….n the meantime a drink at the barnds nce while i read more…. du cap sou


I arrange my vegetables and fruits very much the same way. I think this is probably something most people share that enjoy a certain kitchen aesthetic. Having everything within reach and at room temp. makes for a colorful, inviting workspace in which great meals and cozy gatherings can take place!

pam robinson

this is so pretty… i do the same… having all of the color around in the kitchen does bring it to life and makes it more cheery and cozy…. one day i will pop over and we will sit and chat in your lovely kitchen… and you are welcome in mine anytime darling friend… xx


This is such a beautiful photograph of your kitchen Vicki … and the styling is so lovely.
Enjoy your weekend …. I can just taste those luscious tomatoes!


I do enjoy styling my kitchen with unique pottery and flowers and fruit. Looking forward to following your new project.

Jeanne McKay Hartmann

Wishing I could pop by and visit Helene! I’m forwarding this to my friend who will be traveling to Provence next month, maybe she will bring me back a bowl. My kitchen is styled with treasures from the Paris puces. Cafe au lait bowls add little bursts of red to an otherwise white palette – I love the memories of treasuring hunting on a lazy Saturday morning in Paris. XO


The tabletop is beautiful! A kitchen is the perfect place for creating and changing up vignettes of serving, storage, food and flowers — especially those of the season like these beautiful tomatoes.

When I saw the title, I was hoping for an entry on tablesettings — linens, plates, flatware, serving pieces, glasses, centerpieces and — especially I would love to know the origin of those beautiful blue highball glasses/tumblers with the stars that are set out on your patio table in your first book. Have you written about those in the past?

Enjoy your weekend!


I was totally looking at the background love your stove….. who makes it?


I leave my fruit and tomatoes out on display like you in large flat bowls …I think the fruit and especially the tomatoes taste better at room temperature and they add an earthy quality to the room as well! Love your styling! Sharon

Teresa @ Splendid Sass

I haven’t seen tomatoes that beautiful this year. I have my herbs and tomatoes, and I am trying my not-so-green thumb at lemon trees.
Have a great weekend, Vicki.


Hey Vicki,
You’ve got me all fired up on the kitchen front. I’ve taken a few old baskets – marché aux puces finds, of course – and filled one with lemons, and another with onions, shallots, garlic and sprigs of dried herbs from the end of last summer. The final basket is crammed with aubergines, courgettes, red, green and yellow peppers, and big beefy tomates charnues (guess who’s planning to make a huge pot of ratatouille tomorrow??). I always have my fruits and veggies on display, but you’ve definitely encouraged me to take things to another level. This afternoon I planted my outdoor kitchen window-sill herb garden for the next few months. We do have a herb patch, but lazybones here likes to just reach out of the window and snip off what she needs, I’m afraid! :-)

Suzana Rose Borlovan

Vicki, I don’t dress my kitchen as such(or maybe I do) but I always have fruit arranged tastefully on a large open square red platter and relish the times friends and family come over and help themselves, I also always have either asparagus, parsley or silverbeet in a vase on the counter. Whose says vases are for flowers only. Suzana x


In my newly renovated kitchen, I certainly confess to being guilty and styling everything.
I too love having veggies out and fruit…..that way I can see at a glance what I have.
Just served a sweet potato/ beet goat cheese napolean…..with sauteed beet greens and toasted pine nuts….
drizzled with truffle oil.
Thanks for the lovely candle, it arrived today!

Calico Child

ooh Vicki your blog is all finished it looks so chic, & those tomatoes look so scrumptious & the kitchen heaven, I am always styling my kitchen moving things around I have all glass on the top doors & forever placing things differently drives my hubby mad as he can never find anything tee hee.
Enjoy those tomatoes :)

Shell Sherree

Fruit and vegetables at room temperature ~ I’m a big believer in that too. As well as the beautiful visuals, I’m sure the flavours come out more. {I thoroughly enjoyed A Good Year, which I only saw for the first time a few months ago. I wanted to climb into the movie, of course.} Bon weekend, dear Vicki…

Glamour Drops

My kitchen changes every 5 minutes which sends the family into hysterics. Where is it this time, they cry? Can’t help it – just too much fun to keep changing things around. But there are always baskets, platters and bowls of fruit and veggies – I find that I tend to use them more if they are staring right at me and they look good too. I also have jars of home made biscuits and platters of home made cakes arranged on the bench. Your tomatoes look fabulously dark, rich red. I have just pulled up the last of ours. Winter awaits!


My favourite kind of picture! I love love love French tomatoes! No other Tomatoes ever taste as good! And yes bowls are one of my most used items in the kitchen, you can never have enough!…..cant wait to see the Petit house project starting!…how exciting!


Beautiful shot, Vicki!
I can almost smell those luscious tomatoes! Oh, the glorious veggies of summer…
– Irina

Our French Inspired Home - Rob

To answer your questions; We are addicted to copper pots (Mauviel and Ruffoni). We have them both hanging from pot racks as well as sitting in the center of the stove. We sometimes store raw veggies in shallow copper containers on the counter. One of my favorite pieces is also a large mortal and pestle that we too keep filled with veggies. We have a local ceramic artist that we purchase various containers for storing goods in the kitchen as well.


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