Capture the Charm of the Côte d’Azur—at Home

The French Riviera is often lauded for its elegant yet relaxed charm. In the warmer months, towns bustle with farmer’s markets selling fresh produce and flowers, seaside restaurants serve socca and champagne, and residents fling open the windows of their coastal homes draped in crisp, neutral colors to allow the beauty of the outdoors to take center stage. The chic, casual vibe of the South of France was evident even in Princess Grace’s own style during her years there, as she was often spotted dressed informally in sunglasses, sandals and her signature head scarf. 

For anyone who has ever spent time in the Côte d’Azur, the only downside of a visit is having to depart at the end of your trip. But capturing a French vacation vibe at home is attainable, says Michelle Adams, the editor and founder of Lonny (and a sometimes interior designer who is currently redoing a client’s home in Mougin). The secret, she shares, is simply borrowing some design inspiration from the homes that sit along the Mediterranean Sea.

Fill your home with the smell of fresh flowers

In the South of France, the smell of jasmine and orange blossoms fills the air for most of the warmer months—and busy local markets make it easy and affordable to scatter fresh blooms around your home all year long. Princess Grace herself reportedly found joy in the ready supply of fresh flowers in and around Monaco, and it was her well-documented love for flowers (both fresh and pressed into floral art) that inspired Promenade Sur La Rocher, the white floral and first eau de parfum in the Grace de Monaco collection.

“Including fresh flowers in your most visited rooms can be easier to keep up with than you might think,” says Michelle. “Hop online to look up the flower farmers in your area and see what flower CSA [community-supported agriculture] programs they offer seasonally. You'll be amazed at the variety and quality of the flowers you can find locally, and you'll get to support a farmer in the name of decorating. If that feels like too much effort, I highly recommend the faux florals from NDI. They look real enough to fool even a florist—or my husband, who has watered a faux arrangement in our house without realizing it.” 

And if you do decide to go the faux flower route, you can still fill your home with the scent of jasmine, rose centifolia, and bergamot by lighting a Promenade Sur La Rocher scented candle or using the Promenade Sur Le Rocher Diffuser Oil (plus our Porcelain Fragrance Diffuser). Another option? Opt for all three of our luxurious fragrant floral candles (in our Les Trois Lumières Coffret), and scatter them throughout your home.

Turn a silk scarf into art

Pay homage to Princess Grace’s favorite French Riviera accessory, and add a splash of Mediterranean blue to your décor, by framing a silk scarf, such as the Côte d’Azur Silk or the Monogram Mediterranean Blue—then putting it on display. “I would recommend mailing the scarf to either Frame Bridge or Simply Framed, which both offer scarf framing,” says Michelle. That’s safer and easier than crossing your fingers and hoping your local frame shop figures it out.”

Add one warm element to every room

A white or beige interior is common in the French Riviera, as it compliments, rather than competes with, the sunny beauty outdoors. But to keep a cool color palette from feeling too chilly (especially when the temperature drops outside), homes in the South of France will often warm things up with some natural textiles. So, consider using woven baskets as storage options for blankets or board games, scatter terracotta tiles on a coffee table to use as coasters—or drape a chaise or bed with faux fur. “You can warm up a room, while adding a touch of Princess Grace’s own glamour, by adding a faux fur throw to the foot of your bed,” suggests Michelle. “The texture offers a nice juxtaposition to crisp bed linens, and a deeper color brown can help anchor the look.”

Surprise with a pop of color

In addition to including warm touches in each room, adding a dash of unexpected color to a neutral palette is also very French—like wearing red lips with a white tee…but for your home. “You could pair neutral upholstery with a pop of yellow, purple, pink, or Tiffany blue color in a luxurious fabric like silk damask,” says Michelle. “For instance, in a bedroom, choose a simple upholstered headboard in ivory linen, then add bright silk accent pillows.” Or, toss a silk and wool blend scarf elegantly over the arm of a neutral colored chair, like our Monogram Lavender.

Sprinkling in color may also be an opportunity to pay tribute to the many artists who lived in and were inspired by the French Riviera, including Picasso, Chagall, Renoir, Calder, Cezanne, and Matisse. Add a colorful print to a gallery of black and white art, stack coffee table books that celebrate these masters (and if you have enough, use them as a cocktail or bedside table)—or elevate a quiet corner by hanging a Calder-inspired mobile.

Put a citrus tree in a sunny corner

Lemon and orange trees grow abundantly in the South of France—and many local markets sell shrunken versions of these citrus trees so you can access fresh fruit and enjoy their energizing aroma in your own yard. If, however, you live somewhere with a proper, snowy winter, growing a citrus tree outside is probably not an option. But tending to a small tree (or a “dwarf tree,” which is essentially a large plant) indoors is easier than you might expect. Michelle once lovingly cared for a lemon tree in her Midwestern kitchen, and it provided fragrant blooms, juicy fruit—and treasured memories of the Mediterranean all year round.