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Five Coffee-Table Books for Francophiles

From fashion and interior design to gastronomy, this Christmas season, France-Amérique has selected five recently published coffee-table books about France, available in English. Happy holidays, and happy reading!
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© Marc Walter/Photovintage France

Young Cardin

As part of the centenary of Pierre Cardin’s birth, two of his former collaborators look back over the rise of this modern fashion designer, who passed away in December 2020. Memories include meeting Christian Dior, who took him under his wing after the war and offered him a job as a tailor, the launch of his own fashion house in Paris in 1950, the “plissé soleil” coat in red wool that confirmed his reputation in the United States, and the 1964 Cosmocorps collection inspired by the space race. Two decades that transformed fashion and the history of ready-to-wear clothing!

Pierre Cardin: Making Fashion Modern by Jean-Pascal Hesse and Pierre Pelegry, Flammarion/Rizzoli, 2022. 256 pages, 55 dollars.

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© Yoshi Takata, courtesy of Pierre Pelegry
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Parisian Inspirations

Having moved to France in 2015, the Puerto Rican-American interior designer David Jimenez shares his finest creations – starting with his apartment on Ile Saint-Louis and his second home, a 16th-century manor an hour from Paris – along with advice for designing an interior “like a Parisian” and his favorite spots: the Galerie des Lampes in the seventh arrondissement, the painters at the Atelier de Ricou in Courbevoie, and the antique dealers at the Carré Rive Gauche and the Clignancourt flea market.


Parisian by Design: Interiors by David Jimenez
by Diane Dorrans Saeks, Rizzoli, 2022. 272 pages, 55 dollars.

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© Xavier Béjot
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© Xavier Béjot
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© Xavier Béjot
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French Terroir

The son of Michel Bras (pronounced “Brass”), a renowned chef from Aveyron, invites readers to meet his family and discover their two Michelin-star restaurant, Le Suquet, where he has headed up the kitchens since 2009. The space features modern architecture and a panoramic dining room overlooking the Aubrac Plateau in the heart of the Massif Central. Through 40 recipes, such as gargouillou of young vegetables and onion squash aligot, he tells the story of his ancestors and declares his love for this wild and natural region.


Bras: The Tastes of Aubrac
by Sébastien Bras and Pierre Carrey, Phaidon, 2022. 272 pages, 59.95 dollars.

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© Anne-Claire Héraud
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© Benjamin Schmuck
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Chic alpin

An iconographer and a journalist with a passion for the mountains have joined forces to breathe life back into a deliciously old-fashioned era. A time when the international elite would rush to the edge of the Mer de Glace and climb up Mont Blanc in their Sunday best. This was the age of the first major ascents and the first winter Olympics, held in Chamonix in 1924. The photochrom prints, postcards, and vintage posters in this XXL volume offer an in-color account of the rise of destinations such as Megève, Aix-les-Bains, and Saint-Gervais, the boom in Alpine tourism, and the birth of winter sports.


The Alps 1900: A Portrait in Color
by Sabine Arqué and Agnès Couzy, Taschen, 2022. 600 pages, 200 dollars.

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© Marc Walter/Photovintage France
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© Marc Walter/Photovintage France
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Country Living

Cordelia de Castellane, the artistic director of Dior Maison and Baby Dior, works in Paris but her heart is in the countryside. This is where she welcomes the reader, to a charming stone house north of the French capital. A flowery, eclectic refuge that tells the story of her prestigious family and her childhood spent between Greece and the Swiss Alps. Without a single faux pas, she brings together Emanuel Ungaro rugs and wicker baskets, toile de Jouy fabric and pillows from Zara Home, and even a tall mirror that once belonged to her great-uncle, Count Boni de Castellane.


Life in a French Country House: Entertaining for All Seasons
by Cordelia de Castellane, Rizzoli, 2021. 240 pages, 55 dollars.

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© Matthieu Salvaing
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© Matthieu Salvaing
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© Matthieu Salvaing
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Selection published in the December 2022 issue of France-Amérique. Subscribe to the magazine.

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