During the late 19th-century, Napoleon commissioned Baron Haussmann to modernise and effectively rebuild much of Paris. Traditional homes were replaced with imposing buildings in matching stone (the birth of the city’s signature grand boulevards) and a number of now-iconic landmarks were built (such as Les Halles and the Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon train stations).


This rebuilding was accompanied by a distinctive style of interior design and architecture, characterised by parquet flooring, large fireplaces, high, ornate ceilings and large reception rooms – which spread to the major French cities, such as Lyon and Bordeaux.

This apartment, overlooking Bordeaux Cathedral, is a perfect example of this Haussmann look. It was these characteristics, along with the dreamy views of the cathedral, that seduced Camille and her partner, Yann, when they were house-hunting four years ago.

Throughout the airy, light-filled apartment, family pieces have been combined with fashionable vintage furniture and accessories (for instance the rattan peacock chair and brass-legged side tables) and there’s a good smattering of delicate mismatched patterns, too.

‘I don’t think my style of decoration fits into a particular box – I have a preference for the 1950s and 1970s, but I’m not stuck on one era,’ says Camille. ‘I especially love the art, fashion and design of the 1950s. I’m drawn to the soft tones of the wood, the varnished finishes and the details of the brass work – which are often neater than on modern versions.’

This mixing of styles and eras is beautifully demonstrated in the dining room, where an elaborate rococo table (given to Camille by her parents) is teamed with simple Formica chairs. ‘At first, I matched the table with some antique wooden chairs, but I felt that the combination was a little too classic. This pairing feels a lot more relaxed and balanced.’

What also adds to the bohemian feel is the number of plants in each room. Camille spent her youth living on a vineyard and, on arriving in Bordeaux, found herself nostalgic for large, open spaces and compelled to give a country spirit to her urban interior. ‘I need to be surrounded by greenery, so I have plants everywhere,’ she says.

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Camille acquired a taste for antiques and decorative arts from her parents, whom she followed around antiques shops when she was young. When she moved here, her parents gave her many items from their own home, such as the overmantel mirrors and the farmhouse table in the kitchen, which had been used in her father’s workshop.

Today, she likes to build on this collection by visiting flea markets and yard sales in the coastal area of Arcachon Bay. ‘There are better bargains to be had there and it’s less busy... I bought my bedroom carpet for €20 at a yard sale. This kind of find thrills me!’ she laughs.

Camille likes to recreate the atmosphere of a bygone age, to place herself in a world that she didn’t know. ‘I like to tell myself that the vintage and antique items that I own may already have had several previous lives,’ she says.

What is most valuable to Camille though, are the treasured objects of her childhood, such as the family photos on the mantelpiece. Pieces associated with her grandparents are especially important to her – the dresser in the dining room, with its mother-of-pearl and brass feet, is her favourite piece of furniture.


‘It’s part of a set that my grandparents had made for their bedroom when they got married. I didn’t know them, but their story fascinates me. I have a lot of pictures of them, too. To me, they represent the fashion and art of the 1950s,’ she says.