“Château Life is quite simply « joie de vivre » precious moments of personal pleasure expressed through curating lovely experiences…” – Jane Webster

An Aussie in Her French Château

“Château Life is quite simply « joie de vivre » precious moments of personal pleasure expressed through curating lovely experiences…” – Jane Webster

As we continue our Château Life season, we’re thrilled to introduce you to another chatelaine whose love of adventure and learning is infectious and inspiring.

If you’re not already familiar with Jane Webster, quelle chance! Author of At My French Table: Food, Family and Joie De Vivre in a Corner of Normandy and three other beloved books on life in a château, the Melbourne native has a unique talent for bringing you into her serene world in a way that feels both intimate and transporting.

Un Peu Sur Jane

Her passion for all things French led her and her husband to purchase Château Bosgouet in 2005, fulfilling a long-held dream and reshaping the course of her life from that day forward.

I remember a particularly pertinent moment when Pete turned to me and said,
« What do you want to do? »

I answered, « I don’t want to wake up at 73 and look at you and say, Why the hell didn’t we do that? »

So, in the end, the fear of regret overtook the fear of the unknown.(At My French Table, 2007)

“The French air cleans up the brain and does good—a world of good.” - Vincent Van Gogh.

Whether rolling out the dough for ravioli, folding fresh linens for expected guests, or enjoying a moment of peace with a book and champagne, Jane’s adventurous spirit imbues simple moments with a sense of story-book romance. She humbly tells us that’s just a natural consequence of life in the French countryside.

Deep connection and purpose are what get me up every morning. Every day is full of tiny rituals that have become precious moments: daily trips to the boulangerie, daily shopping at the local marché, and picking flowers and herbs from my garden.

There is a freshness to Normandy. The air is crisp and sweet smelling. The land is a verdant green unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. The night sky is vast, twinkling, and full of promise.– Jane

Now, Jane shares her joie de vivre with others through intimate cooking classes, book clubs, brocanting, and long-term residencies at her château. Her Instagram is full of quaint peeks into her private paradise at Château Bosgouet and nouvelles of her latest courses and clubs.

A Slice of France at Home

Jane believes her approach to life isn’t exclusive to those living in a château or even in France. For anyone looking to inject a slice of French style into their home, she offers a taste of the advice found in her book French House Chic (2018):

The best souvenirs are those found while exploring the French countryside. Bring home a piece of fabric and have a chair reupholstered. Hang a copper mould on your kitchen wall, buy a century-old bread-making board to use on your kitchen bench daily, buy antique linens with your initials on them… The ideas are endless.

She also suggests rituals that you can weave into your daily life to deepen connections and foster purpose through small acts.

Have an Aperitif each evening with your family. It doesn’t have to be alcohol. You can introduce children to this ritual with a homemade elderflower cordial or lemonade; it’s a time to come together, talk about the day, and share.

Also, shop at farmers markets. There’s something so comforting about the chore of market shopping. It promotes conversation and connection with the vendors you buy from each week.

Découvrir Château Life

“Château Life Residency allows you to “try out” that dream that’s been beckoning you for all those years.”

For those who want to experience Château Life firsthand, Jane hosts two-week and one-month residencies that include a wide array of immersive activities from French lessons to flower arranging, wine tutorials and much more! Jane’s favori classes? Tablescaping and watercolour.

For more information on this opportunité spectaculaire, check out her website.

Scrolling through Jane’s addictive Instagram, an advert for her new “I Want More the Next 30 Years” course sparked intrigue. When asked about the six-month course and what inspired it, she said:

This online class came directly from a conversation with a friend throughout COVID. It started with the breakdown of a marriage, a broken heart, and long deep conversations as I supported a friend in heartbreak and she supported me in my « exquisite isolation. »

At one point I asked this friend why she and her ex weren’t pursuing marriage counselling.

« Because Jane Webster …. I want more »

The answer piqued my curiosity and led me down a rabbit hole of enquiry and practical daily tasks to aid in the transition to her new life.

I’d send her articles to read, podcasts to listen to, habit-stacking tasks, and methods to calm a racing mind. We’d write, read, scribble, and brainstorm, which eventually led to a soul-searching of what life looked like and what we each wanted it to look like. It’s not about wanting more per se…. it’s about examining what makes you tick and what your reason for being is, which leads to a clearer path forward.

Merci Beaucoup!

Thank you, Jane. It’s always a delight to speak with and learn from you, whether through your sage advice, fabulous classes, or following walks through countryside brocantes on your delightful Instagram!

Stay tuned for our upcoming Brocante collection and blog on navigating the unique experience like an expert.

A bientôt!