- Elisabeth Burton, French etiquette consultant, has lived many years abroad and continues to enjoy traveling. Through her contact with other cultures and traditions, she has developed a love for creating an international ambiance within her private interior. After completing her business studies, she naturally developed her talents in public and international relations. Since 2009, Elisabeth has developed workshops for French and foreign executives from varied professions, companies, and educational organizations eager to discover or rediscover and master the “rules” of French etiquette. She has participated in commercial and cultural venues, is a frequent guest on radio and television, and a member of “La confederation des arts de la table” in Paris.Invitation à Recevoir has provided an opportunity for Elisabeth to share her passion for “l’Art de Table” and French etiquette with others by creating dining settings and sharing ideas about how to organize a family celebration or social event.
AWP: Name the books and movies, works of art and music, fashion or cuisine that have inspired you.
EB: I have been inspired by the book, Of Mice and Men, by the American writer John Steinbeck, and the Hollywood movie Love Story, and particularly the works of art “The Women of Algiers,” by the French romantic artist Eugène Delacroix, “The Casbah Gate,” by the French artist Henri Matisse, and “Back of Girl,” by Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali. My favorite musical pieces are the Sonatas for Harpsichord by J.S. Bach, and music by the American singer Whitney Houston, and the French singer and songwriter, Bénabar. In the world of fashion, I have found inspiration in the creations of French designer Christian Lacroix. The style of cooking that has influenced me is that of my childhood, Moroccan cuisine.
AWP: Do you have any role models?
EB: Jackie Kennedy (Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis).
AWP: What is the last book you read?
EB: The Help, by American author Kathryn Stockett.
WORDS OF WISDOM:
AWP: What is the best (or worst) advice you’ve ever given or received?
EB: You will find a way.
AWP: What handed-down wisdom did you receive from your mother or father?
EB: Everything arrives in time when we are patient.
AWP: What childhood experience has served you many times?
EB: To think before embarking on any action whatsoever.
AWP: In your youth, what did you imagine your adult life would hold? What influenced this vision?
EB: While living abroad in my youth, I envisioned living in only one foreign country with a new culture and language. Working in international relations as an interpreter and translator has continued to influence my vision.
AWP: In your early teens, what formed your romantic fantasies of adventure and love?
EB: Reading books and attending movies.
AWP: What were your favorite childhood things to do?
EB: Writing in my diary and spending long hours on the beach with my family and friends. Packing my bags for the holidays.
AWP: What nourishes your passions?
EB: Love and friendship.
AWP: How did you get your foot in the door at the beginning of your career?
EB: My curiosity and motivation to progress.
AWP: Was being stylish important to you growing up in your teens? Is it now?
EB: Yes, it is important. It gives you self-confidence and helps to form your personality.
AWP: How do you define style or fashion?
EB: It is a brand. The mixture of many factors at a specific time, depending on country, culture, atmosphere at the moment, economy, politics, events, seasons, etc.
AWP: Tell me about your cooking and eating habits and traditions.
EB: My style of cooking comes from different cuisines related to my culture and roots: my childhood in Morocco and the cuisines of my Portuguese grandmother and my mother, who was originally from northern France, and the cuisines of Italy and Brazil, and cooking from around the world.
AWP: What was your most memorable meal to date?
EB: A gourmet meal of “discoveries” at the hotel restaurant La Tour Rose, in Lyon, France in 1995. It was a fabulous journey of tastes and flavors, from the appetizers to the dessert.
AWP: What is in your refrigerator right now?
EB: A terrine of foie gras, fresh pasta, vegetables, tomato sauce, dried cod, and cheese.
ART OF LIVING:
AWP: What do you live for? What do you love above all?
EB: I live to leave something to my children, but also to fulfill my life — to achieve a form of wisdom. Above all, for friendship and to feel loved.
You may also enjoy A Woman’s Paris® post, French etiquette, French table manners, by Canadian writer Philippa Campsie who writes for those who want to know “the rules,” how to conduct themselves at a formal French dinner or at an upscale restaurant. There are all kinds of rules, some written and a lot more unwritten ones. But first, lets enter into the spirit of the thing. It’s not just about the food!
Le Baisemain, a kiss of the hand, by Barbara Redmond who shares her story of the French-style kiss, considered by some out of fashion, and writes, “Gallantly, he bent down from the waist and reached for my right hand. He took my hand as though it were a fragile butterfly about to fly away. Poised, he raised it…” Was it the Chanel No.5 perfume, she wonders.
French Candles: Bougies, by Barbara Redmond who writes about buying a package of bougies trouée, tapers with interior openings, for her holiday table; and the world of Cire Trudon and the pleasure of forgotten scents. Cire Trudon, founded in Paris in 1643, supplied candles to Marie Antoinette, Napoléon Bonaparte, and other European royals. Including tips on how to keep candles at their best: secrets from our French grandmothers…
Imperfect Perfection: The new French woman, by American writer Kristin Wood who reminds us of the words attributed to Henry David Thoreau, the famous American author and philosopher who eschewed material excess and extravagance… “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” Kristin writes about the predicted trends of the “undone” makeup look, and the “de-blinging” of luxury items. What better place to introduce these two trends on a grand scale than Paris?
A Woman’s Paris — Elegance, Culture and Joie de Vivre
We are captivated by women and men, like you, who use their discipline, wit and resourcefulness to make their own way and who excel at what the French call joie de vivre or “the art of living.” We stand in awe of what you fill into your lives. Free spirits who inspire both admiration and confidence.
Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. — Coco Chanel (1883 – 1971)
Text copyright ©2012 Elisabeth Burton. All rights reserved.
Illustrations copyright ©Barbara Redmond. All rights reserved.