07 December 2009

The French Laundry, Her Gardens & Environs in Yountville

You could be forgiven if you momentarily thought you were deep in the heart of France. Hills covered in vineyards, rustic stone houses, outdoor bistro seating under the arbors...we didn't awake from our reverie francaise until we spotted the Thomas Keller nonchalantly crossing Washington Street and realized we were firmly in Yountville, California....not Aix-en-Provence!

Fancy a little lunch at Bouchon? Table's ready!

Here in very close proximity to his legendary The French Laundry, Bouchon Bistro, and bistro Ad Hoc, Mr. Keller would feel quite comfortable as the owner and creator of arguably the best restaurant in this country, if not the world.

Thomas Keller, patron saint of amazing restaurants, strolling down
Washington Street in Yountville, California, one sunny morning

When my daughter Lisa Tomasi (the brilliant and talented founder of Pear & Pepper Fine Catering and Events) and I headed north to the wine country for a little exhalation recently, we had forgotten just how thoroughly this place can take your breath away. Both weary from work and in need of a break, we travelled in our favorite manner, la route du petit ecolier (the way of the little schoolboy.....wandering around as if we had all the time in the world). And if we happened to find some design inspiration, all the better.

The unassuming facade of The French Laundry

After the thrill of spotting Thomas Keller, the second lovely surprise was the potager (kitchen garden) for his restaurant, The French Laundry. If we were looking for interior inspiration, we found it outside in the impeccable and verdant gardens, exquisitely organized and productively composted. We took a stroll through.

Lisa Tomasi in the potager for The French Laundry

Inside the greenhouse for The French Laundry gardens

Is this gorgeous?

This scene makes me want to take up gardening!

That, dear friends, is how composting is done....as a wall!

The view looking across from The French Laundry restaurant

What's this...no, a bakery??

Bouchon Bakery's selection of pains (breads) make an artistic arrangement

No I couldn't possibly! well...maybe just a little bite...! Macaroons
to rival Laduree's on the Champs Elysee!

Pretty tile floor adorning Bouchon Bakery floor

We then found ourselves mysteriously walking into the front door of the Bouchon Bakery....hmmm? After une petite croissant or two and a latte (we were too early for a real meal anywhere else but the bakery...eh bien!), we wandered across the way to Bistro Jeanty and admired her charming facade.

An excellent bistro meal here!

Maybe a spin around the village?


{all photos taken by Kit Golson with my trusty iPhone

you may download with abandon!}



Kit Golson Design

for elegant, sustainable and pragmatic

Chic Provence Interior Design


  1. It really feels like the South of France, you are so right. Ahhh, le Midi... thank you for taking me home just a short moment.Beautiful Iphone photography; who needs a Leica whatchoumacallit!

  2. The French Laundry is one of my favourite restaurants and I adore Yountville. It is almost more french tham most french villages and this is coming from someone who lives in a medieval village in SW France.

    Leeann x

  3. I want to live here. Seriously. It's so beautiful!

  4. So stunning. I don't know how I ever existed without my iPhone.

  5. Hi Jeanne-Aelia...now we are both homesick for just a moment, it's a great place to get a small hit of France...and thank you for visiting!

  6. Hi Fabulously French...I had reservations there once then we had to leave town and I missed it! I know it's wonderful! The bakery, however, I can vouch for....;-)

  7. Denny, hi! Me too, I would love to live just around there towards St. Helena a bit! Thanks for the visit, it is so hectic this time of year!

  8. Hi Beth, I know, I don't know how either how I existed pre-my-iPhone. Seriously! I can't wait to make a visit over to Chinoiserie to see all your latest gorgeous stuff!

  9. Great post and great photos. what type of camera did you take these with? Thanks for showing us the gardens of the French Laundry. Never seen them before. Very beautiful. Makes me hungry for some fresh veggies.

  10. HI KIT-

    Wonderful atmospheric photos...especially the garden.
    Bravo on the iPhone...
    Thomas, by the way, has a new cook book THE AD HOC COOK BOOK...highly recommend.
    cheers, DIANE www.thestylesaloniste.com

  11. Hi Frank, love your wine blog! I took these with..my iPhone! I love its ability to be right there when you need photos quickly. I do a bit of editing in pShop or Lightroom....are you installed in the wine country?

  12. Hi Diane, welcome back! Love your post about India, the colors are invigorating! Lovely! Thanks for the visit....yes I saw Thomas Keller interviewed saying his favorite place to eat is Ad Hoc....I will be making lunch reservations soon, their menu looks delicious! And the cookbook would be a great Christmas present for a certain caterer daughter of mine!

    a la prochaine! Kit

  13. Darling I stumbled your blog and I am so glad I did, your blog is gorgeous, lots of interesting posts and lovely photos. I just joined your followers and will be back daily.

    Love & Hugs

  14. Oh Duchess, thanks so much!! I just went to your incredible blog, and can't find the follow button, which I so much want to do! It is GORGEOUS!! the post about Diana brought tears to my eyes, seriously. :_)

  15. Darling thanks for popping into my cottage and for the lovely comment you left behind, you are kind. Luv, in order to follow simply click on the follower button. My follower widget is located on the right handside of my blog, 8 photos down and it has a title that says Follow the Duchess. Hope it works for you.


  16. Many thanks Duchess! now I'm going to have a cup of tea!

  17. Bonjour!
    These images are truly beautiful. Never had the opportunity to visit but after seeing this post I'll simply have to make the time to go! Enjoyed reading through your interesting blog and will be following along from now on.

  18. Bonjour Bonjour Romance! How very lovely of you to stop by and thanks so much...yes you should come to Yountville, be sure to get reservations early for The French Laundry...but as I mentioned, Thomas Keller himself likes to eat at Ad Hoc down the street...a lot more "accessible" (affordable) for all!

    a la prochaine!

  19. Thanks for showing the cement tile floor at the Yountville location. We were pleased to make the tiles for recently-opened Beverly Hills Bouchon and the effect is, well, so French. Keep pointing that iPhone down. Salut!

  20. My best friend lives in Glen Ellen and we have tried several times to get a reservation! (with no luck so far...)Yes, plan ahead...way ahead. Next time I'm out there we will try again...and can't wait to go!


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