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Coming Home to Nature: The French Art of Countryfication

by Wolf & Badger

Estelle MarandonGesa HansenCharlotte Huguet are the authors of Coming Home to Nature: The French Art of Countryfication (Flammarion, 2022).

Beautifully photographed, Coming Home to Nature offers practical tips and sage advice – even a handful of hearty recipes – Estelle, Gesa and Charlotte have gleaned from their evolving lives in rural France. Whether you are still indecisive or already living your dream life, the book is filled with inspiration and thoughtful insight for tackling every aspect of country living, and for writing a new chapter, refreshed and renewed. 

We caught up with the authors to hear a little bit more. 

What is Countryfication?

We invented the word to describe a phenomenon. More and more city dwellers are drawn out to the countryside. They all have the same needs as we do: more space, more nature, a slower pace. Today, Countryfication is also the name of our Instagram account, it is like a movement for us, a community for all those who are interested in life in the countryside.

Image © Nathalie Mohadjer

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to take their first steps towards a life in the countryside?

Before moving, ask yourself all the questions we have listed in our book. And, very important, if you don't have it yet: get your driver’s licence.  

In your book, you explore the therapeutic effects of getting outside, gardening and working with the land. What impact has this closeness to nature had on your day-to-day lives?

We spend much more time in the fresh air than before, which definitely has a positive effect on the psyche. But one must not underestimate the temptation to rather spend one's time gardening than working. Staying focused is very important if you want to be efficient.

Image © Stéphanie Füssenich

How has living in the country changed your relationship to food? Are there any ingredients or recipes you’re looking forward to using in the summer months?

Having your own vegetable garden changes everything. You can find the ingredients for your dinner right outside your door - at least in the summer months.  It's pure joy and insanely practical. Discover one of our favourite salad recipes from the book here - full of homegrown cucumbers, zucchini and spring garlic!

How important is it to stay true to the traditions and history of your local surroundings?

All three of us live in old buildings that we have fallen in love with for this very reason: because they have a history. We try to honour them by preserving the original as much as possible or using materials that come from the local area.

Images © Nathalie Mohadjer

How has your taste in fashion changed since moving to the countryside? Are there any must-have items you’ve brought into your wardrobe?

The style inevitably changes when you move to the country. You need solid footwear and weatherproof clothing. We've developed a bit of a weakness for proper hiking boots. They are practical for walks in the woods and also look chic.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced while embracing countryfication?

The weather. In the three months of shooting for the book, it was raining almost all the time!

Image © Nathalie Mohadjer

What’s next for each of you in 2022?

All three of us continue to work on our personal projects, styling, journalism and design. On the side, we want to continue working on our heart project Countryfication, expand our community and deliver exciting content about country life.

Shop Estelle, Gesa and Charlotte's Wolf & Badger picks below...