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Stylist’s French exchange: behind the scenes at Château de Stylist

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Keen to learn how to be more French, the Stylist team moved to a luxury château and delved into the Gallic way of life

When you work at Stylist, there’s never a dull moment. Over the past few years the team have made an issue in 24 hours, moved to an art gallery to discover what modern art really means and left all technology behind to set up home in the Dorset countryside to investigate whether living the simple life is better.

Now it’s time for our next trick: after so-many-we-lost-count conversations in the office about how we’d really quite like to be a bit more French (The food! The fashion! The philosophy!), we decided to do something about it, and move Stylist HQ to a grand château to create a special issue dedicated to la vie française.

Readers enjoy a cocktail in the Chambord lounge

Readers enjoy a cocktail in the Chambord lounge

Teaming up with our friends at Chambord, the French black raspberry liqueur (and equal lovers of luxurious French living) we were also able for the first time ever to bring you – our lovely readers – on our French adventure. So after entering our Instagram competition, 10 Francophile Stylist readers and their friends joined us in our (rather chic) pop-up office in Château de Stylist, which is what we’d rechristened the stunning Château de Jalesnes in the world-famous Loire Valley.

Over the next two days, the Stylist team toiled away, conducting features meetings with our reader guests to help create the issue, commissioning features and sending journalists to the far-flung corners of France, shooting a fashion story in the grounds of the château, gleaning work/life balance advice from successful French women, researching the cult of French pharmacy products, and trying our best not to wilt in the oppressively humid 30-degree heat whenever we stepped outside.

Fashion director Alexandra on the shoot at the château

Fashion director Alexandra on the shoot at the château

But it wasn’t all hard graft – in between, we enjoyed sunset Chambord cocktails on the roof terrace, ate more croissants than is nutritionally good for any human, heard inspiring talks from Stylist France’s editor-at-large Audrey Diwan (who is also our new guest columnist) and confidence coach Freddie Harrel, and of course, for a week we got to live the French dream.

This week, we'll be sharing the best of what we learnt from our French adventure. Vive Stylist! And vive la France!

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