Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Texas French Embassy

It's Outdoor Wednesday with Susan @ Southern Daydreamer. Come with me through the bustling downtown streets of Austin, TX to a quiet hilltop that overlooks our state capitol.

As we walk through the gates of this old estate, we learn that this home was originally built as the Légation de la République Française during the time when Texas was a Republic.

It was constructed in 1840-1841 as the place of residence for Alphonse Dubois, a young French diplomat, sent to the Republic of Texas to represent the government of King Louis Philippe of France.

French Legation in Texas

The French Legation, built in the Anglo-French style, was restored in the 1950s by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Click here to read an interesting account of Dubois de Saligny and his brief time in Austin.

Nestled on a hilltop east of the downtown business district, the French Legation has a protected view of the state capitol.

The structure is the oldest wood frame home in the city and is furnished with items original to its time period.

This little clump of red lilies were all that remained blooming in a flower bed that must have been awash in vibrant color just days before.

There are two of these boxwood maze gardens, one on either side of the main house.

The expanse of rolling lawn is a favorite spot for families to picnic.

The original dirt floor kitchen to the property was destroyed by a fire in 1880. This structure was built in the 1950 restoration of the property and is situated where the original hearth's foundations were discovered. I know this is Outdoor Wednesday, but there is pottery in this building. French pottery! I have to take you inside to get a peek.

The kitchen has an extensive collection of antique French kitchenware, but we'll just focus on the pottery.

Yes, there is even a shelf of Quimper and Malicorne.

As you can see, these two plates are marked HR Quimper. Below are four Malicorne Plates.

The four plates to follow are all French, but all unmarked. If anyone has knowledge of where these may have been produced, please let us know.

This collection of plates is also all French, again unmarked pieces.

This Chinoiserie motif was one of my favorites as were the following two painted in Delft Blue.

Well, I hope you enjoyed our brief outing to the French Embassy of Texas. More information and photos of this property and its history can be found at http://www.frenchlegationmuseum.org/

Click here to go over to A Southern Daydreamer to see more Outdoor Wednesday outings.


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. I did enjoy this tour of the French Embassy in Texas, Sarah. It is so historical and they have lovely gardens as well as a wonderful plate collection. The Quimper plates are so pretty!

  2. It has been too long since we were in Austin. I so enjoyed this history of the French Embassy.

    The last time we were there, we were told to go to a bridge in town at sunset and watch the bats flying out. We did and were SHOCKED at how many there were. Amazing sight...

  3. What a beautiful collection of plates!!! I love the chinoiserie one!
    Love those wooden plate racks too.

  4. Gorgeous photos... and so glad you took us in to see the pottery... Thanks for the tour..lovely!

  5. That was a great tour! Loved the plates!

  6. I'll have to follow that link, as this is such an interesting piece of history. I'd forgotten that Texas was once a republic - just imagining that French Ambassador and his French way of life on the frontier.

  7. What a fabulous post!! I never knew about this. I will definitely go see it the next time I'm in Austin. Those dishes... wow!
    Ladybug Creek

  8. The grounds are gorgeous. I could picnic on that hill if it doesn't have ants.

  9. If I'm ever in Austin, I will definitely put that place on the sightseeing list. I love historic sites. Imagine living back in time in a place like that!

    I'm also glad you brought your outdoor Wednesday indoors for a peek at that dishes.

  10. I love Austin, my best friend's son graduated from UT last year & I only made a brief visit during those 4 years... What a fun tour! And what a treat to see the French pottery~

    I will miss your smiling face in class :-) I do understand the weekly commitment, I may not make it thru myself, but I'm going to at least try to go thru to the first half of the alphabet that I missed previously.

  11. Sarah that is such a neat museum. We would love to go there. You have some great pictures too. Love the plates:)

  12. This TX girl is officially homesick! Thanks for sharing these great pics. I'll have to put it on my to do list next time I'm there.

  13. Such a lovely spot, deep in the heart of cowboy country, Texas! It looks like a great spot to explore & enjoy a Sunday afternoon picnic in the grass.
    Someday I'll get to Texas!!!

  14. Hi Sarah...This is such a Fantastic French/Texas post! When I lived in Austin...some 30 years ago...I visited many historic sites, but not this one. I will visit it next time I'm in Austin. How wonderful to discover the plates and pottery that you collect. I really enjoyed the tour through your photos, links and description. Thanks for sharing another Texas landmark!

  15. Thank you for taking me back to Austin through your lens. I have not been there lately, but intend to go soon. There is so much history there and it is just a nice place to live or visit.

  16. Thanks for the wonderful tour of the French Embassy. The grounds are just lovely and I appreciate that you lingered a little by the dishes...they are a favorite of mine.

  17. Great tour - hubby is from TX but we have not seen much of the state other than Dallas!

  18. Thanks for such a lovely visit today. I think Austin is a wonderful city!! And what a nice plate collection.


  19. Thank you so much for sharing! What an awesome tour. I loved the plates. There are sites you can enter pics to and get more info. I think one is from Country Living Magazine.

  20. What a beautiful place and plates. Thanks for the tour!

  21. I love the blue delft too, and the Quimper which I am learning about from you and Laurie!
    Great tour, I bet the gardens were lovely!

  22. I've been there!
    What a wonderful tour and photos.

    Have a wonderful Thursday!

  23. I totally enjoyed the tour. Thanks for taking us, Sarah!...Christine

  24. What a lovely tour Sarah, next time I'm in Austin I'm going to check it out! I loved living there but never visited this lovely home/museum. You asked about the clematis vine..yes it does freeze back here..not sure if it would in Austin..I do think it has a dormancy period though. Thanks for your lovely visit!

    Miss Bloomers

  25. Susan, So many great historical landmarks in your area, so glad you came to visit!

    Art by Karena

  26. Hi Sarah, I just wanted to stop by and say hello. I have been bye in such a long time... we have bought a new house in a new state and have been busy setting up the new house. I can't wait to get back to blogging as I miss the many friends that I have made and you are on the top of my list. I hope you are doing well!

  27. Are the plates Quimper china? I have some from my grandparents.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  28. what a beautiful oist. Did you get lost in the maze?

  29. Oh, this place looks like something I would adore to visit. Such a beautiful place, and those dishes are gorgeous. I have only been to Texas once for business. What I love most about Texas was the hospitality of the people.


  30. Hi Sarah, your post is fabulous. Full of everything I love. The grounds are lovely and the restored kitchen with the pottery is so interesting. I want to come to Austin and see this in person. Smile. A maze is such a wonder.

    Thank you for sharing this amazing place.
    Hugs, Jeanne

  31. What a great collection of pottery! I love visiting historical places like this. During my short time in NE Texas I was only able to visit a few places between Dallas and the NE area. I hope to go back someday.

    Thank you for the wonderful outing to the French Embassy of Texas!

    ~ Tracy

  32. HI Sarah-

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am off to see your Quimper blog now. We have lots to talk about. I think the pink floral plates you show as "unknown" are actually early Luneville. I will repost on that this week. I am your newest follower! cheers, Andrea

  33. Sarah, you know I loved this tour! The grounds are beautiful, but of course, I absolutely loved all of the beautiful French pottery (surprise, surprise as Gomer Pyle would say!) What a wonderful place to visit. Thank you for the tour. Some day, I think I'll just go back to Austin and visit my friend Sarah, and she can take me to the wonderful places she has found! laurie

  34. Hi Sarah,
    What a wonderful blog tour. Anita and love historic sites like this and when we lived in Massachusetts we visited many historic places and buildings all along the East Coast -- from the colonial period through art decco and beyond. Thank you also for visiting me at Rattus Scribus and your rightfully concerned comment. As a college teacher I work with young people every day. I live for helping them to view their world with a constructively critical mind. I have found that one of the greatest contributions of a teacher is not that we have all the answers but that we learn how to ask and process good questions.


  35. Dearest Sarah,

    What a lovely surprise to see your comments as I woke up this morning! I am sick and yesterday when I came home, all I wanted to do was eat and sleep! What a life......I love my job, but working with children insures catching something!!! THANK YOU so much for commenting on my husband's blog! He is a great writer, but starting out just about 9 months ago, it has been hard for him to get enough readers. Any time a comment is left, it is a joy for both of us! Just knowing that someone reads his blog is good!!! And your visits our most appreciated. Your pictures are lovely; I still don't use enough of my own photos....I am a bad photographer!!!

    Have a lovely weekend, Anita

  36. Beautiful post Sarah!! How I would love to walk the maze...dazzling fun!! Lovely dishes...such beauties!! yay..thanks for sharing your magic always!

  37. Sarah,
    I love your knowledge of this and how you are so wonderful to share it with us.
    I have given you a blog award. Please forgive me if you don't participate in these things.
    Here is the direct link:

  38. Hi Sarah
    Thanks for the tour. What an interesting place! I hope you have a great weekend!
    Hugs, Rhondi

  39. good points and the details are more precise than somewhere else, thanks.

    - Murk

  40. Those plates are gorgeous and I often see ones like that in the Vide Greniers around here. Lovely to be back and catching up with all you are up to Sarah.
    Big hugs

  41. I enjoyed the tour, very interesting!


  42. Sarah, I now understand the link of your love of France and all things French- I had know idea that you once had your own French Ambassador.
    Maybe seeing the collection of Faience in the house was the reason so many Texans started collecting Quimper. I love those Malicorne Plates.


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