A Personal Welcome

I write this with a full heart.  I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude that business is more brisk than ever here at the French Estate.  Why?  I think maybe it’s an idea whose time has come.

Starting out 18 years ago was a little intimidating.  How to decorate, how to structure things, so as to please as many people as possible?  I concluded that the best thing to do was please myself, and hope that it made enough clients happy to keep me in business.  And it worked!  Seems there are plenty of brides who are choosing to keep their wedding day fun and carefree rather than turning it into the most expensive ordeal of their lives.  Lots of people who want that cozy personal feeling for their gathering but may not have a home — or nerves — equal to the task.  People who are tired of turning too much money over to greedy corporations that can’t be bothered to treat people kindly.

I spent years of my youth living, working and wandering in Europe, and yearned for as much of that lifestyle as possible after escaping a violent marriage and finding myself faced with the challenge of remaking my life.  So I chose a really old home in a the largest historic district in California, walking distance to the heart of Old Towne Orange.   Living upstairs from my business in the Old World way, and sharing my home with pets, international students, occasional displaced women who need  to get on their feet,  and travelers who enjoy the simple peace of old-school bed & breakfast isn’t a typical SoCal lifestyle, but I love it.   The French Estate has that cozy home ambiance because it has been an actual home for well over 116 years.

Einstein said coincidences are God’s  way of remaining anonymous.  How thankful I am to have “happened” to find a place named after Judge French, a genuine character who lived here with his family for 20 years.   It’s been fun to take that theme and run.  The French truly love the character and texture of all things aged and weatherbeaten.  (After a rich full life spent largely outdoors, it’s become valuable to embrace that philosophy when looking in the mirror, but I digress…)  Ever wonder why historic places feel so much more charming than, say, Fantasyland?  Stuff is authentically old, used and loved.   It’s popular to fake that vintage look, but it never feels the same.

We’ve hosted more than 500 weddings at this point, and roughly twice as many other gatherings of every kind from showers to day-retreats, 100th birthday parties to murder mysteries.  You can feel the history of  hospitality and happy memories hanging in the air.  It’s been a privilege to plan and celebrate with all those kindred souls — helping people to relax and have some of the best days of their lives is a pretty rewarding way to earn a living.  If this philosophy appeals to you, we’d love to host you as well.  Welcome to the French Estate!

Practicing hospitality since 1892

Sarah Pearson,  Proprietress