Using the classic French epergne as a centerpiece for the dining table

This classic French epergne serves as the focal point of a simply elegant table.

Even the most simple table setting can transform an ordinary meal into a memorable occasion. Here, we are emphasizing sparkle rather than color: The silver and the cut crystal catch shimmers of light that add atmosphere. Set plain white china on lace placemats; add a salad plate with a floral motif and a plain white napkin gathered into a fan with a silver antique napkin ring and more crystal glassware for added sparkle.


The piece de resistance, however, is the epergne. Originally a serving piece in the well-to-do homes of France, the multi-level piece now is more decorative than utilitarian. This one combines silver and glass, and it features putti – little cherubs that are always good for a smile. We salute spring with blossoming dogwood limbs in the vase section and plump artichokes in the bowl for a pop of color, but any kind of fruits or veggies or flowers will work.


While we’re always looking for new ways to use old pieces, we’re going to suggest that you use the epergne much like the historic French did: as a serving piece for a party. Many epergnes incorporate the central cylinder with bowls that hang at different levels. The French filled the bowls with side dishes and pastries. For a party, consider using the epergne as an interesting way to present fruits or cheeses. However you use it, the epergne will add sparkle to the event.


Again, we’ve used old and new. The white casual dinnerware? New. The water glass? New. The floral plates are antiqueLimoges, and the white wine, red wine, and compote are antique crystal, as are the napkin rings. The lace placemats are new, but they add a warm feeling from your grandmother’s dining room. All the pieces work beautifully together.


To be sure, we have filled the table; however, the effect is simple. It relies on the glow of candles and soft lighting to enhance the beauty of the food that is served.


Back to epergne: Just how do you say that word? It’s pronounced “a-pern.” It’s simple – just like our table.





3 Responses to “Using the classic French epergne as a centerpiece for the dining table”

  1. Antique Silver Glass Salad Plate…

    […] s are new, but they add a warm feeling from your grandmother’s dining room. Al […]…

  2. Out of the ordinary information. Credit on behalf of the info!

  3. Koky says:

    I have 2 children but don’t rlleay have experience with them and a glass top table. I can tell you though that about 10 years ago, I tripped in my living room and fell hands first onto a glasstop coffee table with rlleay thick glass and my hands went through. I had to have stitches in one hand. It was a mess. So, be rlleay careful about it. I say if it is a high table then he is not likely to fall into it though.

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