Where French girls shop for homeware – we reveal the secrets to their elegant interiors

Follow their lead and give your home that certain je ne sais quoi

Aah, the French. They always manage to look so stylish – and the same goes for their homes. One key to this is their special ability to mix and match. Whether it's furniture from different periods, fabric in a seemingly unworkable variety of textures and patterns, or even artwork from different periods, they have a certain knack. It's all so effortlessly eclectic.

La vie est belle... Before and after: small changes have made a big difference in this Parisian-style living room

We've always worried that if we try the same approach, our homes will end up looking like a jumble sale. Until now. Because we've done some research and discovered where French girls shop for homeware. And armed with this info, we think we're on the right track to immaculate interiors.

Below, you'll find THE places to go, whether you're actually in France or online and looking to channel Gallic style.

1. Fly – the French Ikea

living room with white wall white flooring pink sofa and designed cushion

(Image credit: Fly)

For fun, affordable home fashion, get the ferry over to Fly. Just like its Swedish rival, the stores are massive, with inspirational room sets aplenty and price tags that won't have you choking on your croissants. Take this Delf sofa, which costs EUR599.90

There are 56 stores across France, including one in Le Havre. Forget the booze cruise, we're going to ditch the soave in favour of a new sofa!

Enquire online: Fly

2. Merci – the classy independent

The French love their boutique independents, and will nearly always head to the likes of Merci or La Trésorerie (below) before they hit the DIY warehouses or department stores.

Merci is a blogger's favourite. Located in the Marais district of Paris, its almost secret entrance takes you through a pretty courtyard and up to a large loft space. Think of it as a sort-of interiors Narnia, where you'll find kitchenalia, cushions and bedding beautifully arranged by colour and individual pieces of furniture. Another highlight is the wonderful 'papeterie' selection – because of course even the French word for stationary is more glam than ours!

If a sojourn to Paris isn't on the cards, you can shop online, which is almost as magical an experience.

Shop online: Merci

3. La Tresorerie – the beautility expert

Ask a French girl what makes their house a home, and good lighting will be near or at the top of the list. This 'beautility' store is a great place to get it. The current range has an industrial look and covers table and floor lamps, pendants and wall-mounted sconces.

Mirrors, tableware and every stylist's favourite – succulents – are among the other goodies you can snap up, either en France or online.

Shop online: La Trésorerie

4. LaPeyre – kitchen confidential

kitchen with black cabinets wooden counter and electric stove with chimney

(Image credit: LaPeyre)

LaPeyre is a lot like B&Q in that it's a DIY 'shed' with a surprisingly good line in kitchens. Our favourites include the modern marble-effect Cuisine Eyre, from EUR849, and Bistro, above, which starts at EUR1,789 for a complete kitchen.

Unfortunately, the kitchens are only available in France, but if you're thinking about investing in a French holiday home, they're worth checking out.

Enquire online: LaPeyre

5. AM.PM – the La Redoute diffusion line

bedroom with grey wall blue bed wooden cabinet and wall lamp

(Image credit: La Redoute)

You probably already know about La Redoute and its fab homeware range – if only for the famous berber rug with its own Instagram account. But did you know it has a fab diffusion line, beloved of French home fashion followers? AM.PM has a broad selection of lighting, soft furnishings and key furniture pieces – and a rather lovely collection of objets for children's rooms.

Shop online: AM.PM at La Redoute

bedroom with yellobed and design cushions glass window and wall lamp

(Image credit: La Redoute)

6. Maisons du Monde – furniture heaven

wooden designed chair with white seat

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Ginevra Benedetti)

Related: Debenhams just upped its homeware game with a new concession

Here's another shop that's probably already familiar to you – and now available as a concession in selected Debenhams stores. However, across the channel, it's a MASSIVE brand, with a huge flagship store in Paris. Associate Editor Ginevra recently paid it a visit, and couldn't get enough of pieces like this EUR399 'Chair of Dreams' TM.

There’s so much to see in this three-floored interiors treasure trove,' says Ginevra. 'The kids’ ranges, complete with super stylish mini-me chairs. The vast array of baskets and storage furniture. The colourful velvet sofas. Be warned though, a visit here will definitely scupper your sightseeing plans!'

Shop online: Maisons du Monde

7. La Braderie – the biggest flea market in Europe

Last but not least, we couldn't miss off a flea market – a French favourite when it comes to updating homes. Held every year at the beginning of September, La Braderie is the biggest and best, not just in France but in Europe. A mecca for interiors fans, boutique owners and buyers, it's located in Lille, which you can reach direct by Eurostar. When we went a few years ago, we caused quite a commotion smuggling our antique sleigh, framed art and a rucksack full of glassware back on the train.

Right, now where did I put my passport?

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.