Things of Beauty: France's Ambassador to Malta shares her most treasured possessions

14th April 2017 – Jo Caruana

In the first of a three-part property special, HE Béatrice Le Fraper Du Hellen, France’s Ambassador to Malta, lets us into the French Embassy’s official residence in Zebbug, which has been her home since January 2015. The décor reflects her jovial approach to life, including her love for interesting conversation, good books and fabulous entertaining.

"I moved to Malta from New York, where I was head of the Human Rights sector and legal advisor of the French Permanent Mission to the United Nations. I loved this house – which dates back to 1761 and was bought by France in 1987 – as soon as I saw it, and am especially fond of the symmetry and perspectives. I could immediately envisage all of the lovely receptions we would throw here for the Maltese people to celebrate the special relationship shared by Malta and France.

"The second I spotted this fireplace, I knew this room would become my favourite part of the house. I love to sit here chatting with colleagues or friends, or whiling away the evening reading. I think the gold surround perfectly complements the Maltese stone, and also adds a pop of glamour.

"The day after moving in and having unpacked most of my things, I decided to explore the basement. That’s where I spotted this discarded stone structure and I was intrigued by it. I decided to turn it into a table, and it’s since become one of my favourite conversation pieces. Although my guests over the years have had lots of ideas as to its original use, so far, no one has been able to tell me exactly what it is

"I am a traveller by nature and have lived in 10 countries since I started my career in 1985. Moving house is exciting but continuity is important, so there are a few themes that follow me wherever I go. One such theme is ‘reading women’, and I have a number of framed pictures of women reading dotted around the house, as well as this book – which is a collection of prints showing women reading. I have so many memories of reading books in all sorts of places all over the world that I find this collection sentimental.

"I love throws, and have them draped across furniture around the house. This floral silk piece is a favourite of mine, given to me by my mum, who’s an antiques collector. I remember that she opened a cupboard in her shop and lots of old fabric came tumbling out – this was my favourite so she gifted it to me.

"This bookcase holds lots of my favourite things – including my champagne glasses! I love champagne, and enjoy the elegance of it. Next to them is a book about my hometown in France – De Garrigues en Costieres – and it’s a constant reminder of where I am from. The candle, meanwhile, was a gift from our President, François Hollande, who has visited Malta three times since I moved here. I know that he always enjoys his time on the island."

15 April 2017 – Jo Caruana

In the second instalment of our property special, the Reverend Simon Godfrey, Canon of the St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral in Valletta, shows us around the adjacent Chancellor’s Lodge, where he has lived for nine years. His favourite space is his office, which is located in the historic spire. He has filled it with items that reflect his passions – art, history, literature and, of course, religion.

8th April 2017 - Marie-Claire Grima

Giving your workspace a well-deserved makeover? Here’s a look at the latest interior trends to inspire you.