Live the Paris life here in Australia
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the French language and culture is to take a trip to France. But sadly, this might not be an option for all of us!
If you’re lucky enough to live in Melbourne, you don’t have to give up on your French dream. Melbourne has a vibrant French culture and is home to many French cafés, patisseries, restaurants and activities.
In this post we’re going to share our top ten French things to do in Melbourne, so you can experience all things French without the expensive plane ticket.
10. Start Your Morning With A Parisian Walk
Many French people embrace an active lifestyle: it’s not uncommon to see them walking rather than driving as they generally only use their cars for long journeys.
Walking along The Seine obviously isn’t a possibility in Australia, but you can have a similar experience by taking a walk through the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens. You can check out the beautiful open landscapes and the masses of rare of colourful native flowers.
The Queen Victoria Gardens also provides nice views of ornamental ponds, flowerbeds, sculptures and monuments. If you prefer cycling, why not hire a bike from Rentabike or Freddy’s Bike Tours and Rentals and cycle along the Yarra River.
9. Enjoy A Parisian Breakfast
Why not wake up with a wide-lipped bowl of cafe au lait (i.e. half brewed coffee and half warmed milk) and a pain perdu brioche from Café Rouge? You’ll find it located in the Melbourne suburb of Armadale.
You can also read Le Monde or Le Figaro as you take petite mouthfuls, and you’ll feel like you’re really living in France. Or you can try a rich chocolate éclair at Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie or a flaky croissant at La Tropezienne.
8. Shop At A French Grocer
In France, people queue for delicious fresh breads from Polaine bakeries. At Noisette you can find a selection of French bread at two locations, one in Port Melbourne and the other in Bentleigh. French Fantasies is another place to pick up some French bread and pastries.
Take a trip to La Parisienne Pâtés for appetising cheeses, sliced meats and take-home meals. Or you can shop online at France Gourmet, an online Brisbane based French supermarket. They ship selected goods to Melbourne and even sell beauty products and specialty foods, such as escargot and foie gras.
Cooking French cuisine in your own kitchen is another way to feel like you’re in France. Looking for some appetising French recipes?
7. Attend The Bastille Day French Festival
Bastille Day is a day to celebrate French culture, cuisine, beverages and entertainment. You can participate in workshops,
cookery classes and see French films. The festival is held once a year and entry is free. This year’s festival will be held at the State Library Victoria on the 16th and 17th July 2016.
6. Book A Cooking Class
Dish Du Jour is run by French chef Sebastien Piel who offers cookery classes in Prahran. Put on your apron and become a master at double-baked cheese soufflé or beef wellington. You can choose your own menu, and the lessons are suitable for cooks of all levels.
If you have a sweet tooth, come and learn how to make indulgent chocolates and pastries at Savour Chocolate and Patisserie School. You’ll be baking alongside award-winning chefs and international guest chefs who visit Savour every year from all over the globe.
5. Théâtre Français de Melbourne
The Melbourne French Theatre hosts two to four productions every year, usually theatrical plays. They’re in French or bilingual (i.e. French/English) most of the time so don’t worry if you’re not a fluent speaker! Check out their website to find out what’s on now.
4. Admire Edgar Degas’ A New Vision
If you’re the artistic type, how about spending an afternoon looking at French art? You’ll learn about cultural history and the artists themselves, and maybe inspire your own creativity! The National Gallery of Victoria has lots of interesting exhibitions every year.
* Check it out now *
As part of the Winter Masterpieces series, The National Gallery of Victoria is showcasing the artworks of French artist Edgar Degas’. The artworks are from galleries in 13 countries and include the ballet rehearsal scenes Degas painted in Paris. The exhibition will feature 50 years of Degas’ paintings, sculptures, printmaking and drawings, dating back to Paris life in the 19th century.
3. Déjeuner à Bar Sur Lou
Bar Sur Lou is a small, elegant café in Melbourne’s Balwyn North. It was inspired by a village called Le Bar Sur Lou located in
the south of France. Their specialities include Liege waffles, sweet and savoury crepes, crunchy baguettes and delicate macaroons.
2. Shop Like A Madame
If you take a walk to the upper end of Collins street (and nearby blocks), you’ll see the latest French fashion trends at Chanel,
Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Dior. Spoil yourself with a new outfit or do a little window shopping.
If the price tag is out of your budget, you’ll find the perfect custom-made fragrance to match your outfit at Fleurage Perfume Atelier, a European perfumery. Or compliment your lounge or study with a vintage French advertising poster from The Galerie or Home and Abode.
1. Play Petanque
Petanque is an ancient French game where you throw or roll a heavy metal boule on a piste (i.e. a rough gravel surface) at a distance of over 6 to 12 metres towards a cochonnet, (i.e. a small wooden ball). You can enjoy a game by becoming a member at a Pentanque club, such as the Camberwell Petanque Club.
The Paris Of Melbourne
Whether you’re a sporty person, enjoy going to a play or are a massive foodie, there are heaps of French activities to do in Melbourne, and they all allow you to experience the Parisian life. You just need to know where to look – and now, you do!
Over to you
Do you know of any other exciting French activities in Melbourne? If so, please leave a comment below and share your tips.