Bastille Day French Festival
North Melbourne will be the centre of a celebration of all things delectable and French as the award-winning Bastille Day French Festival returns for a fourth year on the 14th and 15th July.
The best of la vie à la Française will be on display as the historic North Melbourne Meat Market is transformed into a slice of French summer during Melbourne winter. The festival brings together an appropriately fervent and authentic program including talks, fashion, movies, a French marché and the art of fencing. Both Paris and Melbourne share a passion for street art and this will be celebrated in the form of live paintings by Melbourne-based French street artists Lucy Lucy, Fanny Devert and DNART. The culinary arts will of course take centre stage with the opportunity to try snails, mulled wine, raclette, crepes and more. The Bastille Day Bal will be the flagship event on the evening of Saturday 15th July, featuring music and DJs flown in from France for guests to party like Parisians.
Melbourne signature scents at Grand Hyatt
As part of its Grand Sensory Package, Grand Hyatt Melbourne has partnered with Melbourne perfumery, Fleurage Scent Design Studio, to give guests a unique opportunity to enjoy the traditional old-world glamour of French style perfume-making while creating an everlasting memory.
With over 20 years of experience in the perfumery industry, master perfumer Emma Leah has developed the scent profile of 40 iconic areas, institutions and activities in Melbourne by using the highest quality scent ingredients, sourced locally and overseas. With fragrance notes from places such as the Paris-end of Collins Street, the famous MCG and Federation Square, guests can relive their Melbourne journey through the bold, exotic and sometimes surprising scents on offer.
With the assistance of Emma and her team, guests will personally add drops from each destination of their choosing to the base scent provided (which is Melbourne City itself – a combination of rain, grass, smoke and of course, coffee). Drop-by-drop, guests will develop their customised fragrance into their own signature Melbourne scent.
By capturing their Melbourne experience this way, guests can evoke their favourite memories from this city with every spritz, as each layer of notes slowly reveals itself from the top to the heart to the base of the fragrance. Available exclusively at Grand Hyatt Melbourne. 123 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 (03) 9657 1234
New Pierrick Boyer café in Prahran
French pastry stalwart Pierrick Boyer has opened a new café in Izett Street in Prahran. The French-born pastry chef’s new 70-seater patisserie-café opens seven days and extends the offering from his now famous cakes, pastries and desserts - to breakfast and savoury dishes featuring the essentials - avocado and eggs all ways - and the inventive, such as the Soft Shell Chilli Crab Scram. Pierrick also offers masterclasses include cookies for kids, macarons, and Croquembouche! As well as Boyer, there are many other specialist French patisseries in Melbourne, some popular names include Agathé Pâtisserie, Gontran Cherrier and Chez Dré.
Macarons in Melbourne
When the macaron craze swept into Melbourne eight or so years ago the delicious little morsels spread their colourful cheer throughout the city. They have since become a favourite indulgence for sweet-toothed Melburnians. La Belle Miette is one of the most popular macaron specialists with four outlets across the city and one in Chadstone Shopping Centre. The French specialist has chocolate maker and patisserie has brought out its Bastille Day range as part of a month long celebration of the national day. Other notable macaron makers are LuxBite in South Yarra and the city, The Little Royal in Royal Arcade, and By Josephine in Brunswick.
No French / Melbourne story is complete without a mention of the bar and bistro in Hardware Lane that pays tribute to the cuisine and wine style of the gastronomic nation. Above Kirk's Wine Bar and with the same owners, The French Saloon has become popular for those looking for a light dinner and a cosy spot to lounge the night away whilst overlooking the buzzing laneway. Steak tartare is on the menu as is steak frites - all using Victorian produce. However it's probably the drinks list with its curated selection of Champagnes, wines, apperitifs and cocktails both from France and around Victoria that keeps diners staying for just one more. First Floor, 46 Hardware Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 (03) 9600 2142
French art at NGV
Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) holds Australia’s most comprehensive collection of French pre-Impressionist and Impressionist paintings in its permanent collection including important and impressive works by Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, Rodin among many more. As part of the MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art, 2018 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition - the NGV is also the place to see pieces from French masters Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne. Modern day artist Camille Henrot is also on display.
French fashion in St Collins Lane
As well as juggernaut French fashion brands at the top end of Collins Street; Chanel, Hermes and Louis Vuitton – it is called the Paris end for a reason – Melbourne newest luxury shopping enclave, St Collins Lane, is the new home to flagship stores for three more exciting French brands. With a cult following, The Kooples, chose Melbourne for its Australian debut, as did Zadig and Voltaire and rock n roll chic, Sandro. Also in this exciting new shopping precinct is shirt specialist Déclic, unique jewellery from Les Nés Néréides and luxury sports favourite, Lacoste.
OUT OF TOWN
Chandon in the Yarra Valley
Chandon flies the flag as the only Australian sparkling specialists with genuine French heritage. Moët & Chandon set up the Green Point Farm During the mid-1980s after successful experimentation of combining traditional Champagne methods with new world wines of California. The cool climate and great soil of the Yarra Valley combined to make a picture-perfect home for Domaine Chandon. Since 1986 Australia’s leading méthode traditionnelle producer has been confidently crafting sparkling and still wines that are stamped with the distinct style that is Chandon. A new refurbishment to the tasting room and cellar door pays homage to its French heritage, while accentuating the natural wonder of its Yarra Valley location. Tasting and dining experiences provide next level sophistication and French style chic. 727 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream, VIC 3770, +61 3 9738 9200.
Named by a French expedition to Australia in 1802 by ship, The Naturaliste, French Island is Victoria’s largest coastal island. It sits just 60 km south-east of Melbourne but is an island so remote its virtually unheard of. It boasts secluded beaches, uninterrupted views and stacks of native Australian wildlife. French Island, in the Western Port between the Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island, is as off the grid as it gets, with their 116 residents powering their homes via solar power and generators. The unspoilt, rugged beauty of French Island is unique and captivating, the slow pace enables visitors the opportunity to completely unwind and switch off from the day-to-day grind. The island runs completely off the grid with no main water or electricity, there is virtually no traffic, and famously, Kylie Minogue once owned a holiday home there.
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