One can sense a joy of Melburnians immersing themselves in local culture whether it be wining or dining or enjoying just being outdoors living in their city. Do we have the French to thank for this? The British may have laid claim to us but it was the French who first mapped Victoria’s coastline and later influenced some of the city’s ‘French’ culture. Much of this is not as evident these modern days but we can tell you that the French connection in Melbourne is still very much in existence.
How to experience French Melbourne in 24 hours
Le Petite Dejeuner (brekky)
Start your day with a French croissant made by a native from Paris at Agathe Patisserie Petite at the Royal Arcade. Here you’ll find croissants, escargots and danishes made by Agathe Kerr who moved to Melbourne after perfecting her baking skills in Paris. With a permanent store at South Melbourne market, Agathe opened her hole in the wall store in the city last year.
Agathe Patisserie Petite Royal Arcade
Wednesday – Friday 8am-3pm
The ‘Paris end’ of Collins Street
This end of Collins Street colloquially known as the ‘Paris end’ of the city got its name when it did resemble Paris with its footpath lined tables and chairs at cafes and restaurants. Though much has disappeared off the footpaths, down laneways scattered around the city, there are pockets of ‘Paris’ like Degraves Lane and Hardware Lane. Today, the ‘Paris end’ is mostly high end luxury French designer brands such as Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin. If your budget permits, splurge or window shopping is just as pretty.
Pampering Champagne session
Make a stop for some pampering with a massage or a facial at Miss Fox on Little Collins Street because you deserve it but what’s French about this? Well…they also have a Champagne bar serving Moet, Veuve, Pommery or Dom Perignon by the piccolo or bottle. There’s always a French connection! Sign up to their newsletter and receive a credit of $20 towards your pampering session.
Miss Fox opens Tuesday -Saturday
Le Dejeuner (lunch time!)
A favourite of one of our staff member is Roule Galette hidden down a laneway off Flinders Lane serves beautiful savoury and sweet crepes. The French speaking staff are ‘so french’ and it’s wonderful as it’s a slice of Paris in the city for the next hour. It’s a lighter option for lunch and the coffee here is not bad either.
Roule Galette opens daily
French Film Festival
The annual French film festival is one of the most popular foreign film festivals to come to the city every year staring well known French actors who have also appeared in Hollywood Blockbusters including Marion Cotillard, Juliette Binoche and Jean Dujardin. The French have a knack for making films that are quirky, funny or dramatic and seeing the beautiful city or French countryside as backdrops is the dreamy escapism part of watching a French movie.
Kino Cinemas from 28 Feb – 27 March
If you want a change of scenery from Melbourne’s CBD, head to Crown Melbourne where you can dine at Bistro Guillaume for traditional French dishes. Here, head chef and owner Guillaume Brahimi serves up French classics like duck confit and steak frites with béarnaise sauce. Sunday lunch is free-flowing Moet Champagne day with a 2 course meal for $99 per person and bookings are essential.
Bisotro Guillaume opens daily for lunch and dinner
The day ends at Melbourne’s iconic live jazz bar Paris Cat, ‘reminiscent of the French post war Bee-Bop era’. Both local and international jazz acts perform in this three storey warehouse first built in 1895 complete with full bars and a tapas menu. The ideal venue to start or end your night in Melbourne.
Paris Cat Jazz Bar opens Wednesday-Saturday from 8pm
For more French inspired locations around Melbourne, speak to one of our staff members for recommendations. In the meantime, we’re off to Little Italy…stay tuned.