July 14 marks the day of France’s most famous national holiday: Bastille Day. Not only celebrated by the French, Bastille Day is the perfect excuse for all of us to drink Champagne to our heart’s content, indulge in artisanal pastries and stroke-inducing cheeses and listen to quirky French pop. In celebration of this iconic day, we’ve compiled a list of things to immerse yourself in that’ll make your day that little more authentic:
Dress like a Parisian
Introduced into the French navy in 1858, the Breton-striped shirt is one of the most patterns iconic in the world and is synonymous with French fashion. When it comes to classics such as the Breton shirt, paying that little bit extra and investing in quality makes all the difference. Country road offers a selection of modern renditions of this wardrobe staple, including this form-fitting number with bold panels. Add a beret, a pair of ballet flats and you've got it.
Stripe Gather T-Shirt, $79.95 | www.countryroad.com.au
Cakes and pastries
Why not throw a lavish tea party Marie Antoinette-style? The infamous queen loved lemon meringue pie so much that she used to make it herself. Ditch the croissant and forget macarons – they’re sooo last season. We reckon eclairs are the next big thing in sweets (you heard it here first) and are available on every street corner in Paris with an array of fillings. You can find some of these tasty morsels at Flour & Chocolate, who also happen to create other French classics like mille-feuille, croissants and of course lemon meringue pies.
Brisbane French Festival 2014
The Brisbane French Festival is on again this year at South Bank Parklands, held over two days from Saturday July 12 to Sunday 13 July. The event immerses patrons in French culture, gastronomy and entertainment. Entry fee is $5 for adults and free for children and students.
Make like the French do and indulge in some French fare at one of Brisbane’s exquisite Gallic-inspired restaurants and bistros. Baguette Bistrot + Bar has specially created a four-course Bastille Day Degustation Menu at $85pp.
If spoonfuls of cream, butter and Camembert are not your thing, The Chelsea Bistro at The Barracks has created a French-inspired menu with a twist, incorporating trendy super foods such as blueberries, kale and quinoa into their classic French dishes. The Chelsea Bistro are also offering July diners the chance to win an ‘Eve in Paris’ prize pack that includes dining vouchers for a three-course shared dining experience for 4 guests, a bottle of French wine and 4 movie vouchers for the Palace Cinemas around the corner. Bon appetit!
Why limit your French immersion to just one day a year? Newmarket-based boutique The French Corner has a beautiful selection of homewares and garden accoutrements to create the ultimate French oasis. The boutique has a beautiful variety of objects in many unique designs, ranging from Parisian chic to rustic provincial. And if you’re short of inspiration or just have no idea what to do, they even offer an interior design service to help you create the grandeur of Versailles in your own home.
A life without Champagne is a life not worth living, and we have the French to thank for it. Did you know that the bubbles in the brew were initially considered a fault, and it was only after the English merchants developed a taste for sparkling Champagne that the French embraced it? Lucky for us the French have spent eons refining, creating and drinking the stuff so we can enjoy it. Check out Stewarts Wine Co and Champagne Gallery for some of the good stuff.
While we’re not advocating buying a Frenchie just for the occasion, we couldn’t create a list of our favourite French things without including them. Head to your nearest dog park or head to suburbs like New Farm or Teneriffe and you might just come across one for a pat. If you are in the market for one, they’re known for their playful, bright and affectionate temperament and easy-care coat. And they’re pretty darn cute!