Australians in the southern states have long had a love affair with France and embraced drop dead gorgeous French chic, style and culture.
The next best thing to a weekend in France and its fabulous countryside will be held in Adelaide when The Alliance Française d’Adélaïde presents its annual French Market coming up close to Xmas in the leafy Soldiers’ Memorial Gardens on the corner of Unley Road and Thomas Street, Unley, Friday 24 and Saturday 25 November 2017.
Today many people at home or abroad still do not realize the French played a strong and significant role in the European discovery of Australia. Looking for a land ‘down under’ was a passionate pursuit of French leaders both ancient and modern in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, as they pursued an active policy of exploration and scientific study of our wide brown land and its inhabitants.
South Australia shares its French connection to explorers with Victoria through a chance meeting in 1802 of English explorer Matthew Flinders (1774 – 1814) and French explorer Nicolas Baudin (1754-1803) at the aptly named Encounter Bay, sited on the south-central coast of South Australia about 100 kilometres (62 mi) south of Adelaide city centre.
Under the direction of Nicolas Baudin whose voyage was approved by Napoleon Bonaparte when he was First Consul, a French party was kept busy charting much of the southern Australian coastline. They marked their charts with French names including first calling Victoria Terre Napoleon.
The Freycinet Map of 1811 is the first map published revealing the full outline of the Australian coastline. It was drawn by Louis de Freycinet, navigator on the Baudin expedition. It preceded the publication of Matthew Flinders’ map of Australia, Terra Australis or Australia, by three years.
While only a few French names remain today, the influence of the French on the culture of the states in southern Australia over the years since early exploration has been significant.
During the 1970s and 80s I spent a great deal of time in the suburb of Unley and the city and countryside around Adelaide, which remains the only place in the country for me at the time where dining in style meant I was offered a well rounded white wine from either the fridge or the cellar as in France.
The French Market provides an opportunity for lovers of France, French style and culture to fill their baskets with French-inspired gourmet goodies and picnic à la française. There will be French language books, French perfumes and new stalls include Moorish Bites offering French-Moroccan flavoured street food.
In past years, the market has become a popular event on the Adelaide city scene, so if you cannot visit France this year and live, work or are visiting in that city, it may be the next best way to celebrate all things French, from farm to table.
You can be immersed in the vibrant French inspired atmosphere. Stalls will also be selling pastries, cheeses, charcuterie, Beaujolais Nouveau, French linen, handicrafts and much more. French entertainment will be a feature of the event. At night, the gardens at Unley will come alive with bud lighting, stage performances and wine tastings.
Director of the Alliance Française Laurent Pointud said,
‘The 2017 French Market, more than ever, will celebrate the vibrant vitality of this fertile relationship between France and South Australia. With the opening of the French bilingual and bi-national program in Highgate school this year and the profusion of events in connection with France and French culture in recent weeks (the French artist-in-residence program in October, the Unley ‘France and the First World War’ conference in November) and early in the new year (‘So Frenchy So Chic’ and the French Festival in January, and the AF French Film Festival in April), South Australia is becoming more and more French aware.’
You will have to be in the raffle to win its wonderful main prize, a return trip for two to France with Singapore Airlines, plus two nights’ accommodation in Paris.
Secondary prizes include a year of French classes at the Alliance Française d’Adelaide, a three-course meal cooked by a French chef in your own home, Dymocks books, a French gift basket, Womadelaide and So Frenchy So Chic passes, vouchers for La Buvette and La Lorientaise, and a case of French champagne.
The other French Festival this summer is So Frenchy So Chic now held in three states; Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.
Having grown from a small series of concerts into one of summer’s most hotly anticipated boutique festivals, held in partnership with Adelaide Festival Centre’s French Festival, So Frenchy So Chic is promoted as a summer festival of pleasures; a party, a picnic, a celebration of life and culture.
It’s all about helping you to find your joie de vivre.
You will be able to choose from the crème de la crème of the local French foodie scene, including wine, aperitifs and specialty bites including mussels, oysters, crêpes, charcuterie, cheese platters, macaroons, ice cream and more.
So Frenchy So Chic is a family friendly event, with kids 12 and under welcome free of charge. At the Melbourne and Sydney events if the tunes by artists such as Dominique Chauvin (above) aren’t to the taste of your enfants, there will be face painting, incredible bubble artists, drumming classes and lawn games like pétanque and croquet to keep them entertained.
Nigerian-born, French rapper FÉFÉ (below) will also take the stage with a brand new repertoire of chic Afro-influenced beats and performing tracks from his 2017 album Mauve.
Féfé will leave have audiences moving with his rhythmic repertoire and signature style, joy and je ne sais quoi.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2017
Friday 24 November 5 – 10pm
Saturday 25 November 10am – 10 pm
Soldiers Memorial Gardens
Unley, South Australia
Friday 12.01, 2018
PINKY FLAT, Adelaide
Sunday 14.01, 2018
WERRIBEE PARK, Melbourne
Saturday 20.01, 2018
BICENTENNIAL PARK Glebe, Sydney