Le Festival Français

There is no greater joie de vivre than stumbling upon a French festival. This particular Sunday, Circular Quay was its usual bustling hive of activity but with an added air of sophistication.

To my delight, rows and rows of market stalls were selling the best of the best of French culture adorned in red white and blue as the French population of Sydney (and its admirers) came out to celebrate the fete de le revolucion; Bastille Day.

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I have never lived in France, but I feel I have a strange emotional connection to the country. The excited pitter-patter of fluent speech is comforting to me, as well as the affinity I have with French food; coq au vin, duck confit, beef  bourguignon (“bor-gee-nyawn”), world famous pastries and sweet treats are just the tip of the iceberg of other carb-loaded heavenly plates of comfort. This is enough to make me while away the afternoon daydreaming without even having mentioned the countryside of France, which is some of the most stunning scenery you will ever see.

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Your eyes do not deceive you; this is huge chunks of pate in a baguette!

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I instantly felt more at home than I have done so far on (what I am calling) my ‘Australian adventure’. I weaved my way through the crowds, a smile from ear to ear. Ever seen a girl wondering along, on her own, smiling insanely!? – “Bonjour”.

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The sweet smell of cooking onions and stock engulfed me as I walked through a French Onion cloud, just as the chef was serving the soup in a bread roll to a salivating customer. This was enough to awaken my hunger pangs. I knew what I wanted, and it wasn’t long before I found it…

I was met by a crowd of, what must of been 30 people, all forming an orderly queue for the delicious, freshly made, buckwheat crêpe.  I went for smoked salmon, crème fraîche, spinach and a sprinkling of lemon juice.

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After my lunch time snack (when eating French, one lunch is never enough) I went looking for my next morsel.

I passed delicate and artistic petit fours and colourful macaroons piled high. I went for a mille foie and chocolat chaud.

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Then onto the pièce de résistance of French produce; cheese! I managed to follow my nose to a perfect little racelette stand.

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As soon as I was completely satisfied with my food intake (couldn’t fit another mouthful in) I moved along the market seeing what else there was on offer.

There were cookery classes…

IMG_0176…a good old game of boules…

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IMG_0132…as well as furniture and home wares.

IMG_0114IMG_0112IMG_0134It certainly has wet my appetite for France and you will be pleased to know a trip to Vallée de la Loire has been arranged for shortly after my return.

Au revoir , bon appétit et jour heureux bastille!

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