Unless you’ve been hiding under a croissant, you’d know that tomorrow is Bastille Day. Oh, how we love the French, with their effortless sense of style and penchant for champagne with every meal (…isn’t that how everyone lives in France?). To celebrate all that’s good about Europe’s capital of culture, wine and cheese, we’ve rounded up our 15 favourite things the French have given the world. Looking to celebrate Bastille Day in Melbourne? You’d better start with one of these.
The French lay claim to the creation of tonnes of our favourite cheeses, most of which get their names from the village where they were created. Cheese town tour, anyone?
#2: More specifically, Camembert
Baked, breaded, or sliced and served on a fresh piece of baguette, Camembert is the KING of cheeses. France, we salute you.
(Hint: You’ll find our favourite baked Camembert on this epic list of the 50 Best Cheese Dishes in Melbourne. You’re welcome.)
Whether you slather yours in Nutella, have it with ham and cheese, or keep it simple and eat yours au naturel, the humble croissant has revolutionised on-the-go breakfasts. Also, without this particular baked good, we wouldn’t have that awful Kanye lyric.
#4: Café au lait
Did you know that the French invented the flat white?! Café au lait, which translates as ‘coffee with milk’, is pretty much Melbourne’s favourite coffee order, except it sounds a hell of a lot more exotic and comes in bowl-sized portions. You know what you’ll be ordering tomorrow morning.
The Louvre, the Pompidou, Palais de Tokyo…Whether it’s works created by their own nation’s artists (Matisse, Duchamp, Renior, Degas…) or the best international collections in the world, the French really know how to do the art thing well. Très bien!
#6: French manicures
Simple, elegant and timeless (which sums up quite a few French favourites on this list), the French manicure is a fashion classic. Next time you’re deliberating between that glitter top-coat and Aztec nail art, just don’t: Opt for this French classic instead.
If this needs explaining, you’re reading the wrong website…
#8: Breton stripes
Breton stripes just make EVERYTHING cuter, don’t they?! You can thank Coco Chanel for taking the navy uniform pattern and putting it on the catwalk. Check out our favourites in 8 of the best Breton tops and get shopping, Listers!
#9: The Moulin Rouge
Founded in 1889 and still up and running today, the notorious Moulin Rouge cabaret club has inspired many an inappropriate themed party and dodgy music video (uh, remember Christina Aguilera’s crazy crimped wig?!). Paris, you have SO much to answer for.
#10: French films
Nothing looks a beautiful on the big screen as moody French people smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee in effortlessly stylish Parisian cafes. Where to start? Breathless is an essential chic 60’s classic that’ll have you pining after a life in black and white in no time.
#11: Amélie, and every other film featuring Audrey Tautou
Seriously, you need this film in your life. Amélie tells the story of a young woman—the stunning Audrey Tautou—who sets out to help the people of Paris in ways that would only ever work out in cute French film-land. Warning: You will immediately need to book flights to Paris after watching this film.
Petite mouthfuls of pastel-coloured heaven, macarons are 100% my favourite thing in the world. I mean, how can you be unhappy when you’re eating a tiny baby-pink dessert?!
#13: Paris Fashion Week
The glitz, the glamour, the drama when a designer punches a model for suggesting someone should kill Germany’s head of state…Paris Fashion Week always delivers the excessive, the wacky and the too-beautiful-to-be-true on its catwalks.
#14: The Alps
More specifically, skiing in the Alps. If you’re a snow lover, there’s nothing quite as breathtaking as standing atop Europe’s largest mountain range in peak season. Oh, and they really know how to do après-ski.
Fun fact: There’s only ONE stop sign in the entirety of Paris, which makes driving there a bit like a real-world Wacky Races. Fun/incredibly aggravating, depending on how good your road rage management is. Either way, the licence to drive like a Frenchman when in France is one of the best things about visiting the nation.
Image credit: Teacup Tea via Pinterest