The French national holiday, known as ''Bastille Day'' to us non-chic English-speaking people, is often celebrated desperately clinging to a wedge of camembert and a baguette in an attempt to look totes Parisienne.
Instead, this Bastille Day loudly announces you're celebrating 'Fete Nationale', and hit up one of these deliciously authentic French hotspots celebrating their red, white and blue homeland this weekend.
Bastille Day French Festival
Head to Meat Market this weekend (15-16 July) for a celebration of all things French, including a French market filled with all your faves. Gontran Cherrier, Milk The Cow, Mademoiselle Madeleine and more will be delivering delicious Frenchy treats.
Marie-Antoinette High Tea
As part of the French Festival, Lucy Edwards (Vranken-Pommery) will clue you up on the history of Champagne, and Sandra Marinier (Petite Chérie) will increase your knowledge in French pastry in a high tea themed masterclass on 15 July. Let's just hope for endless samples...
French Cheese Masterclass
A masterclass in cheese will also be part of the Bastille Day celebrations at Meat Market— clearly something we ALL wish we studied at uni instead of arts. Cheesemonger Victor Persinette will take you through a selection of delicious cheeses, and teach you all you need to know about them, on 16 July.
The House of Wine And Food Bastille Festival
The House of Wine and Food will say bonjour, bon soir and bon appetit for the first time on Bastille Day, as they serve up everything a willing Francophile needs this weekend. French-themed activities like a Parisian High Tea with pastries from Agathe Patisserie ($55 including a glass of champagne) and Wine and Cheese Appreciation (tasting $25, waived if patrons stay to dine) will get you in the mood. Bastille Day lunch and dinner will also be served as a three-course set menu at $80 per person.
Pascale Bar and Grill
If you're looking for a Bastille Day food special, then Coq Au Vin at Pascale is about as traditional as it gets. Try their Free Range Chicken Maryland in a deep rich red wine sauce and Paris mash, paired with glass of Guigal Cotes du Rhone ($32/$40). Heaven.
Collingwood’s well-known artisan boulangerie is pairing up with dessert queen Christy Tania to deliver the kind of French dessert porn that will end all Instagram feeds. Head to the Bastille Day Festival at Meat Market for an ice-cream croissant. Yep, that's ice-cream. In a croissant. RIP. (Available until sold out, from 12pm on Saturday 15 July only.)
Refuel for a stylish high tea at Ladurée Chadstone, complete with their famous macarons – we recommend the salted butter caramel, FTW. Bastille Day High Tea is $45 per person from 14 July – 16 July—and you might even get a cheeky free gift from LÓccitane.
Looking for French fun complete with a stunning view? This Friday 14 July, enjoy an evening of French inspired cocktails and light canapes at Eureka 89 for $85 per person all inclusive. Berets optional.
Syracuse Restaurant & Wine Bar
If, like us, you believe that thinking is too hard, head to Syracuse this Friday 14 July for a five-course French menu paired with delicious wines for $145 per person. When they tell you to pair your Confit Duck à L’orange, Caramelised Endives, Salade Verte and Paris Mash with a 2012 Château du Cèdre Malbec, you can't go wrong.
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins
You didn't think we'd forgotten the desserts, did you? Sofitel Melbourne on Collins will be serving the most Instagram-worthy éclairs this Bastille Day. With flavours such as lemon meringue pie, chocolate and raspberry, pistachio, mango and passionfruit, violet and vanilla, and Nutella, it's going to be sweet-tooth heaven. Grab six éclairs and your choice of espresso coffee, hot chocolate or loose leaf tea, for $24.
One of our favourite French spots will be taking you on a culinary Tour de France this Friday 14 July, with a six-course menu taking in six regions. Tour Dusseldorf, Alsace, Burgundy, Bergerac, Northern Rhone and Paris without the jet lag, from 7pm. $99 per person, or $139 with regional wine matching.
Classic French drinks and chic aperitif? Head to L'Hotel Gitan for Aperitif Hour this Bastille Day from 4pm to 6pm with $2 Oysters, $10 Lillet or Aperol Spritz, and $12 NV Billecart-Salmon. A votre santé!
Why not celebrate Fete Nationale with the green fairy? Absinthe Salon will be serving flights of French absinthe (and one Australian absinthe) in the French colours of blue, white and red. Yep, you'd better believe you'll be Instagramming that blue and red absinthe!
If you'd like to complete the French experience, why not hit up one of their uber-chic labels in your own hometown? You don't have to fly to Paris to look Parisienne. Well known mainstays Maje and Sandro (both located in St Collins Lane, Chadstone, and David Jones Bourke St) will deliver what you're looking for.
If something a little more street-chic is what you have in mind, APC (QV Melbourne) and The Kooples (St Collins Lane, Chadstone) might suit you better.
Going high end? Treat yo'self at Chanel or Louis Vuitton on Collins. Looking for something you can spend less than $50 on? L’Occitane will deliver French beauty and pampering at a more affordable price point.
Not in a French mood this week? Well, here's everything else to do in Melbourne this week.
Image credit: Syracuse