Paris To Provence – Festival Francais de Melbourne

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The annual Paris To Provence festival celebrated it’s eighth year showcasing le joie di vivre at the historic Como House in South Yarra, Melbourne. Set over 3 days, the gorgeously picturesque Como House and its gardens come alive to the sound of piano accordions, french accents, wines from Bordeaux, bubbles from Champagne, fashion from Paris and food from Provence, and everywhere in between. The creation of Laura Rancie, this festival is as charming and welcoming as a quaint French village, which is exactly what the founder, along with food stall holders, wine merchants, musicians, artists and craftspeople have created at this much loved event.

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This was my fifth year attending, and despite the sweltering weather, we had a gorgeous time sipping champagne and downing beef bourguignon pies and provencial goat’s cheese tarts. We’ve experienced this event in the torrential downpour, ridiculous heat and perfect conditions, and its enjoyable each and every time. The atmosphere is truly spectacular – a fun, happy-go-lucky and enjoyable affair, even with a huge turnout of people. Paris To Provence is the kind of festival you can meander through, checking out stalls, buying food to eat or take home to savour later and discovering retail stores that stock wonderful pieces from France. Our favourites were, of course, the champagne bar serving GH Mumm, as well as La Brocante vintage homewares, La Parisienne Pâtés (that stock the most delectable duck and rabbit pies!), Simone Pérèle lingerie and the Stables at Como.

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The festival is also perfect for kids and pets – there are many fun French activities for the little ones and even a French Bulldog ‘Francey Dress‘ party! Plus ample grass for both human and furry babies to play on.

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A few things for the festival to note for future events: it looked like everyone would have loved some extra shade for relief from the 34 degree heat, so hopefully next year there will be a few more shady options for guests. The introduction of the Cannes Film Festival section was a good idea, but the mosquitoes thought otherwise! Hopefully next year will see that section of the festival grow, and perhaps a cinema inside the House could be the way to go. The animal farm was also a lovely idea, but the poor animals look hot, tired and in need of some shade and water themselves! The creation of a French farmyard complete with miniature barn, hay bales and umbrellas would be ever so darling – perhaps a thought for next year.

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The above suggestions aside, we thoroughly enjoyed the festival once again, and look forward to returning next year for some more French frivolities!

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