| BNE July/August 2016
here are you from?
I was born in Charleville-Mézières in the north
east of France on the border with Belgium, in
the Champagne-Ardennes region.
How long have you lived in Brisbane?
I arrived in Australia 21 years ago as an
international student. As part of my final year
of a Master’s degree in International Business I
had to work at a company outside Europe. I did
work experience then was offered a job and I
have been here ever since. I now live in Chapel
Hill, less than 10km west of the CBD.
What do you like most about your
‘Ardennes’ comes from the Celtic word Ar-
Denn meaning ‘forest’, so what I like most
about Chapel Hill is that it is close to the
Mount Coot-tha forest. I can go for walks with
my family at any time. It is a quiet suburb but
very close to the busy Indooroopilly restaurants
and shops, and to the university at St Lucia.
Any great finds in the neighbourhood that
only locals would know?
We love Julia’s Pantry (Shop 4, 2051 Moggill
Road, Kenmore) which has delicious home-
made food. We are lucky also to have a small
coffee place around the corner, Dennis’
Espressivo Coffee Bar (14 Wongabel Street,
Kenmore) for early morning coffees in the
sun. We also buy all our ‘charcuterie’ from
Adam’s Continental Smallgoods (206 Cobalt
Street, Carole Park). It’s not really in our
neighbourhood but it is so European. You can
hear people speak Yugoslavian, German … and
the smell … yum. It’s worth the drive.
What do you love about Brisbane?
The daily blue sky, all the green vegetation and
the wild birds, the cleanliness and the relaxed
feeling in spite of the fact that it is a big city
with lots of activities and people.
The schools our children attend (Rainworth
State School and Indooroopilly State School,
which offers an International Baccalaureate)
teach students how to love learning and put
effort into their schooling. Rainworth is like
a country school in a big city. It has great
outdoor facilities (it even has its own garden)
and students have access to opera, theatre and
writers. They are very open to all extracurricular
activities and at the same time do extremely
well academically. The best of all worlds.
How do you think Brisbane has changed
since you have been here?
You can now drink fantastic coffees anywhere
(no more kettle and instant coffee at meetings)
and eat delicious food anywhere, in any café in
any suburb (not just Chiko Rolls for lunch).
More seriously, Brisbane is now the hub for
more international events (G20, for example)
and expos and live shows. The number of
people here has almost doubled. We now know
what a traffic jam is!
You’re the director of Brisbane French
Festival. How did it start?
It all started in 2010 with a drink at my place
with Damien Hubert (then director of Alliance
Française) and Sue McGary (director of French
Affair). We called all French organisations
in Brisbane to ask them to be part of the
organising committee and we created the not-
for-profit association Brisbane French Festival.
How has the festival changed since then?
It has been a huge success from the first year
and this year artists are coming from interstate
and overseas (France and New Caledonia). It
has grown from a one-day event to a three-day
festival and leads into the first French Week in
Brisbane this year from 8 to 16 July.
What are some festival highlights this year?
Masterclasses in gastronomy, champagne and
wines, a Daft Punk tribute band on Saturday
evening and a raffle first prize of two Air
France return tickets to Paris, with four nights
accommodation in Château de Cadillac
courtesy of Bordeaux and Beyond.
Where do you find the best coffee and
croissants in Brisbane?
Crust & Company Artisan Baking (140
Edmonstone Street, Newmarket), without
hesitation. Then you take all the
home for a family treat.
Who are some of your favourite French
Monsieur Macaron (at Les Folies de Paris, 97
Kennigo Street, Spring Hill or at the markets
) and my
top buys at markets are always the ‘saucisson’
from Philippe Déliss (from West End markets
every Saturday or the Jan Power Farmers
Markets in the city every Wednesday at
Reddacliff Place) and goats cheese by Camille
Mortaud from Gympie Farm Cheese.
Do you have a favourite French restaurant?
All year round the French Food Shop (356
Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley) is simple