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| 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

food artisans?

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



Director, Brisbane

French Festival