10 tips for surviving Australia Day in Paris

Friday, January 25, 2013

So, you've just landed in Paris and don't know a soul... Or all your Skippy friends have skipped across the channel to a Walkabout in London... Or you happen to be passing through on holiday... And you find yourself spending glorious January 26 in the French capital with no idea how to reveal in awesome Aussie spirit? Here are ten tips on how to paint Paris green and gold this Saturday.

1. Start the day with a flat white near you.

For your morning caffeine-fix à la Australie consult the blog of Aussie transplant Jesse Walker. When Jesse, hailing from NSW's Blue Mountains, isn't studying science at one of Paris' top universities he's scouring the 75 for the city's best caffeinated brews and reports on the good, the bad and the amazing. His blog 'Good coffee in Paris' may be only one month old but already he's hit up a dozen of the best new-coffee-age cafés the city has to offer and after posting up his brilliantly detailed reviews and pics he pops their locations on this snazzy map to benefit those crying for a decent crème.

2. Dress the part.
Image: http://martingrantparis.com/
Once fit to face the day post-coffee, don your Aussie best. I am most definitely not referring to a pair of pluggas, stubbies and a wife-beater. Sporting these items of the "Australian uniform" on the streets of the world's fashion capital will surely not bid you a warm welcome - and I'm not even alluding to the 0ºC weather forecasted. How then does one look stylish while staying true blue? By seeking out ex-Melburnian Martin Grant's eponymous label at the grand department store 'Le Bon Marché'. Designing on antipodean soil for more than 20 years Martin Grant epitomises quintessential sophisticated Parisian elegance, however his homeland connections are as strong as ever since it was announced he will be the next designer bestowed the privilege of updating Qantas' newest uniforms, set to launch 2014. 

Martin Grant at Le Bon Marché
24, rue de Sévres, 7e
Open Mon - Sat 10h - 20h, - 21h Thurs and Fri
Martin Grant website

3. Make your home smell like home
Image: http://diptyqueparis.fr/
While on the Rive Gauche, stroll down to 34 Boulevard Saint Germain and visit the beautiful Parisian candle store Diptyque. Amongst its collection of the world's most heavenly scented candles is a range perfumed by the floral scent of Australian mimosa. Nothing is more charming that a burning Diptyque candle in the home and it makes the perfect chic souvenir while the smell will soothe any homesickness you may be enduring on Australia Day.

34, Boulevard Saint-Germain, 5e
Open Mon - Sat 10h - 19h

4. Bush tucker for lunch

When three friends decided there was no place like home to sit and have a decent cup of coffee in Paris, the Tuck Shop was born. Located in a very culturally-diverse part of town, stepping into Tuck Shop will transport you to a tranquil, homey neighbourhood café one might find at Leura in the Blue Mountains or Springbrook on the Gold Coast's Hinterland. Branches of eucalyptus and vintage toys decorate shelves of books and magazines, and while the cafe is completely vegetarian, the sweet girls who run Tuck Shop prepare enough fresh and creative sandwiches, soups and scones each morning to satisfy the most demanding of hunger pains. Coupled with their own blend of Coutume coffee or yummy caffeine-free LSD (latte, soy and dandelion) tea, it's impossible to walk out without feeling content and revitalised.
Tuck Shop
13, rue Lucien Sampaix, 10e
Open Tues - Fri: 9h - 17h, Sat + Sun 11h - 19h

5. Take in some traditional Aboriginal art

'Rainbow Serpent' by the Pintupi People. Image: http://quaibranly.fr/
Walk off lunch by perusing some traditional Australian art at the Mussée du Quai Branly. Situated around the corner from the Australian Embassy, the Quai Branly, the first and only museum of its kind in Paris, showcases indigenous art from the ancient civilisations of the world including Oceania, and features over 40 items of traditional Aboriginal arts and weaponry. When you're done, check out the Quai Branly's terrace café's magnificent view of its neighbour, the Eiffel Tower.
Musée du Quai Branly
37, Quai Branly, 7e
Sun - Wed: 11h - 19h, Thurs - Sat: 11 - 21h

6. Pick up an Aussie afternoon snack

Behind the unassuming glass doors of a building down very nondescript Latin Quarter street hides a treasure trove of goodies and memorabilia from Australia and its Pacific cousins. While the store full of keepsakes like boomerangs and road signs that you may not have much use for, it does stock Australian culinary staples such as Tim Tams, Vegemite and a great deal of decent Australian wine.

The AustraliaNZ Shop
4, rue Domat, 5e
Mon - Fri 9h - 19h, Sat:10h - 18h

7. Arvo' session at the pub.

Image: http://cafe-oz.com/ © Diane Robertson Photography
No 'Australia in Paris' round up would be complete with out a mention of Café Oz - The Australian Bar. With four location in Paris, the largest and grandest situated adjacent to the Denfert-Rochereau RER station, Café Oz has become the 'go-to' place for expatriates living in Paris wanting a taste of home and Frenchies wanting to drink Aussie-style along side them. Head there for a bottle of Coopers Pale Ale, served with a "No worries, Mate" and cheery smile, and sit back on one of the biggest beer gardens in the city, no doubt to be full of Australians on January 26.

Image: http://cafe-oz.com/ © Diane Robertson Photograph
Café Oz - The Australian Bar
3, place Denfert-Rochereau, 14e
Everyday 12h - 2h

8. Dine on French fare prepared with no-frills Australian attitude

Everything about 'Au Passage' screams little neighbourhood French bistro. But then you see a tell-tale empty bottle of Coopers on the bar back, next to a little jar of Vegemite, and your lips curl into a knowing grin. Since opening one and a half years ago Au Passage has played host to two Aussie chefs, both mates, both partial to amazing fresh produce prepared to play up the textures and flavours of each dish instead of the plate itself. Every day the menu at Au Passage changes dependent on what current chef, Australian import Shaun Kelly, finds that morning at the market and he'll write up each offering for lunch and dinner on the chalkboards scattered between the tables. While there being no menu, there is a six page wine list; not that you really need to refer to it as Au Passage's French waiters know their wines well and are happy to suggest the best pairing to your meal.

Au Passage
1bis, passage de Saint-Sebastien, 11e
Open lunch + dinner Mon - Fri, dinner only Sat, closed Sun.

9. Finish with some moonshine

Run by two larrikins of brothers, but the friendliest guys you'll ever come across, prohibition-style bar 'The Bootleg' is the latest joint to join Bastille's late-night bar scene. The Bootleg may be reminiscent of an underground New York speak-easy, but the Australian accents wafting over the beer taps and The Cat Empire playing over the sound system will remind you that this place is very much an expat bar, and a very popular and celebrated at that, in part due to co-owner and soul of the place, Damian 'Damo' Tither. Damo has the knack for making everyone that walks into the place instantly feel at home and also for making the best dirty martini you'll ever have. To finish your Australia Day crooning to "You're the voice" end up here.

The Bootleg
55, rue de la Roquette, 11e
Everyday 17h - 2h

And to finish, a non-Parisian suggestion...
10. Go for a bush walk

Flashy yachts and tote-swinging tanned blondes are likely to spring to mind when one thinks of the south of France. However, heading west away from the La La Land of Cannes and Nice into the Var region of Provence, where all the towns' names are hyphenated and positioned on the one road, you will notice, in the depths of the vrai sud, bushes of mimosa as tall as houses and eucalyptus trees that seem to touch the sky. Actually, you're likely to smell them first. Despite being completely native to Australia, Mimosa - or Wattle as Aussies know it - and Eucalyptus have more than thrived in their Mediterranean habitat since being introduced to the south of France in the early 1800's. Early spring sees many towns holding their own 'Fête du Mimosa' festivities and bunches of fluffy yellow flowers in front of every florist. To grow eucalyptus in the backyard is dream undertaking by many a French gardener. It's so very surreal to see flora from home so far from home, growing as though it has always been there. It'll transport you straight to the Australian bush, some 17,000 kilometres away.

What ever you do, have a good one Saturday. Happy Australia Day!

**This post is otherwise entitled 'Aussies doing good in Paris!'


  1. I love it that Mimosas are called Wattle in Australia. In a backwards - Paris to Australia kind of way - you make me want to visit your homeland!

    1. Oh, please do. There's so much to see. But maybe only if I'm there, so I can show you around! xx

  2. Whats new for Australia Day 2015!?? We are going to be arriving 24th til 28th.

    1. Hi Nick, not too sure as yet myself, but the Aussie expats in Paris group might organise something fun; https://www.facebook.com/groups/2379948429/?fref=ts