A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
More French than a baguette spread with Camembert cheese
After a classic Melbourne afternoon of torrential rain and thunderstorms on Saturday, the gods of bonhomie shone on So Frenchy So Chic in the Park 2018 the following day to give us an afternoon of abundant sunshine for the event. Werribee Park Mansion provided an imposing backdrop for the setting, its vast grounds offering ample space for the large contingent of attendees.
French music, bubbly and food feature at this outdoor event
If you're not familiar with the So Frenchy So Chic format, it is an event that embraces everything French, in an open-air, bring your own picnic rug and or (low) folding chairs environment.
Scenes from the day; French champagne is available in abundance
Patrons are encouraged to show a little French flair in their choice of attire (though this is optional). It may be a striped t-shirt, a flouncy linen dress, a beret, or perhaps just a scarf worn with European style. Or, there are options onsite to help you adopt a more French look. For example, there is the braid bar, where your locks can be styled and flowers added to give you the appearance of having just stepped out of a cottage in provincial France.
Add some floral touches onsite
Regardless, the most important requirement is a spirit of fun and a willingness to embrace an afternoon of joyful entertainment. The live music is provided by French groups. The tempo and energy picked up as the afternoon went on; perhaps it was the group, or perhaps it was the consumption of champagne (yes, it was real champagne, naturellement). The musical verve went up a notch when LEJ hit the stage, and reached fever pitch when crowd favourite, afro-influenced rapper Féfé made his appearance. The surge of patrons towards the stage when Féfé walked on was something to behold, and he soon had them joining him, in song and dance. You can get an idea of Féfé's style here:
I didn't stay for the final act of the night - General Elektriks - but I have no doubt the crowd would have been jumping.
So Frenchy So Chic is not all about the music, however, with the stomachs of patrons also well catered for. If you want to avoid the effort of wandering around the grounds and making the tough decision of which food to buy from the various food tents onsite (think beautiful French cheeses, oysters, fondue, ice-cream and bread from Gontran Cherrier), you can pre-order a hamper from the available selection. I didn't order one of these, but they actually looked pretty good value for money. The 'picnic hamper for one', for example, includes six items for $38 (vegetarian, non-vegetarian and gluten-free options available). Or select a cheese or charcuterie platter for two for $33.50.
Pre-order a hamper, choose from the delicious food available onsite, or bring your own food
You are also welcome to bring your own food (no metal cutlery permitted).
Pair your repast with a glass of Laurent Perrier champagne ($15) and settle in to enjoy the entertainment. (Beers, wines and cocktails also available.) (Note that is this is a fully licensed event, you cannot BYO alcohol.)
One of the many things to impress me about this event was that it attracted and catered for patrons of all ages. Children aged 12 and under are admitted free, and there is a kids' zone with a range of activities.
I felt Werribee Park was a great venue for this event - particularly because of the vast amount of space available. If you wanted a quieter spot - so you could still hear the music but also converse - then it was easy to find a place, perhaps under the shade of the huge trees a little away from the action.
The organisation of this event was first-rate, right down to the car parking on the grounds, which was handled with military precision.
Overall, So Frenchy So Chic in the Park is a fun, friendly event, suitable for the whole family. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there, and are already looking forward to a return visit in 2019.
Sydney folk do not have to wait so long, with So Frenchy So Chic Sydney taking place on Saturday 20th January at Federal Park, Glebe. For more information about the event, and to buy tickets for So Frenchy So Chic Sydney, click here.
The images in this article were taken by the writer and are not to be reproduced without permission.