Would you run the 15000 of Australia’s coastline? Frenchman Christophe Vissant is going to.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Christophe Vissant, a Frenchman from near Marseille is going to come to Australia in October to undertake an unbelievable challenge – run around Australia by doing the equivalent of two marathons each day (84 kilometres per day) over 180 days and without a rest day. We spoke to him about this challenge before he leaves France later this week.


At the end of this month, you are coming to Australia to run around its coast over 180 days. Are you crazy?!

Absolutely not, just privileged to be able to run so many kilometres around Australia like my previous challenges.


We consider that it is impossible to run so many kilometres because we have in our head that running is FAST, FAST, always FAST.


Me on the contrary, I run slowly but for a longtime, a very longtime and I am in harmony with my body and my spirit and with the flora and fauna and the people that we meet around the world.


We all have the tendency to believe that many things are impossible because our society prevents us from overcoming it. The human spirit is exceptional, you just need to want something to be able to make it happen.


You survived a diving accident from which the Doctors weren’t sure that you were going to be able to walk again. Tell us about that.


A second birth. April 2003 in SHARM EL SHEIKH in Egypt

I could have seen Australia by travelling by plane like everyone else but I would have betrayed the promised that I made to a sea turtle in 2003 in the Red Sea, where I was the victim of a terrible decompression accident.


I spent a whole week in a hyperbaric chamber. The Doctors’ prognosis was not reassuring. If the small nitrogen bubble stuck in my inner ear travelled towards my brain, they envisaged hemiplegia or at worse, tetraplegia.


In my dreams, between delirium and pain, this famous sea turtle that crossed my path a few minutes before my accident whispers over and over “If you really believe in your dream, it will come true.”


Since then I regained use of my legs. Since then, I haven’t stopped running after my dream, to run around Australia and run to the Great Barrier Reef.


Have you always run?

No absolutely not, I even hated running because I was a footballer and when you’re a footballer, you prefer to dribble, kick goals, juggle but not run.



Is your family going to come to Australia with you?

Yes my daughter Marie is taking care of all communication and she will be with me for the first three months and the last. Then, of course, at the finishing line, everyone will meet up with me.


Why Australia?

Australia is a myth, a dream, a legendary place. It’s the largest island in the word, country of excess, this “island continent” offers striking disparate landscapes, between ultramodern mega cities and wild country where the pioneer spirit reigns.


It’s been my dream since I was little.


I have travelled the world a lot, but each time that I wanted to go to Australia it didn’t happen, either I didn’t want to go on a well-oiled, organised tour, without any surprises for fear of being disappointed. Exploring the country by running is a unique chance to discover this continent, its people, its culture, its flora and fauna.


You can follow my progress day by day on the website and social media, thanks to the latest drone technology, exceptional images will allow the discovery of an infinite number of marvels in a magnificent settling combining the beauty of this continent with the mysteries of her immensity.


You’re going to run the equivalent of 2 marathons each day for 180 days without a day of rest. How are you going to take care to not get sick?!

No right to get sick because there is no rest day.


Not falling sick is very easy because of the assistance I will have with me, my 4 followers will whisper to me to change when it rains or when the conditions are bad and especially to do everything in their power to make sure I recuperate in the best conditions. Their role is essential.


Without them, I wouldn’t get there, a solo race for a team victory. I will also be followed by my sports Dr at distance and on site.


Do you realise that you are going to take this on during our Summer months!?

Yes!!! But at least, I will avoid some of the difficulties of the Northern Territory (heavy rain) I know what to expect of the tropical climate. Fortunately, I live by Marseille, so I know heat and heatwaves. That doesn’t mean that I won’t have to be careful with flies and my biggest danger snakes, kangaroos, spiders, etc.


What do you do in life apart from running?

I run after sponsors!!


I am a postal worker, I train postmen and I also lead conferences in excelling yourself.


I also enjoy my beautiful region of the Mediterranean.


Do you have a team here?

Yes the Embassy in Canberra is mobilised, and I have partners in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Brisbane. I will often be welcomed by bilingual school groups or musicians to host me in the Australian capital cities.


You can follow Christophe Vissant’s adventure live on the website https://www.australianchallengetour.com/ He will start his challenge leaving from the Sydney Opera House on 15 October.

Matilda Marseillaise turns 1 today!

Reading Time: 8 minutes

On 22 September 2017, Matilda Marseillaise was born. In the 12 months since her birth, she has taken you across Australia in research of all things French and francophone.

So in this article, we look back over her first year.


At the festival

Matilda Marseillaise has told you which shows you must see at arts festivals in all parts of Australia. She has written about MOFO in Tasmania, the festivals of WOMADelaide, Adelaide Festival and the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Sydney Fringe Festival and Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Matilda has also spoken to you about French festivals happening around the country like the Sunshine Coast French Festival, the Bastille Festival Sydney, the Bastille Festival Melbourne, Le Festival in Brisbane, Bonjour Barossa, the Adelaide French Festival and Shark Bay Rendezvous and So Frenchy So Chic – the festival which celebrates la joie de vivre française.



Linked to these festivals, Matilda Marseillaise has brought you interviews with musicians, a puppeteer, and theatre directors, among others. She has spoken with people both well-known as well as those not as well-known but equally interesting. She has interviewed francophones from across a diverse range of domains such as Paul Perrin from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Kiya Tabassian, founder and director of the ensemble, Constantinople, Dimitar Gugov from the group Violons Barbares from Canada, Melanie Walters who played “La Flute de Pan” at Adelaide Fringe Festival, the Canadian comedian Al LaFrance who spoke about his show “I think I’m Dead” and  Ronnie Burkett, Canadian puppeteer about his show “The Daisy Theatre” which played at Sydney Festival.


There were also an interviews about perfume with Samantha from The Powder Room who led Masterclasses on the subject at the Adelaide French Festival; the singer Abby Dobson from the group Baby et Lulu; Frédérique Cournoyer Lessard, the French aerial circus artist from Club Swizzle; Féfé who played at So Frenchy So Chic 2018. Matilda has also spoken with the principal ballerina from Ballet Preljocacj, a French ballet company, who was in Australia for their version of Snow White which played in Melbourne and in Sydney.

The evil Queen in Snow White – image by Jean Claude Carbonne


Eating and drinking

There have also been festivals all about food and drink offerings: Effervescence champagne festival , Moët Grand Day also on the subject; Masterclasses and other events from the Tasting Australia program and Good France, the worldwide French dinner.

At the movies

On a cultural note, she has spoken to you about French and francophone films at the Sydney Film Festival and at the Alliance Française French Film Festival. She has spoken to you about an Australian film about life in France “Life is a very strange thing”, and about a film starring Omar Sy: Two is a Family. She had the pleasure of sharing her experiences of watching the film “Les Triplettes de Belleville” with the sounds reproduced live with Benoît Charest and his Terrible Orchestre de Belleville.


There was a lot more than film soundtrack to entertain our ears over the last 12 months. Matilda was lucky enough to interview the renowned Youssou N’Dour, who came to Australia for a concert at the Sydney Opera House and also for BluesFest. She has listened to and spoken with Australian artists who play French or French inspired music: Mélange à Trois, Baby et Lulu, and the very original Coconut Kids who translated Australian classic pub songs into French for their Adelaide Fringe show “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oui, Oui, Oui”. Well-known Australian singer Gotye presented a tribute to the Belgian Jean-Jacques Perrey at Sydney Festival. Caroline Nin took us on a trip to the Paris Lido with her show “Songs and Stories of the Paris Lido” that she performed at the Adelaide French Festival.

Youssou Ndour sitting on a step looking to camera


Francophone musicians from all around the world came for WOMADelaide, with Constantinople, the Violons Barbares and Lura among them.  Malian musicians Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba, played to a very enthusiastic crowd at the Sydney Festival.

Violons Barabares perform at WOMADelaide in March 2018. Image by Matilda Marseillaise


Matilda got to speak with French rapper Féfé while he was in Australia performing “showcases” to publicise So Frenchy So Chic 2018.


For a more theatrical kind of music, there was also Bizet’s opera “The Pearl Fishers” performed by the State Opera of South Australia.


Matilda was lucky enough to see Ballet Preljocacj’s production of “Snow White”, which played at the Sydney Opera House and in Melbourne. For a ballet with an even larger difference, crowds were treated to Gratte Ciel’s aerial ballet “Place des Anges” which covered WOMADelaide in tons of white feathers.


Let’s run away to the circus

Place des Anges, was a show of quasi ballet, quasi circus which leads nicely into other physical performances such as  “Club Swizzle” and the Cirque de Soleil’s arena spectacular “Toruk – The First Flight” inspired by James Cameron’s film “Avatar”. Matilda got to speak with francophone performers from these shows.


A night at the theatre

There was also theatre with Camus’ Caligula performed in English, “The Great War” a Dutch show based on letters from a French soldier in the trenches during the war. The show “The Far Side of the Moon” impressed us with its innovative set and Yves Jacques’ talent performing alone on stage during the entire show. We learned about the story of the very interesting Julie d’Aubigny, in the show “Deviant Women – Julie d’Aubigny”. And we got to see a puppet show that was most definitely not for children with the show “The Daisy Theatre” by Canadian Ronnie Burkett at the Sydney Festival.

Schnitzel from “The Daisy Theatre” ready for bed. Image by Prudence Upton

Schnitzel from “The Daisy Theatre” ready for bed. Image by Prudence Upton


Just for laughs!

We laughed at French-speaking or faux French comedians such as Al La France with his show “I think I’m Dead”, Marcel Lucont, and the show Cyranose, from which we spoke to Richard Maritzer, all of which performed at the Adelaide Fringe.


John Russell ‘Mrs Russell among the flowers in the garden of Goulphar, Belle-Île’ 1907 oil on canvas 79 x 100 cm Musée d’Orsay, Paris, held by the Musée de Morlaix, bequest of Mme Jouve 1948 “John Russell, Australia’s French impressionist” exhibition.



There weren’t just performing arts either. Impressionist art was prominent in exhibitions in Australia. There was the very well received “Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay” which was in Adelaide for 4 months and we got to speak with Paul Perrin, one of the exhibition curators from the Musée d’Orsay the day before the exhibition opened. Currently on in Sydney, another French impressionist art exhibition is on but this time, the paintings are those of an Australian who studied and lived in France: “John Russell: Australia’s French Impressionist”.

Claude Monet: La Pie which was shown in Adelaide for the Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay exhibition


We also got to speak with Camille Chaumette and Agnès Mabille, exhibition curators while they were in Australia for the small exhibition of paintings by French photographer Michael Setboun. The photos comprised his “Paris Dark Light” exhibition and stayed in Adelaide for the weekend of the Adelaide French Festival in January.

France. Paris. 4th district. quai d Orleans along the seine river , on saint louis island. in the distance Notre dame Cathedral / Quai d orleans sur l ile saint Louis,


Another important exhibition of French works was that of Cartier: The Exhibition, which was on at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra for a few months. Cartier Jewels dazzled the crowds.

HM Queen Elizabeth II
(wearing the Cartier diamond necklace
gift from the Nizam of Hyderabad for her wedding in 1947), 1953


Special days

Matilda Marseillaise helped you celebrate the special days such as La Chandeleur and La Galette des Rois as well as the French, Belgian and Swiss National Holidays (sorry Québécois – I will include yours next year!) She also shared ideas for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day.


Let’s drink champagne

And because no celebration is complete without champagne, Matilda let you know about all the events on the subject. She spoke to you about Champagne Fest at the National Wine Centre and of her experiences at its masterclasses. Matilda told you how and where to celebrate the Grand Moët Day in Sydney and Melbourne. She invited you to diners with a champagne focus such as the Mumm and Perrier-Jouet dinner or festivals which celebrate champagne like Effervescence which was on last month.

Champagnes and Sparkling wines enjoyed at the Masterclass at Champagne Fest 2017



And if we have champagne, then we also have wine, and events or even just places dedicated to it. Matilda spoke to you about the event comparing New and Old World wines, a night celebrating rosé called 15 Shades of Rosé and Rosé Royale, a bar dedicated to rose-tinted wine which opened in Sydney last year – and she spoke to its founder. More recently, Matilda encouraged you to try the new French cocktail inspired range from Australian brand Sofi Spritz.


The World Cup

And Matilda told you where to catch all of the French or Belgian World Cup Matches – even if they were played in the middle of the night Australian time. And of course, we all know that France won, which gave us yet another reason to celebrate!


La cuisine française

French cuisine has also had its moment. Matilda has spoken to you about Good France – the worldwide French dinner and about French restaurants awarded among the top 500 Australian restaurants according to the Australian Financial Review.


What have been your favourite moments over the last year? What subjects would you be interested in reading about over the next year?