Matilda Marseillaise turns 4 today! Since its beginnings in 2017, the website has grown to be the most comprehensive resource for all things French and Francophone in Australia. It is the only bilingual website in Australia covering French and Francophone culture which is read by French people, French speakers and Francophiles alike. Indulge us as we take a look back over some highlights of the last 4 years.
There have been festivals big and small and if there’s any French link in there, we’ve covered it. From French speaking artists performing at WOMADelaide (how we miss that festival and really hope perhaps it can make a full return in 2022), Sydney and Adelaide Festivals.
French markets and festivals
While COVID-19 has unfortunately seen the cancellation of many events, in earlier years the various Bastille Day festivals around Australia were wonderful events celebrating French culture, food and wine.
Paris to Provence, So Frenchy So Chic, Le Festival, Bonjour Barossa, Bonjour Perth and Shark Bay Rendezvous, and newest of them all Auburn Frenchfest, are just a few of the French festivals we’ve covered over the last 4 years.
Food and traditions
The annual article about where you can purchase a Galette des Rois has become one of the most popular articles for the year, ranking high in searches from December well before it’s Galette des Rois time.
Similarly, each year we’ve shared where to buy the Buche de Noel, and how and where to celebrate Bastille Day around Australia.
When most of the Eastern states were in lockdown, articles about French food delivery/take-away promoted the French hospitality industry in Australia and encouraged people to support local. Matilda Marseillaise has also interviewed founders of French businesses offering food delivery boxes (lockdown or not) such as raclette, canelés and more.
We’ve helped you celebrate the French November tradition of Beaujolais Nouveau with information not only about the day but key information on where to sample it in Australia.
Matilda Marseillaise has explored French wine varietals through a series of articles looking at their origins, characteristics, synonyms (some are known by up to 100 different names!). We have regularly engaged with French wine importers in Australia giving them the opportunity to recommend French wines of particular varietals.
And you can’t speak of French wine without speaking about champagne. We’ve spoken about champagne in many ways – champagne festivals, champagne tastings, champagne recommendations, an interview with a champagne brand ambassador, as well as champagne facts and some famous champagne quotes.
French spirits and liqueurs
We’ve also brought you stories about cognac, crème de menthe, chartreuse, absinthe, anisette, even vodka and gin! We’ve interviewed spirits importer, Mikael Gillard of Mind Spirits & Co and engaged with spirits importers to bring you recommendations for the various day celebrating spirits and liqueurs.
Matilda Marseillaise has interviewed both the current and the former Artistic Directors of the Alliance Française French Film Festival. During lockdown, articles about which screening platforms had which French films from past festivals proved very popular. Reviews of French films get a nouvelle vague of popularity when the films come onto TV and streaming services. The review of the 2018 film “Two is a family” (Demain tout commence) is still getting many hits 3 years on. Last year’s review of the AFFFF film “Roxane” is also popular again.
You’ve discovered French language films showing at other international film festivals in Australian cities, such as the Adelaide Film Festival, Brisbane International Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival and the more niche Jewish International Film Festival, even the Children’s International Film Festival.
Matilda Marseillaise has interviewed curators of major international art shows with French works including the Musée d’Orsay’s Paul Perrin for the Art Gallery of South Australia’s Colours of Impressionism, the National Gallery of Victoria’s Pip Wallis for the Camille Henrot: is Today Tomorrow exhibition and Meg Slater for French Impressionism: From the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
We’ve also published interviews about the influences of French impressionism on Australian artists including John Russell (in the context of the exhibition of his works at the Art Gallery of New South Wales) and in relation to the more recent She-oak and sunlight: Australian impressionism exhibition. Matilda Marseillaise has highlighted the seascapes of French-Australian artist Guy Trinquet.
Similarly, Matilda Marseillaise has written about exhibition on screen, a series of cinematic films about exhibitions, galleries and artists, in particular the film Degas: Passion for Perfection
We’ve also told you about art evenings of a different kind with Talking the Arts, engaging dialogues around artists who changed the world run by Corinne Estrada in Sydney.
We’ve interviewed some of the big names in the French music world including Chico from The Original Gypsies (part of The Gipsy Kings original formation), Youssou N’Dour (7 seconds with Neneh Cherry remains one of our favourites), the fabulous Caroline Nin who was a singing star at The Lido for many a year, and Féfé (who is always popular with the crowds at So Frenchy So Chic) to name just a few.
We’ve spoken to Australian Faux-French musical sensation Baby et Lulu a few times, most recently about their newly released crowd-funded third album aptly named Album Trois. Local Adelaide singer Sunitra chatted with us about her cheekily named ensemble Mélange à Trois. We’ve brought you an interview with Brisbane based, French led group MZAZA and taken you ballooning over Paris with Sydney based Goldfynch.
Theatre, circus and dance
We’ve interviewed French and francophone touring artists across circus, theatre, and dance. Thomas Hubener, acrobat from Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS: Cabinet of Curiosities and Vincent Deplance from Cirque du Soleil’s TORUK: The First Flight. The acrobat come circus director from Le Nouveau Cirque de Vietnam spoke with us about their production Lang Toi at Perth Festival. Quirky Quebecois Cirque Alfonse chatted about their shows at Adelaide Fringe.
We’ve shared with you circuses of a different kind with Cie Carabosse talking about its breathtaking fire installation Fire Gardens. We chatted with Compagnie Archibald Caramantran about its giant marionettes it was bringing to WOMADelaide.
Matilda Marseillaise chatted with Jean-Pierre Hadida about his musical Madiba, Chris Mouron who adapted iconic book The Little Prince for stage ahead of its Sydney Opera House season this year, and Aurélie Lannoy from OzAsia Fest production £¥€$ (LIES).
We also interviewed the French and francophone people behind other modern theatre productions Julie Tenret from Cie Focus about important and compelling theatre Dimanche and Michèle Anne De Mey from Kiss & Cry Collective about mesmerising show Cold Blood both of which had Australian premieres at Adelaide Festival
We’ve covered dance of both the classic and more modern types. We told you about the French company Ballet Preljocaj’s ballet production Snow White. We spoke with Valentine Nagata-Ramos, breaker, choreographer and dancer, Lady Rocks, Parisian all-female break group and French choreographer Anne Nguyen about her show Kata.
Matilda Marseillaise has also highlighted local French language theatre troupes including Adelaide’s Panache French Theatre, Brisbane French Theatre ahead of their production next month and improv theatre in Melbourne, The French Loop.
Matilda Marseillaise is excited to be celebrating 4 years engaging with the French, Francophone and Francophile communities and looks forward to the next 4! It’s not a good week in Franco-Australian relations (more about that later this week) but we hope to rebuild the bridge.
What have been your highlights of our last 4 years? Is there anything you’d like us to write about? How did you first discover the Matilda Marseillaise website?