Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

French community feels ‘at home’ in Brisbane

Many in Brisbane’s French community say while France is a beautiful country, a ‘perfect climate’ and quality of life keeps them calling Australia home.

Nicole Marin, consular assistant at the Honorary French Consulate of  Brisbane who has lived  in Australia for 10 years says  she ”fell in love with Australia” the first time she came in 1990.

”I thought it was a wonderful country,” she said.

‘Positive culture’

Jean-Luc has lived for four years in Brisbane and says he likes “the lifestyle, the positive culture, the positive mind”.

“Australians always see half-filled glasses, whereas French would see the half-empty glass,” he said.

“I’ve never seen an Australian complaining or being negative … they are very positive people – I like that.”

Murielle Fitzgerald has been living in Brisbane since 2006 and is a French and English teacher.

She says she feels well integrated into Australia and even started running in the morning along the Brisbane river when she moved over.

She says she also enjoys the informal attitude of Australians.

“My friends are half French people, half Australian people,” she said.

No complaints

However, Ms Marin says people in Australia do not complain enough.

“It’s the opposite of France – in France everybody is complaining all the time about everything and that’s the opposite in Australia – nobody complains about anything,” she said.

Ms Marin also says Australia’s smaller population to France means less choices for products.

“You don’t have the same range of things in anything … I’ve got a limited choice in any products – that’s the difference,” she said.

“There’s less people so there is less things and less choices.”

Meanwhile, Ms Fitzgerald says she misses going to French bakeries and “buying nice French bread every day”.

“You can’t do that as often here … there are lots of French bakeries here but they are much more exepensive,” she said.

”Here if you want to find nice cheese you’ve got to go to specific shops, whereas if you go to Carrefour [hypermarket chain] you’ve got hundreds of different cheeses.”

Binge drinking

However, Ms Fitzgerald says Australia’s binge drinking culture is not for her.

“In Australia they tend to have a party just for the sake of wanting to be drunk, whereas French people have parties because they want to talk together and catch up and enjoy nice food,” she said.

“Here it’s really to get drunk – I don’t really like that.”

Ms Marin says she thinks Australians like anything French.

“Because they think we are sophisticated,” she said.

“When they think of France they think of fashion, beautiful wine, beautiful cheese, arts, history – all of these.”

Jean-Luc says every time he is in restaurant with Australians they will ask him to select the wine.

“So they have the image that we know – in terms of  food – what’s good and generally what good taste is,” he said.

Ms Fitzgerald says Australians see French people as very refined and fashionable.

“Wearing lots sorts of things [but] it’s not everyone who wears Chanel” she said.

‘We feel home’

Chistelle Luxford, a French and German teacher who has been in Australia for 10 years, says she finds  the quality of life in Australia higher than in Europe.

She says in Australia there is less violence, less unemployment and a better economical situation.

Louis Sultan, who has lived in Australia for 41 years, says while France is a beautiful country, he would rather stay in Brisbane.

“The climate is perfect, we feel home,” he said.

“We parade at the ANZAC day with the French flag and we make it seen.”