La Grande Rue

June 20, 2009 suesbent
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High Street Armadale and Prahran in Melbourne have many stores claiming French qualities. la_grande_rue

 These shops sell food, home decor, antiques, clothing, art and more. It is a trendy area that aims for wealthy customers. The “French” stores are intermingled easily amongst Italian, Korean, modern, eclectic and others. If you have spare cash you can certainly find something unique here.euro_patisserie

I had a coffee and a shepherd’s pie at the Euro Patisserie and later a slice of lemon tart and a hot chocolate at a place simply called French Patisserie. None of the people serving in these cafes were French and I felt no “Frenchness” in the experience.

The stores I visited were Durance en Provence, Parterre, L’imperiale Fine French Antiques, and Gaudion Furniture. Durance en Provence offered clothing, soaps, perfume, shoes, and more from France. Parterre sells modern furniture and household items suitable for the modern minimalist style. L’imperiale Fine French Antiques is perfect if you would like to decorate your home in the style of the Versailles Palace and if you have the bank account of the famous Louis’s.

gaudionsOf all the places I visited the place that made me smile happily was Gaudion Furniture. Expensive and exclusive French style furniture was artfully arranged in the old building. I followed old wooden stairs down and back into the shop, then outside, across a small courtyard and up another staircase to a rear room. Back in the main building I went upstairs to other rooms. Lamps adorned with crystals sat on large wooden sideboards. Large framed mirrors reflected and multiplied the treasures. Wooden tables filled the space and fabric covered cushions offered comfort and warmth.

A sign on the door stated that photography was not welcome. It is a pity because it could be good advertising for them. They must be afraid someone will steal “their” ideas. Too late for that I think because French style is being spruiked everywhere.

tiger_cafe_prahranI finished my Saturday morning excursion at Greville Street Prahran. This street is known for its ultra trendy alternative style. It has been frequented over the decades by poor art students and it used to be the place to buy cheap second hand clothing, furniture and knick-knacks. Now it has been claimed by the people trying to cash in on the trendy culture. The op shops have gone and the cafes are stylish and were full of people looking for that little bit of something different away from the brightly-lit shopping centres and fast food outlets. We all crave that unique experience I guess.


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