Thursday, February 1, 2024

From the President

 Hello everyone,

Our touristic, historical and gastronomic adventures continue, but the end of our journey is approaching and it is from our last destination in France, Cornouaille, a historical region on the west coast of Brittany, that I am writing this message. I hope you all had a wonderful festive season and that Santa spoilt you. I would like to take this opportunity to once again wish you a Happy New Year and all the best for 2024 and I hope that your New Year's resolutions include another year of membership with the Alliance Française de la Côte de Saphir.

A little birdie told me that the Coupe d’Antibes went very well, despite the absence of most of the committee members, due to holidays or a re-occurrence of Covid. Thanks to all the participants and to Patricia Dive (Trish) for the report and photos that you will find below.

This month's newsletter is packed with Frenchtastique (French & fantastic!) articles and news, including a very interesting article on the Musée d'Arromanches, the first museum built to commemorate 6 June 1944 (D-Day) and the Battle of Normandy, and an update on the repair work at Notre-Dame.

The first recipe of the year takes you to Normandy, but I can't hide the fact that the choice was very difficult, as Wal and I tasted so many good things during our holidays in France, breads, charcuterie, regional dishes, cider, pommeau des Charentes, cheeses, pastries and other delights, including sea spiders (araignée de mer).

You will have received Mike's email about our first event of the year, our traditional Welcome Party, so I look forward to seeing many of you on 10 February 2024.

Bien cordialement,


Friday, December 1, 2023

From the President

 Dear all,

It is from Germany, The Netherlands and France that I am writing to you this month; France where Wal and I will celebrate Christmas with my family, as well as my Mum’s 95th birthday and where we are looking for new stock!!! When I say “stock”, I am talking about ideas for our French Corner topics, films for our movie nights, articles and photos to take you on a stroll and, for the home cooks among us, a couple of classic, or not so classic, French dishes, so if you are planning to dazzle at your next dinner party, hopefully you will give these recipes a try.

On 9 November, 27 of our members attended the screening of The Kitchen Brigade and, judging by the applause at the end of the film, it was a great success. The film certainly has a political point of view, but it's also a funny and moving film and for those of you who couldn't make it to the screening, I highly recommend you borrow the DVD from our library (ask Rhonda if you don't know how).

I thought it would be useful, both for new members and to facilitate our encounters, to get to know our members better. So I would like to suggest that we use our "Coin Français/French Corner" to present biographies from time to time, the first being that of Brigitte Leroy. You all know that Brigitte has been a member of our Alliance for several years and that she has been a French teacher for many of you, but did you know that she was a Business Analyst for a Stockbroker Company and that she was also a white swan at one stage in her life? Find out more starting on page 4 of this month's newsletter.

I would like to invite you all to attend our Welcome Party on the 10th of February 2024, which is always a wonderful evening and the perfect time to help us build some great projects together for the coming year! As usual, Mike will be sending you an e-mail in good time with details of the evening.

Christmas is around the corner, time for feast organising, home decorating and all the bits and pieces that come before Christmas, such a lovely time of the year… I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, un très joyeux Noël et une excellente nouvelle année.


Monday, November 6, 2023

From the President

Once again, our car rally was a real success, with not only an interesting discovery of parts of our beautiful region, but also a relaxed and enjoyable country dinner at Buckley's Crossing Hotel. Well done to the winners for their skill and sense of humour, and thanks to all the participants for their joie de vivre. I encourage you to read Rhonda Rix's account of the trip.

Our first French speaking lunch took place on Thursday 2 November at Sunny’s Kiosk in Merimbula. The atmosphere was good, the food enjoyable, the venue more than pleasant and there was no shortage of things to talk about. Everyone left satisfied with the experience and it was decided to meet again in February at Red Cafe in Bega.

The Alliance Française celebrated its 140th anniversary on Friday 21 July. Created in 1883 by illustrious founders (Jules Ferry, Ferdinand de Lesseps, Louis Pasteur, Jules Verne...), it is the instrument for promoting the French language and culture throughout the world. The Alliances Françaises network, with a total of 829 Alliances, is currently present in 136 countries, the Australian network is made up of 30 branches, 6 capital Alliances and 24 regional Alliances run by passionate volunteers and members. The mission of an Alliance Française is not only to develop the teaching and use of the French language, but also to foster knowledge of French and French-speaking cultures and to promote diversity, exchange and dialogue between cultures. To pay tribute to their 140 years of history, the Fondation des Alliances has put together an interactive map of their activities around the world, which I strongly recommend you consult. Our little Alliance is on it, which is normal, you might say, since we help to promote French culture. Click on the following link sur une carte interactive to take a look at the interactive map.

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Alliance Française of Canberra is holding its annual French market on 2 December (10am to 3pm); if you remember, Wal and I went last year and we told you how much we enjoyed it “…With a very large choice of French and Australian products and over 30 stalls of food, household linen, drinks, books..., we certainly recommend it to you for a touch of French culture and delicacies…”.

See you on Thursday 9 November for the screening of The Kitchen Brigade.

Bonne lecture - Happy reading,


Tuesday, October 10, 2023

From the President

 Dear all,

I would like to send a big thank you to all members who attended our Annual General Meeting at Club Sapphire on 4 September. It was an easy going affair as most of last year’s members were being re-elected. Only Carole Thomas, our Librarian, retired from the committee to focus on her other commitment The Garden Club. We are sorry to see Carole leave, as she had some good ideas to promote our Alliance. We are pleased to have received two nominations from the floor - Rhonda Rix to the committee position of librarian and Ian Showman to general member of the committee. I would like to thank Rhonda and Ian for their nominations. I would also like to thank Carole for all her work over the past year and wish her every success and a 'green thumb’.

The AGM was followed by a very brief General Meeting, as required by our Constitution, at which it was decided to celebrate the 35th anniversary of our Alliance with a picnic. Both administrative proceedings were followed by a screening of the film Ouistreham (Between Two Worlds), which met with great approval from the audience. The other big event of the month was the arrival of spring, fine weather and warmth, the perfect combination for our anniversary picnic. There were 22 members present, including Miguel our newest and youngest member, some of them wearing typical Australian or French outfits; good humour, good conversation and laughter, we all shared the delicious and plentiful home-made food and the anniversary cake! Happy Anniversary to our Alliance and thank you all for such a pleasant day.

Many thanks to those who decided to join us on Thursday 12 October 2023 for our third Car Adventure Tour. You can still register, but first make sure you can get accommodation. See details on the events page.

We are thinking of reintroducing an activity that I am told used to be quite popular. The plan is to get together from time to time, once every two or three months, for a lunch and conversation in French. The venue, a local café or restaurant, would change each time. Please let me know if you would be interested and would like to join the first lunch that may take place mid October, depending on interest:

Bonne lecture,


Thursday, September 7, 2023

From the President

 It is with our deepest sorrow that we inform you of the passing of Wolfgang Kasper on 13 August in Port Douglas. While Wolfgang was a renowned economist, he was also known to us for his sharp mind and his curiosity. A good friend to many of us, he was a great traveller, an excellent cook and gourmet, a wine lover, a keen gardener, a linguist and a bon vivant, not only was he a regular contributor to our newsletter, but also, and above all, an interesting one. On behalf of the committee and myself, we would like to convey our sincere condolences to Wolfgang’s family and especially to Regine.

While we continue to cherish the memories of the past, let us now turn our attention to the moments that lie ahead.

Our crepes and cider party on 10 August was a great success, with 35 members present to finish off the 120 or so savoury and sweet crepes. Crepes with mushrooms and ham were so popular that Rob had to restock our supplies, but as you can see from one of the accompanying photos, the chocolate sauce was also a big hit. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members for their invaluable help in setting up, cooking, serving, cleaning up and tidying up, and all the participants for their support and invaluable good humour.

On 22 September 1988, the Alliance française de la Côte de Saphir opened its doors and you are invited to celebrate its 35th anniversary with a picnic and a celebratory cake. See details in the events section. I had the pleasure of spending a week with my daughter in Melbourne and took the opportunity to see the Pierre Bonnard (French painter 1867-1947) exhibition at the NGV. With over 100 works by the famous artist, the exhibition features paintings, drawings, photographs and screens, all in a colourful scenography that complements the artist's distinct use of colour and texture. I highly recommend a visit if you are staying in Melbourne.

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the newsletter to discover this month's special contributions, they really are interesting!

Looking forward to seeing you all soon,


Saturday, August 5, 2023

From the President

 The day I started working on my “homework” for our monthly newsletter I was so cold - only 12 degrees that day - that all I could think of was a warm comforting soup, which is why you'll find the Soupe à l’oignon (onion soup) recipe below.

Bastille Day: while our first rendition of the Marseillaise was a bit of a fiasco, our second attempt was honourable and the lunch was definitely successful, delicious, musical and enjoyable. Unfortunately, only 25 of us turned up, so we'll have to think about celebrating the July 14 in a different way... I'd be interested to hear what you think, what you'd like to do and how you'd like to celebrate Bastille Day next year. Please don't hesitate to contact me with your ideas, wishes and recommendations.

As you will discover in the events section, we have done our best to keep you entertained with some exciting new activities that I hope will appeal to you. This month, we invite you to a tasting of crêpes bretonnes (Breton crepes) and cidre brut (brut cider) from Normandy. Crêpes and galettes, a whole world from my childhood that I would like to share with you. Imagine my great-great-aunt, auntie Fine (Fideline), as wrinkled as an old apple, but so beautiful in her lace headdress. Imagine her kneeling in front of the fireplace kneading the dough and then imagine the smell of galettes cooked over a wood fire... Yum yum! My cousins, my sister and I would feast on them in advance. I hope our crêpes live up to my memories and that you have a delightful and delicious lunch.

A très bientôt,


Saturday, June 3, 2023

From the President

 It’s happening in June... Your Alliance has "only" one event to offer you this month, but did you know that on almost every day of the month, an international event will be celebrated? For example, June 3 is World Bike Day, but it's also World Doughnut Day! June 6 is D-Day, but it's also Miniskirt Day (I'm sure many of you ladies have worn a miniskirt, I have!), June 18 is Sustainable Food Day, June 21 is Fête de la Musique, also known as World Music Day, and June 30 is International Asteroids and Parliamentarians Day (a surprising association!). All this to say that June is a time to celebrate, and the best way to do so is to raise a glass of wine! I therefore invite you to join us on June 15 to celebrate whatever we decide to with a glass, or two, of French wine. There are more details about the wine tasting evening over the page. I look forward to seeing you there.


Medical report:   We have shared some time with Robert recently, he is in high spirits and very positive about a speedy recovery and return to good health.


I wish you all a great start to the winter, full of good times and, for those of you who are spending the winter in warmer climes, an excellent holiday.

Avec toute mon amitié,