Gaëlle Fabre, originally from France, has been in Melbourne for three weeks. Sharing her discoveries with us so far, she reveals just how easy it is to become besotted with this cultural, artistic city in her very own newcomer’s guide to Melbourne.
How long have you been in Melbourne?
I’ve been in Melbourne for three weeks and it’s the beginning of a real love story!
What have been your favourite discoveries so far?
I really like North Melbourne and Fitzroy, which is where I live. I could walk there all day long, enjoying the bohemian and rock atmosphere, the street art, vintage shops, cafes and restaurants. You never know what you’re going to find in every little street of Melbourne. I also like to go in the city to see the latest event at Federation Square.
How do you like to spend a day in Melbourne?
First, I like to start my day with a good coffee. Then, I can spend hours walking and exploring the city, the original and vintage shops and taking pictures of everything. I also like to ride my bike in a park like the Yarra Bend Park. If the weather’s really good, I like to spend my day at the pool or the beach. I also love to discover new places for a healthy and tasty lunch, a fun happy hour or a lovely dinner.
Where’s the best place for breakfast or brunch that you’ve found so far?
Breakfast is really important here and is completely different to France. The croissant is replaced by poached, fried or scrambled eggs on toast or the famous smashed avocado. Eat one of the best smashed avocados in Melbourne at Tom Dick & Harry Cafe in South Yarra, or a delicious scrambled eggs with mushrooms on bread and a fresh juice (rhubarb, pear, lemon and mint) at Industry Beans in Fitzroy. The next places I want to try for brunch are Addict Food & Coffee and Stagger Lee’s in Fitzroy.
Where’s the best place for coffee in Melbourne?
There are so many choices! It’s hard to say that there is one “best place” because coffee in Melbourne is good in almost every cafe. I would say that the latte is really good at Grub Food Van, a peaceful and green cafe with a pretty terrace. I’ve tried other hot drinks like a matcha green tea latte at Cafe Lua, a yummy mocha at The Kitchen close to the Yarra Bend Park, and a Chai latte at Uncle & Jak. In the CBD, I had a really good coffee with beautiful art at Naked Espresso Bar.
What’s the best bar in Melbourne?
I like the restaurant Naked for Satan and its rooftop bar where you can have a drink with tapas while admiring the beautiful view of the city – get there in the afternoon to watch the sunset. During the weekend, I like to chill at Young Bloods Diner close to the Rose Street Artists Market. At the rooftop bar, you can enjoy a sparkling wine for $5 during happy hour (4pm – 6pm) or refreshing coconut water when it’s really hot. If you’re in South Yarra and you want a delicious cocktail in a fancy place, go to The Emerson, a beautiful bar/club with a rooftop. The club opens after 9pm and you can dance all night long. If I’m in the city and it’s a sunny day, I like to relax at The Boatbuilders Yard with a nice view of the city and the Yarra River.
Have you been on any trips from Melbourne yet?
Not yet because I’m looking for a job first, but there are many things on my to do list such as snorkelling with sea dragons, a road trip on the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians, visit wine houses and taste wines in the Yarra Valley, spend a relaxing weekend at Peninsula Hot Springs, and hike in the Wilsons Promontory National Park. I’d also like to try different water sports like flowriding, paddle boarding and kayaking at St Kilda.
What’s the best thing about Melbourne for visitors?
Melbourne is all about culture, sport and food. There are so many places to discover, streets to explore, street art to see, sports to practice or watch and food to eat! Melbourne can suit everyone, and this is the best thing about Melbourne.
What did you know of Melbourne before you arrived and has it met or exceeded your expectations?
I knew that Melbourne was THE cultural city of Australia and it has definitely met my expectations so far! The coffee culture is also really important – it’s always a good time to have a break and a coffee in Melbourne. This is one of my little pleasures of each day. Now, I want to discover more and enjoy all of the activities in and near the city.
Images by Gaëlle Fabre