With 300 days of sunshine in the year and the third largest city in Australia, Brisbane is a bustling mélange of international cultures, luxe style and outdoor living.
I’m here for a few short days to catch up with the fam and fit in a visit to some of my favourite places for fashion, food, flowers and of course - interiors, Queensland style.
BRISBANE, THE FRIENDLY CITY
Set on the banks of a glistening, winding river, Brisbane is an international gateway to the ‘sunshine state’ of Australia. I’ve watched it grow over a couple of decades from a city dubbed Bris-Vegas for it’s only claim to fame back then - a casino - into a sexy, sophisticated city.
The locals call it a big country town, because people here truly are down to earth, relaxed and a tad friendlier than some of their southern neighbours! Maybe it’s something to do with all that warm sunshine.
Queen Street Mall
Day One is all about city shopping and taking in the beauty of the open air Queen Street Mall in the heart of the city. I go here to visit my favourite floral boutique Perrott’s for a dose of Anglo-French prettiness.
The window displays of luxury stores Chanel and Dior always fascinate me, and I always pay a visit to them as well as pop into Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton and sometimes Hèrmes. I wander into Dymocks, my favourite bookstore and buy two books on French style that remind me of my life in Paris.
A visit to my favourite department store David Jones is a must for a browse of anything luxuriously feminine in accessories, fashion and cosmetics. I nearly buy a pair of Christian Louboutin or Valentino shoes then remind myself that skyscraper heels won’t work in my life in the tropics.
Upstairs in the galleria, my favourite Australian fashion labels Aje and Zimmerman tempt me in their boutiques, with their latest swoon-worthy collections.
James Street Precinct
Day Two takes me to the James Street precinct where I head first thing to the huge, indoor-outdoor market bustling with fresh seafood, flowers, gourmet goodies and a pâtisserie. I resist the temptation to buy multiple pastries and instead grab a freshly baked croissant I inhale for breakfast, that’s so sweetly buttery good I feel I’m back in Paris.
I wander for hours along tree lined streets full of pop-up eateries, fashion boutiques, garden stores and homeware emporiums like my favourite Caribbean-inspired St Barts.
AN AFTERNOON IN BRISBANE
Then it’s time for a late lunch, French style, in my favourite indoor/outdoor eatery Cru Bar, with a bowl of frîtes accompanied by a frosty glass of Tattinger champagne. As you do, in Brisbane.
Wishing I could revisit other favourite neighbourhoods like New Farm and Bulimba but not having enough time on this trip, I’m saving those goodies for another time and another story! Here’s what I’m enjoying on this little soujourn.
WHERE TO SHOP IN BRISBANE
With an emphasis on French and English aesthetics, this floral boutique features potted orchids, classic black and white décor and the sweetest posies, arrangements and bouquets outside of France or England. I always feel like I’m stepping back into a Parisian florist here!
Aje and Zimmerman boutiques
My two favourite boutiques in Brisbane, not just because the fashions are sublime but also because the stores are a visual delight to enter and wander through. Featuring linens, cottons, silks in natural hues or vibrant colours, the aesthetics are feminine yet edgy, classic yet modern.
Satisfying my soul’s desire for simplicity and minimalism yet with timeless luxury, this boutique is a haven of carefully crafted every day and resort style fashions that tug very hard at my heart (and purse)!
St Barts emporium
Low key, luxe lifestyle wares from all over the globe that fit easily into the laid-back Queensland aesthetic. Natural fibres and textures, sublime scents and floaty resort-style clothing draw me in every time I visit Brisbane.
A vast emporium of furniture and homewares divided into enticing themes such as french provincial, Hamptons, seaside and so much more. My favourites pieces are always French inspired, like the giant hurricane lanterns, faux blooms, oak timber pieces and table linens.
WHERE TO DRINK + DINE IN BRISBANE
Set on James Street in the heart of the drink-dine-shop precinct and boasting a very large, sexy chandelier over an immense wooden tub full of a myriad of champagnes. Impeccable service, a knowledgeable sommelier and the perfect place to perch yourself after a hard morning’s shop while people watching with champagne and frîtes for sustenance, of course.
James Street Bakery
Paw Paw Restaurant
Sprout Artisanal Bakery
How did donuts ever get this good? They’re baked, not fried! And also come gluten-free! An absolute must on any Brisbane trip. Donuts aside, have lunch here and enjoy healthy, mouth-watering dishes such as the Golden Glow Harvest Bowl featuring endamame, pickled cauliflower and poached eggs topped with fresh edible blooms.
WHAT TO EXPLORE IN BRISBANE
James St Precinct
Brisbane’s unique and iconic retail precinct set amongst lush, leafy tree-lined streets. A slow-style, welcome respite from the craziness of the city and the sameness of shopping malls.
City Botanic Gardens
On every visit to Brisbane I include a nice, long energetic walk along the river south side, over the pedestrian bridge and through the sprawling, stunning Botanic Gardens. Ponds, waterfalls, majestic palm trees, weeping figs, rainforests and even carefully manicured rose gardens are a breath of fresh air in the heart of the city.
See you soon | À bientôt