When I arrived in Macau nearly 14 years ago, the first thing I tried to find was the one thing that represents my culture, the thing that French people actually identify themselves with: bread. Bread is the reflection of our culture. I tried a lot of bakeries and I was so disappointed because it did not correspond to the baguette that we find in France.
Even if you are a French tourist and you want to discover another culture, you always enjoy finding a little piece of your own culture in the country you visit. So let me tell you about the few places that I wish I had known about or even existed when I moved to Macau and guide you through my journey, as a French woman.
Where to Shop
Don’t miss Passion located at Galaxy. For me, this is the best place to buy fresh bread. If you are lucky and you arrive when the baguettes come from the oven, they are heavenly—warm and crusty just like in France. Don’t worry, they stay perfect the whole day and you can even reheat them at home. Remember Macau is a very humid place, so sometimes you have to do so to enjoy your bread longer. Passion not only provides baguettes but also a lot of different breads, like walnut and fig bread. They also use different flours like spelt, buckwheat, and whole wheat.
After buying my bread, I definitely need to find some French cheeses. You’re in luck, several groceries will offer you various types. Parknshop in Taipa now sells the largest variety of French products. You can definitely stick to French brands if you want; from pasta to milk, even shampoo and cheese of course. Unfortunately, the new Supreme shop dropped French goods like yogurt but you can still find many French cheeses.
I don’t have young kids anymore but it happens that I sometimes I have to buy a present or a toy. The easier places to go are Kids Cavern in Sands Cotai and Toys r Us in Macau Tower.
Where to Drink and Eat
After having bought my dinner, I can’t imagine finishing without a good bottle of wine (drink responsibly!). The best person to ask advice from is Karen Gaignon at Claret Wines. She is a French sommelier who has lived in Macau for a few years. She is very attentive, she listens to you and she understands what you are looking for. She can recommend to you a whole range of French wines.
Despite my basket full of French products, I am still craving a galette. I book a table at La Brasserie at the Parisian Hotel. When I go there I feel like I am in a restaurant in Paris. First of all, they greet you in French—”Bonjour!”—and the menu is in French too. You will be able to eat a few traditional meals from France like choucroute and terrine. They change the menu regularly, so you never run out of new things to try.
I also like The Louvre at City of Dreams, it’s smaller and quieter. Last time I was there I had a delicious galette and the atmosphere is peaceful. It’s a nice place to have tea or coffee à la Francaise.
Of course, I couldn’t miss the L’ Elysee Bakery in Taipa. They also have one in Macau. I love their pains au chocolat and croissants. All the pastries are very good and taste French, especially the “chausson aux pommes “. However, my favorite place to eat a croissant is definitely Cafe Cheri in old Taipa.
Where to Relax
A nice way to pamper yourself “a la Francaise” is to visit the So Spa at the Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16. The decoration of the spa will send you back to Provence, our famous southern area well known for its lavender. You can experience the “Lavender soothing massage “and just let your imagination take you back home. On top of that, have a fine French bubbly manicure/pedicure at the Champagne Nail Bar. You can enjoy a glass of champagne while they are taking care of you.
Another great way to relax, but before your manicure, of course, is to learn French floral art. Carole Delavelle of Oulala Flower is our French floral designer in Macau and she provides floral workshops for all ages and skill levels.
Schools in Macau
Unfortunately, we don’t have a French school in Macau. There are three internationals schools—The International School of Macau(TIS), Macau Anglican College(MAC) and School of the Nations (SON). The first two both provide French lessons at the secondary level. The Alliance Francaise is the alternative to help your child learn or maintain his/her written French. They provide classes for children as well as adults.
Things to Know
The Alliance Francaise also connects with the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau. It’s a good way to introduce yourself, to make contact and be informed of what is going on in Macau. The Alliance Francaise hosts a monthly consular outreach to provide French residents of Macau different services offered by the consulate on the following dates for 2017: Friday, November 10, 2017; and Friday, December 8, 2017. These consular outreaches will be held from 11:00am to 1:00pm at the Alliance Francaise.
The Alliance Francaise also provides translation service for the application of a work permit, a resident’s card or any other work. They also organize events like the Beaujolais Nouveau in November-and it’s a great way to meet people.
In May, we have Le French May, one of the largest French arts festivals in Asia that brings the spirit of France to Hong Kong and Macau. Le French GourMay is also a big part of the festival. Visual arts, classical and contemporary music, dance, multi-arts performances, cinema, fashion and culinary arts are all on the menu.
On the website of the consulate, you can find more information on what’s going on in Hong Kong. Sometimes it’s worth going and spending a night in Hong Kong to participate in those events.
The Macao Cultural Centre regularly organizes and hosts performances and exhibitions not only for adults but for children, as well as workshops and other events.
The French community is quite big in Macau but there isn’t really a special day for gathering except the National Day in July. We get to know each other from word of mouth and person to person.
MACAU MUM For mums with younger children, there isn’t really a special French toddler club but if you would like to meet other mums, many French women join this Facebook group. They organize mum and toddler meetings and other activities. You will find a lot of information concerning activities for kids, good deals in grocery shops, etc.
Hong Kong Madame A bilingual site catering mostly to the French-speaking Hong Kong community, although they do publish in English as well. This is a great resource for French people living in Macau who are not only looking for fun things to do with their family in Hong Kong but also find out any up and coming events or business openings for all things French. Sign up for their newsletter.
French HK moms A Facebook group for—you guessed it—mostly French moms. This is a great platform to ask any questions you might have. The group has been around for a while and has a long search history, so search through your query first before launching a public question.
French in Hong Kong Another great resource when you are looking for advice or struggling to locate items you need. It’s also packed with events, articles and other interesting links for the French living abroad. With over 6,000 members, there is bound to be someone who can help.
The Shopping and Dining in Hong Kong Guide Published yearly and for free, you can download the guide online or pick up a copy from a few places around the city. The guide is an a-z of the hottest French shopping and dining in HK and includes everything from mainstream to luxury.
The Alliance Française of Macau, 4F Travessa do Bom Jesus R / C, Macau, +853 2896 5342, www.alliancefrancaise.org.mo