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5 French-themed Party Ideas for Summer.

By Marie-Antoinette Issa.

The next best thing to celebrating the end of the year beneath the Eiffel Tower is hosting a French-inspired Summer soirée Down Under. According to Parisian-born Patricia Higgins, Director of Digital Marketing and Communication at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, it’s actually easier than you might imagine.

From fine French fare to a Parisian playlist, here are her top five tips and French-themed party ideas to help you host a parfait (perfect) party closer to home this December. 

From faux pas to fabulous! 

Inspired by an exclusive event recently hosted at Sofitel Sydney Wentworth - where guests were welcomed by a woman wearing a Champagne skirt filled with glasses of Pommery, an ice sculpture surrounded by the freshest seafood display, interactive food stations, an igloo bar on the terrace and a spectacular dessert buffet) - Patricia shares a few key points on perfecting the art of authentic ambience, French-style.
5 French-themed Party Ideas for Summer.

"The key to a chic celebration inspired by the City of Love is to avoid clichés like an Eiffel Tower overload,” she says. "Instead, hosts should opt for classic French decor elements that create an immersive experience, transporting guests to the charming streets of Paris, the lavender fields of Provence, or the many pretty towns and villages in between. 

Think linens with classic patterns like toile, stripes, or fleur-de-lis; porcelain or fine China dishes which add an extra layer of elegance; candles, chandeliers, vintage chairs and ornate mirrors. "It's about creating an atmosphere that whispers sophistication without shouting tourist,” says Patricia.

For a Parisian-garden vibe, Patricia suggests seeking out a lush outdoor setting with a beautiful backdrop, elegant decor and twinkling lights to create a chic and décontracté (casual) atmosphere. 

5 French-themed Party Ideas for Summer.
Take inspiration from the Jardin des Tuileries or Luxembourg Gardens, where refined meets relaxed and find a local park that offers a picturesque Paris-esque venue on a budget. "The goal is to capture the essence of a Parisian garden, where every corner tells a story of timeless beauty.” 

One of Patricia’s personal favourites is Wendy's Secret Garden in Lavender Bay. "With a spectacular view of Sydney, it sets the stage for an intimate French gathering. Alternatively, the Garden Court Restaurant in Sofitel Sydney Wentworth provides a French five-star experience, perfect for a soirée soaked in French Art de Vivre,” she adds. 

Bon appetit: 

French cuisine is synonymous with elegance and your menu should reflect that. Consider indulgent dishes like premium cheeses, charcuterie, salad niçoise, traditional quiche Lorraine, steak tartare with pomme frites, ratatouille and of course, lots of crusty French baguettes for a meal that places Paris on a plate. Then delight your guests with desserts such as sorbet, crème brûlée and tarte tatin to finish. 
5 French-themed Party Ideas for Summer.

"Creating a French Summer spread on a budget is also entirely possible,” Patricia says. "Opt for a cosy picnic style set up with sharing platters in a beautiful park with a view. It's cost-effective, yet still exudes the charm and elegance that you're aiming for.”

Sophisticated sips: 

No French festivity is complete without a bit of bubbly. "Champagne and rosé are the stars of Summer,” Patricia explains. "The best way to channel the Capital of Fashion is to serve them with a stylish French twist.  
5 French-themed Party Ideas for Summer.

"Try ‘une piscine (a pool)’, which is Champagne on ice. Embracing the French tradition of putting ice in your drinks during the warmer months, can add a refreshing touch to the celebration.” 

Say oui oui to a whimsical soundtrack:

The right tunes can transform your celebrations from so-so to spectacular, which is why it's important to set the mood with a diverse musical selection.

"From classic French tunes by Piaf, Aznavour and Gainsbourg to the soothing sounds of live Gypsy jazz, or the energetic beats of French electronica like Daft Punk and Justice for a dancefloor frenzy - the choices are as varied as the French landscape,” Patricia adds. 

Personalised French flair:

Finally, Patricia recommends adding a personal touch with interactive activities inspired by all things Gallic, including DIY macarons or lavender sachet stations.
5 French-themed Party Ideas for Summer.

Otherwise, consider organising a sip and paint activity, where guests can unleash their artistic side while sipping French-inspired beverages. 

"These small details contribute to a party where guests who gather can embrace the French flair and are transported to a Parisian garden where the air is filled with laughter, elegance and the sweet notes of a Summer soirée Down Under that also feels uniquely yours.”
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