While a trip to Paris is still a faraway dream, CAE short courses can help you feel trės chic as we celebrate all things French this Bastille Day – 14 July.


Patternmaking – French draping

This is your introduction to the Haute Couture technique of pattern-making known as moulage, which consists of draping directly onto the mannequin. It is an alternative to traditional flat pattern making. Learn a fast, creative and accurate way of turning a 2D design onto a 3D toile from scratch. You will acquire the basic skills to replicate a design on a mannequin, as well as experimenting and creating your own designs and making patterns based on a set of measurements by draping directly onto the mannequin.

Sewing – Lingerie & Fine Fabric

Gain experience and confidence in handling fine fabrics, lace and bias by making a laced bias-cut nightie or camisole and pants. In doing so, you will learn couture techniques such as French seams, application and insertion of lace and fabrics, construction and finishing techniques.

French Language Classes

From elementary to advanced, CAE has a range of French language classes to suit your skill set and are delivered both online and in person at our Flinders Lane location.

Not sure on your French competency level? CAE offers a Free skills assessment.

View French Language Classes.


Art and History Talks

Paris in the Spring: An Impressionist calendar

Explore the radical vision of the French Impressionist painters and the technical innovations that enabled artists such as Monet, Pissarro and Sisley to “paint the weather” through the cycle of seasons.

Glorious Gothic – France in the High Middle Ages

Join us in France during the great Age of Cathedrals. We will trace the evolution of the Gothic style in art and architecture and marvel as spires soar heavenward, walls are opened up and light assumes a spiritual dimension. Visits to Saint-Denis, Sainte-Chapelle and Chartres included.


Classic French Cooking

Discover the pleasures of French cuisine with European-trained chef, Simone Mancin. In this hands-on culinary journey of France, you’ll learn how to prepare classic dishes such as French onion soup, quiche Lorraine, coq a vin, gratin dauphinoise and the deliciously satisfying apple tarte tatin.

View French Cooking Classes.


Book Groups

And finally, be transported to the Gallic nation with these french-themed offerings from our CAE Book Groups.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

One of the great classics of world literature, this novel is about a young woman stultified by marriage and motherhood in a confined society. Its portrait of Madame Bovary and the bourgeois life of country town France in the 19th century is vivid and compelling reading

The Paris Savages by Katherine Johnson

In 1882, three Batjala people are transported from Fraser Island to Europe by a German scientist and his daughter, with the promise that they will be able to share their culture and appeal to Queen Victoria to help their community. But what transpires is devastating. A compelling and often horrifying tale, inspired by the true story of human zoos

Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner

Sophisticated and with a perceptive eye for the world of appearances and for human foibles and needs, this novel unveils the self-containment, loneliness, encounters and longings of a writer of romantic fiction in sanctuary in Europe after an indiscretion.

Célestine by Gillian Tindall

In a French peasant village, Tindall (an English historian) came across a bundle of letters from the 1860s, addressed to a young woman, Célestine Chaumette, and used them to carefully reconstruct the lives of the village and its people. Subtitled ‘Voices from a French Village’, this thoughtful social history is detailed and complex as it creates the vivid sense of ordinary daily lives and struggles.

Almost French by Sarah Turnbull

A frank and engaging travel memoir from this Australian ex-pat about her new life in Paris with a ‘very French Frenchman’. An honest, often amusing account of the highs, lows and culture clashes associated with living in a foreign country. Read this book for an insider’s account of life in Paris – food, fashion, social rituals, bloody-minded bureaucrats and pampered pooches.

Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky

Némirovsky depicted the experience of war and occupation as it affected the people around her, writing the two sections of Suite Française as events unfolded. The first part portrays a group of Parisians as they flee the Germans and make their way through the chaos of the French countryside. The second concerns the inhabitants of a small rural community under occupation.

Poum and Alexandre: A Paris Memoir by Catherine de Saint Phalle

Set in post-war Paris during the decline of the bourgeois class, this beautifully written memoir follows Catherine as she recounts her unconventional childhood through the life of her mother, Poum, and her father, Alexandre, two flawed eccentrics with a love of mythology and the old ways. A tender memoir about acceptance, loneliness and freedom through the observant eyes of a child.

Monet: Claude Monet, 1840–1926 by Karin Sagner Düchting

Monet was both the most typical and the most individual French Impressionist painter. His long life, extraordinary capacity for work and furious perfectionism are explored in this large volume.

Toulouse Lautrec: Henri de Toulouse Lautrec by Matthias Arnold

Toulouse Lautrec’s bold and arresting images were instrumental in gaining acceptance for both lithography and the poster as major art forms. This tells Lautrec’s story and gives a vibrant picture of Parisian life.

Learn more about book groups here.