It's not too much of a stretch of the imagination to think you've found a little slice of Paris on the corner of Bruning Street and Gungahlin Place out in Gungahlin. Le Bon Melange (which translates as "the good mix") is full of people drinking coffee, reading, taking a late lunch close to 3pm. The sun shines in through the windows which flank two sides of the corner position, outside tables and chairs look across suburban streets, blankets at the ready to ward off the chill.
Inside, Natalie van den Bosch and her young, enthusiastic team are refilling the cabinets with gorgeous-looking pastries, talking to customers, making coffees.
Van den Bosch and her partner in life and business, Peter Cook, opened the patisserie in 2017. A qualified chef, she always had an interest in patisserie and was always thinking about opening up her own place - and when they found this sunny corner spot, they took the leap.
There's a touch of French farmhouse about the decor, but what's on show looks very sophisticated: precise pastries, little cakes, jars full of custard creme with toasted meringue on top, fresh filled baguettes.
"This time of year, the pies, sausage rolls and quiches are walking out the door too," she says.
"I can't choose my favourite, they are all my babies, but our lemon/lime citrus cheesecakes are popular with everyone."
In 2013, more than two decades after she first stepped into the kitchen, she completed her patisserie certificate at the Canberra Institute of Technology.
"I actually ended up doing the certificate twice because I had so much fun the first time, I thought I better go back and really perfect my skills."
Some regular customers are having a late lunch. Please don't tell anyone about this place, they say, it's Gungahlin's best kept secret.
Not any more.
Les Bistronomes: The charming bistro brought a touch of sophistication to the inner north, serving classic French food with a twist. Bastille Day dinner, four courses and matching wines, $125pp. 23 Elouera Street, Braddon.
Buvette: The food here is not fussy; the flavours are bold, taking culinary cues from timeless dishes of the classic French bistro. Head over for a Bastille Day feast, $75pp, that includes Croquembouche and champagne on arrival. There will also be French beverages and Bastille Day cocktails on offer. 18 National Circuit, Barton.
La Baguette: A French bakery, café and caterer tucked away in the ANU School of Art. Rashid Kachour is a French-trained artisan baker and his bread is to die for. Pop in for a homemade taste of Paris, from morning pastries to lunch-time baguettes overflowing with delicious fillings. ANU School of Art, Childers St, Acton.
Breizh Cafe: Bruno and Bronwyn spent a year and a half living in Vannes, a quaint coastal town in Brittany and upon their return, they wanted a casual, unpretentious yet stylish place, with a "feel good" atmosphere for people to relax and enjoy some of the charming Breton culture. Don't miss the raclette. 15 Edgar St, Ainslie.
Le Tres Bon: Dining out at Bungendore is like eating in the kitchen of Christophe and Josephine Gregoire. The food takes on a decidedly local flavour inspired Christophe's heritage. You'll taste their generosity in every bite. 40 Malbon St, Bungendore.
French cooking classes
At Le Tres Bon there is a school holiday class for children aged between seven and 12 where they'll learn to make beef bourguignon meat pie with French fries. For grown-ups there's a special truffle season cooking class.
At Pialligo Estate the Our French Kitchen class is often sold out so keep an eye on the calendar. You'll prepare chateaubriand, salad nioise with fresh seared tuna, classic pommes boulangere and Alain Ducasse's gougeres.