Live like a flaneur in Europe’s arguably most romantic destination. Order a classic ‘Cafe Au Lait’, a perfectly-formed patisserie, or even an indulgent aperitif, and allow yourself to spend hours people watching among the picturesque surroundings of France. From Lille to Paris, we’ve pulled together some of our favourites; all of which have their own unique charm and a hint of ‘Je ne sais quois’.

Lille

A bustling cultural centre taking influences from Belgium, the Netherlands, and the British Isles, this city has plenty to offer when it comes to searching for a place to relax and get your caffeine fix.

Joe Tex Café

Stop off at Joe Tex Café after visiting the impressive Notre-Dame de la Treille Cathedral. Offering savoury snacks to have with your coffee, this intimate space will be particularly appealing to music lovers. With vintage band posters and concert tickets adorning the walls, this location also hosts events dedicated to jazz, soul, and funk music.

Spok

One for those hoping to mingle with the stylish locals, this cafe and restaurant is positioned in the heart of Lille’s city centre. Offering a selection of hot and cold drinks as well as soups, salads, and sandwiches which are all available to takeaway, this urban retreat will suit health-conscious busy-bodies and tourists on the go.

Lyon

Wander into the small yet charming streets of Lyon and you’ll find trendy spots to chill and delicious cakes to satisfy your sweet-tooth cravings.

Slake Coffee House

Known for its strong and tasty, freshly brewed coffee, you can also enjoy the house favourite carrot cake. The modest exterior and hidden-away location make it a little tricky to spot – but certainly worth looking around for!

Puzzle Café

Puzzle Café is a hip stop off which sits closeby to Slake Coffee House. Attracting both locals and Lyon-first-timers, this cafe is particularly appealing for nomad types. With its relaxed atmosphere and laptop-friendly setting, you can plug your headphones in and settle into some work for a few hours in this welcoming little spot.

Pimprenelle

For those looking for comforting French fare, this eatery offers a tempting lunch menu for a range of taste-buds. Especially good for those with less of a sweet tooth, this vibrant spot is best to visit when you’ve worked up an appetite.

Bordeaux

While cafe culture is still slowly seeping into the city of Bordeaux, make the most of unassuming spots with friendly baristas and flavoursome dishes.

Books & Coffee

With a wide selection of teas and coffee, this soothing spot is perfect for creative types who enjoy curling up to read in a calming, jazz-fuelled setting. Help yourself to one of their books or bring your laptop along to inspire you through some work in a chilled out vibe.

L’Alchimiste Café

This is definitely a favoured spot among locals, loved for its delicious coffee and perfect position on the corner of the Rue de la Vieille Tour. Their cappuccino is the beverage of choice for French city-dwellers, so be sure to try their frothed-up fancy to get you through the morning.

Cactus General Store

Sitting enticingly in the centre of Bordeaux, this vegan coffee and gift shop is a pleasant and homely space run by two ethically-conscious and flavour-passionate French owners. We recommend trying their mouthwatering carrot cake before browsing their spices and pretty homewares.

Paris

Last but certainly not least, this idyllic gem of a capital city is home to an array of kitsch cafes for you to live your chicest life.

La Maison Rose

Best for bloggers and Instagram-lovers, this rose-hued cafe is situated within a maze of cobbled streets in the alluring location of Montmartre. After a visit to the iconic site of the Sacre Couer Basilica, treat yourself to a sweet treat and a warming beverage at this cute yet sophisticated haunt.

Cafe Kitsuné

 

An unashamedly fashionable space, everything from their bags of fresh coffee beans to their tabletops and juice labels are splashed with the stamp of the Kitsuné brand. With another branch in Tokyo, this feels like a stylish spot for those in the know. Their coffee menu is also reflective of their trend-focused outlook – complete with matcha, chai, and yuzu flavours.

Shakespeare Café

Perfect for bookworms and lovers of all things literary, this exquisite cafe and bookshop is positioned conveniently across from Notre Dame Cathedral. Its position in the city makes it feel undoubtedly Parisian – despite the English-speaking staff and reference to Shakespeare. This cosy spot is perfect for reading quietly, mingling with other tourists and expats, and indulging in delectable fresh-baked treats.