10 Top Cafes and Coffee Shops in the Loire Valley

The French certainly know how to serve the perfect coffee
The French certainly know how to serve the perfect coffee | Albert Leung / Flickr
Jessica Baldwin

Cafe culture is a huge part of French life. But cafes in the Loire aren’t just your standard ‘milk and two sugar’ joints. Here are 10 great cafes and coffee shops in the Loire Valley; from modest riverside huts offering boat rides with their brews to cafes mixing mojitos alongside their macchiatos and patisseries with seriously calorific cake displays.

1. French Coffee Shop

Coffee Shop, Tea , Coffee, French, Vegetarian

The French Coffee Shop is a hit with frothy coffee lovers
Courtesy of The French Coffee Shop

While this retro cafe chain delivers a cracking black coffee, it is the over-the-top creations and glutinous milkshakes which get people talking – the Oreo milkshake is particularly popular. But if cups stacked high with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and sprinkles are not your bag, try one of their refreshing smoothies. The timber-clad cafe is not the cheapest coffee stop in town, but there is a reason why it has queues out of the door on a Saturday. Rock up early and you may be able to grab the outdoor deckchairs!

2. REAL Coffee Shop

Coffee Shop, French, Coffee, Tea , Vegetarian

Iced mojito
paulsteuber / Pixabay

This joint takes its coffee seriously. Using a La Marzocco coffee machine, handmade and imported from Florence, the coffee is freshly ground at the last minute. And, if you fancy something a little stronger, it also has a popular bar which specialises in rum cocktails – they do a mean mojito!

3. Pâtisserie Bigot

Bakery, Patisserie, Pastry Shop, Cafe, Pastries, French

Sweet pastry, puff pastry with powdered sugar, with pine nuts, with jam made from Siam pumpkin, puff pastry with roasted apples and with baked apples
© karnavalfoto/Shutterstock

Patisserie Bigot have been creating exquisite sweet treats for over a century. This popular patisserie was founded by Madame Bigot’s grandfather back in 1913, and 100 years on it is still one of the best places in Amboise for a cake and coffee. The cakes are like pieces of art – the fruit tarts are particularly easy on the eye, perfectly cooked and intricately laced with vibrant slices of seasonal fruit. If you only order one thing, make it their infamous tarte tatin.

4. Le Petit Atelier

Cafe, Coffee Shop, French, Coffee, Tea , Vegetarian

Coffee beans
© Tomi Biloglav / Flickr
Le Petit Atelier sees itself as a coffee workshop, a tasting room if you like, dedicated to the flavours of good coffee. Working in partnership with Café Mokxa, their coffee roasters, they select each guest coffee according to its origin and sustainability as well as taste. Their hard-working coffee machine is a cracker, from the Florentine brand La Marzocco. If you really enjoy your coffee here, you can buy the beans to take home.

5. Pâtisserie Chocolaterie Buret

Patisserie, Pastry Shop, French, Pastries, Dessert, Street Food, Vegetarian

Fruit tart
torbakhopper / Flickr

This busy patisserie and chocolatarie, owned by Stéphane Buret, opened in Blois back in 1992. The window displays are enough to send you salivating, with towers of soft profiteroles and elegantly decorated fruit tarts. Pâtisserie Buret is perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up when exploring the beautiful riverside city of Blois.

6. Montrésor Café

Restaurant, French, Pastries, Coffee, Tea , European

One of Montrésors quaint houses | Jessica Baldwin
Jessica Baldwin

This quirky cafe resides in the heart of one of the Loire Valley‘s most beautiful villages, opposite what is rumored to be Mick Jagger’s favourite chateau. The cobbled streets of Montrésor are labyrinth of quaint front doors of miniature medieval proportions and famous floral displays, all somewhat overshadowed by the village’s charismatic chateau. This cafe, complete with a strange red statue donning a bleach blonde wig, is at the centre of it all. After a cafe au lait on the terrace, meander around the street behind and find the wonderful patisserie – follow your nose and you will find it.

7. Le Petit Artelier

Cafe, Coffee Shop, French, Coffee, Tea , Vegetarian

A perfectly crafted flat white
Iain Farrell / Flickr

On a gloomy day this cosy glass-fronted cafe has a welcoming glow. Outside there are a few small tables to watch the world go by, inside the sleek wooden coffee bar displays the day’s offering. Expect good coffee concoctions alongside tasty sandwiches, scones, biscuits, cakes and pastries. The Viennese chocolate takes some beating!

8. Maison Grimaud

Pastelaria, French, Pastries, Dessert, Vegetarian

Paris brest
Kasey / Flickr

Nestled on a quiet street in Nantes, Maison Grimaud is a danger zone for those with a sweet tooth. With two well-styled rooms and a pleasant terrace, the stylish cafe has a slick, modern feel to it. Their understated designer chairs make a welcome spot to retreat from busy Nantes and the free WiFi and complementary magazines soon make you feel at home. Last but not least, their vast (and totally Insta-worthy) choux pastry selection will make deciding which one you want a tricky task – deliciously light and filled with a range of indulgent fillings.

9. L'Ephémère Café

Cafe, Coffee Shop, French, Coffee, Tea , Vegetarian, Street Food

Wildlife comes as part of the package
Andrew / Flickr

This laid-back cafe has an enviable location on the edge of the Loiret river, with a wooden hut opening to create a bar, with colourful cushions placed on top of tree trunk stumps lining the river’s edge. The bohemian set-up, run by Cynthia, Amélie and Fabienne, is ruled by the weather; if it is sunny, get there early and grab yourself a prime riverfront spot and watch the swans drift by and the odd live performance spring in to action… but if it is rainy, forget it! This is ideal for families, with plenty to keep the kids entertained in the fresh air – they even offer boat trips on the Loiret.

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