Cafés are a well-known aspect of French culture and, unsurprisingly, Bordeaux’s coffee shop scene is no exception. Whether you plan to sit outside en terrasse with a morning coffee or find a cosy location to take refuge inside, Culture Trip has found the best cafés in Bordeaux.
Renowned for favouring small-scale enterprise, in France, coffeehouses led by local artisans and independent businesses tend to be preferred over large chains.
Coffees in France are most commonly served short. In any traditional Bordeaux café, simply ask for un café, an espresso shot. You’ll also hear people ordering un café noisette, which is an espresso with a dash of milk, but if you like your coffee tall, make sure you opt for un café allongé.
Culture Trip asked Julie Fauran, the owner of Bordeaux’s Sip Coffee Bar, to hshare her expertise and local knowledge of the city’s best cafés.
SIP Coffee Bar is an ethical and eco-friendly business | Courtesy of SIP Coffee Bar
For the perfect pit stop and rest from wandering the streets of Bordeaux head to Sip Coffee Bar, which prides itself on being an ethical and eco-friendly business. “We not only have a work ethic towards the team but equally to the clientele, we are open and honest about our choice in suppliers and working well together is an absolute priority for us – this is why there is such a unique atmosphere to our coffee shop”. You can also save money and the planet by bringing your own cup when ordering your coffee to-go.
Situated on rue des Ayres, Café Piha is located right in the heart of the city centre and just a stone’s throw from major Bordeaux sights such as the Hotel de Ville, shops and museums. Julie tells Culture Trip,“I like this place as if it were my own, not just for the impeccable quality of the coffee but for the chilled atmosphere and tropical decor that gives you the urge to travel”.Inside you’ll enjoy the smell of coffee roasted on site, as well as a selection of home-made pastries and gluten-free cake options. You can also purchase their speciality and organic coffee to take home with you.
New on the Bordeaux coffee-shop scene is Café Eriu, run by Irish owner, Grace Lohan. Named after the patron goddess of Ireland, Café Eriu brings a tasteful, international option to Bordeaux’s café culture and offers an authentic Irish menu (including pork sausage rolls). Grace values the importance of local and organic produce, so expect to find quality coffee roasts and sweet treats, as well as hearty Irish lunch dishes. The warm and welcoming vibe combines hospitable Irish charm with chic French styling, making this spot a real go-to location for a coffee in Bordeaux.
Café Laiton is nestled among the market stalls of the Capucins Market. Thanks to its location away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, this café is somewhat lesser known on the coffee shop scene. Nevertheless, it’s well worth a visit: order an allongé and one of their freshly made pastries to eat while gazing out at the market sellers. To really make the most of the experience, aim to visit on a Saturday or Sunday, when you can follow your coffee and cake with a browse of the best cheeses the region has to offer, alongside an artisanal array of French fancies, fresh fruit and flowers at the market.
Watch the world pass by from La Pelle Café's outside terrace | Courtesy of La Pelle Café
Amidst the antique shops on Rue Notre Dame you’ll find La Pelle Café. Located in the centre of the historic quarter of Les Chartrons, this coffee shop will not disappoint. Julie particularly recommends La Pelle Café, saying “this place is great because they roast their own coffee grain”. Stay inside and enjoy the homely atmosphere or sit on the outdoor terrace and watch the world pass by on one of Bordeaux’s most charming streets. The lively atmosphere is complemented by friendly and passionate staff who also serve a selection of speciality coffees.
Bar, Cafe, Coffee Shop, Pastry Shop, French, Pastries, Coffee
At KURO Espresso bar, the smoothly made coffee is roasted to perfection; accompany it with one of their freshly made pastries or brioche, which are served straight from the oven. Like Julie, owner Pascal Gabard carefully selects the coffee roasts he serves. Julie explains; “KURO Espresso bar is a truly pleasant place to consume very high-quality coffee”. Without a doubt, this place is an unmissable spot and one of Bordeaux’s best coffee shop contenders. For a savoury snack order the quiche – it’s home made, of course.
L’Alchimiste Café is a gem locals might be reluctant to share with you. On the corner of the Rue de la Vieille Tour, it is by far one of the best places (if not the best) to drink coffee in Bordeaux. Among the many varieties of coffee, you should try the cappuccino – which comes highly praised by regulars. If you’re undecided, the super friendly staff are more than happy to help you.
Next to Cathedral Saint-André, Black List Café is a small and cosy retreat from the busy square. As well as its prime city-centre location, the coffee (especially the cappuccino) and brunch dishes are worth boasting about. The freshly pressed juices and iced coffees are not to be missed on a warm afternoon and, if you’re on the run, you can order your coffee to take away and be ideally located to continue your journey from the tram stop is just outside.