Exploring the Cosy Café Culture in Bordeaux
Looking for places where you can savour a delicious cup of coffee in Bordeaux? Welcome! In this article, you’ll uncover the best coffee shops in Bordeaux along with the delightful intersection of coffee and culture in the heart of Bordeaux, Southwest France.
Bordeaux, the enchanting wine city that captivates visitors with its rich history, stunning architecture, and of course, its world-renowned vineyards. While Bordeaux is renowned for its exceptional wines, there is another hidden gem that awaits exploration amidst the cobblestone streets and picturesque squares: its thriving coffee culture.
In this guide, you are on a delightful journey through the best coffee shops in Bordeaux, where you can savour aromatic brews, indulge in delectable pastries, and immerse yourself in the city’s cosy café scene.
If you’re a coffee aficionado seeking the perfect espresso or if you’re simply looking for a cosy spot to relax, Bordeaux’s coffee shops offer a delightful respite from the city’s vinous pursuits. Uncover the enchanting fusion of coffee and culture in the heart of Bordeaux, the wine city unlike any other. .
My visit to Bordeaux
During my visit to the beautiful city of Bordeaux, I visited several boulangeries , cafés restaurants, and savoured on food tastings. I have indulged in the scrumptious pastries along with specialty roasted and super dark and velvety magical coffees. A completely divine experience. I love to share some of these hidden charms in the wine city so you could experience them when visiting Bordeaux.
In this article, I have opted to use the terms “coffee shops” and “café” interchangeably. While there is a certain flair in using the term “café” when speaking of France, for me, these coffee spaces mean the same. However, for any of you who want to know if there is a difference or otherwise, I did a mini research about coffee shops vs cafés. I append below what I found out.
COFFEE SHOPS vs CAFÉS: WHAT IS THE DIFFERRENCE
So, coffee shops vs cafés, what’s the difference? Well, in France, the term “café” typically refers to a traditional establishment that primarily serves coffee, often accompanied by pastries or light snacks. These cafés hold a special place in French culture, where people gather to socialise, relax, and enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee.
The ambiance is often characterized by a cosy and intimate setting, with a focus on conversation and savouring the moment.
On the other hand, the term “coffee shops” has a broader connotation and is more commonly used in English-speaking countries. In this context, coffee shops encompass a wider range of offerings beyond just coffee. They often serve a variety of beverages, such as tea, specialty coffee drinks, and even non-caffeinated options. Additionally, many coffee shops offer an extensive menu of food items, including sandwiches, salads, and desserts, creating a more comprehensive dining experience.
Despite these differences in terminology, both cafés in France and coffee shops in other parts of the world share a common purpose: to provide a welcoming space for individuals to enjoy a cup of coffee, connect with others, and take a moment to pause in the midst of their day. So, while the terms may vary, the underlying concept and the joy of indulging in a good cup of coffee remain universally cherished.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ORDER “COFFEE” IN FRANCE
In France, the term “coffee” typically refers to a small, concentrated shot of espresso. When you order a coffee in France, it is commonly understood that you are requesting a single shot of espresso served in a small cup.
French coffee culture places emphasis on the quality and intensity of the espresso rather than the volume of the beverage. French coffee is known for its strong flavour and rich aroma. It is usually prepared using high-quality coffee beans that are finely ground and then brewed under high pressure, resulting in a concentrated and full-bodied espresso. The French take pride in the art of coffee-making, and baristas strive to extract the best flavours from the beans to create a satisfying coffee experience.
It’s important to note that in France, a simple coffee order does not typically include milk or any additional ingredients. However, you can request variations such as café crème (espresso with steamed milk) or café au lait (coffee with hot milk), if you prefer a milder and creamier option.
Overall, when you order “coffee” in France, you can expect a single shot of intense and flavourful espresso, showcasing the French appreciation for quality coffee and the art of espresso preparation.
THE BEST COFFEE SHOPS IN BORDEAUX
Café Hopping in Bordeaux: Discovering Cultural Hotspots, Hidden Gems and the Best Coffee Spaces
Bordeaux’s café culture is a delightful tapestry woven into the city’s fabric, inviting locals and visitors alike to indulge in the art of café hopping.
An integral part of daily life, the city of Bordeaux brims with charming cafés and cosy corners that beckon you to unwind, indulge, and savour the moment. From historic squares to hidden charms in Bordeaux’s alleys, the city is teeming with cultural hotspots and hidden gems where coffee, conversation, and creativity intertwine. These delightful coffee-bars offer a respite from the bustling streets, inviting you to experience Bordeaux’s unique café culture.
Here is our selection of the unmissable charmingly best coffee shops in Bordeaux. Include these cosy corners in your journey of café hopping, uncovering the cultural pulse and hidden treasures of Bordeaux’s vibrant café scene:
Café de la Comédie
Located near the iconic Grand Théâtre, Café de la Comédie is a cultural hotspot that exudes sophistication and elegance. Step inside this historic café, and you’ll be transported to a bygone era. Adorned with polished wood, antique mirrors, and plush seating along with beautiful chandeliers, it provides a refined setting to enjoy your coffee.
Sit at one of the outdoor tables overlooking the lively Place de la Comédie, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere as you sip on a perfectly brewed café au lait and a canelé. This café has been a gathering place for artists, intellectuals, and theater enthusiasts for decades, making it a perfect spot to immerse yourself in Bordeaux’s cultural heritage.
*It is absolutely beautiful at night.
Café de la Comédie, Bordeaux
Nestled in Place Saint-Christoly in the historic neighbourhood, Mama Shelter is one of the hidden gems in Bordeaux. A vibrant and eclectic café that captures the city’s bohemian spirit. This colourful space boasts a lively atmosphere with its contemporary design, funky artwork, and playful touches.
Grab a seat on the terrace and revel in the lively energy of the neighbourhood while enjoying a refreshing iced coffee or a signature cocktail.
You can choose to stay at Mama Shelter or find a cosy corner in the hotel’s cosy coffee lounge area. Soak up the sun on their rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city and watch the most beautiful sunsets from here over Bordeaux. Indulge in a gourmet coffee creation or try one of their signature cocktails while enjoying the lively ambiance. Mama Shelter is a meeting place for locals and travellers alike, where the energy of Bordeaux comes alive.
Mama Shelter, Bordeaux
Books & Coffee
For bibliophiles and coffee connoisseurs, Books & Coffee is a hidden gem tucked away in Bordeaux’s Rue Saint-James.
This charming coffee shop in Bordeaux combines the love of literature with the art of coffee-making. The shelves are lined with a curated selection of books, inviting you to browse through their pages as you sip on a steaming cup of coffee or indulge in a homemade pastry. The cosy ambiance and the comforting aroma of freshly brewed coffee make Books & Coffee an ideal spot to unwind, nourish your mind, and connect with fellow bookworms.
Le Café du Levant
Tucked away on Saint-Jean Station Square, Le Café du Levant is another one of the best coffee shops in Bordeaux. This space exudes old-world charm. As you step inside, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and warm pastries greets you. The café’s rustic wooden furniture, vintage decor, and soft lighting create a cosy and intimate atmosphere.
Find a seat by the window and watch as the world passes by while you sip on a velvety café au lait or indulge in a delicate croissant. This café dates from 1896 and is a favourite among locals, who come here to unwind, read a book, or engage in lively conversations.
Located in the vibrant neighbourhood of Saint-Michel, L’Alchimiste is a hidden gem that will enchant coffee aficionados. This specialty coffee shop in Bordeaux is a haven for those seeking the perfect brew. Behind the counter, skilled baristas passionately craft each cup of coffee with precision and artistry. The café’s minimalist decor, with its exposed brick walls and sleek wooden accents, creates a modern and inviting space.
Sit at the communal table and strike up a conversation with fellow coffee lovers or find a cosy corner to lose yourself in a good book while savouring the complex flavours of a pour-over or a handcrafted espresso.
Café Piha, located in the heart of Bordeaux, captures the essence of the city’s café culture with its hidden charm and cosy atmosphere. Situated on a quaint street adorned with historic buildings, this coffe shop in Bordeaux invites you to immerse yourself in the captivating blend of coffee and culture.
Inside Café Piha, the warm wooden interiors and comfortable seating create an inviting ambiance. The skilled baristas prepare exceptional coffee, showcasing their passion for the craft. From expertly pulled espressos to velvety cappuccinos and flavourful pour-overs, Café Piha offers a delightful range of coffee delights that cater to every preference.
The aroma of freshly brewed beans fills the air, enhancing the experience. Beyond the exceptional coffee, Café Piha’s menu features tasty pastries and homemade cakes that perfectly complement your chosen beverage. It serves one of the best breakfasts in Bordeaux.
Visit Café Piha, one of the most adorable coffee shops in Bordeaux, where you can indulge in the art of a well-crafted café and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant coffee scene.
The delightful benefits of Café hopping and experiencing the coffee shops in Bordeaux
Café hopping in Bordeaux unveils the city’s best coffee shops while offering opportunities to indulge in cultural richness, artistic flair, and culinary delights.
Bordeaux’s café culture invites you to slow down, immerse yourself in the moment, and appreciate the simple pleasures of life. From a historic café steeped in tradition, an eclectic establishment that exudes modernity, or a literary haven that sparks your imagination, discovering the best coffee shops in Bordeaux whilst café hopping in is a remarkable experience.
EXPLORING THE SOUTHWEST OF FRANCE
If you’re planning a trip to Bordeaux or the southwest of France, I have some personal recommendations that you shouldn’t miss out on. To dive deeper into your travel planning, I suggest checking out these informative articles that will help enhance your experience.
Itinerary and highlights in Bordeaux
For those with limited time in Bordeaux, a perfect two-day itinerary is available for first-time visitors. This comprehensive guide will lead you through the city’s highlights, ensuring you don’t miss any of the must-see attractions. From historic sites to charming neighbourhoods and delectable cuisine, this itinerary covers it all. Here is the best guide to two days in Bordeaux for first visits.
When it comes to choosing the best time to visit Bordeaux, a guide to the city’s best seasons can be invaluable. Discover the ideal time to experience the region’s wine culture, vibrant festivals, and pleasant weather. With this knowledge, you can plan your trip accordingly and make the most of your time in Bordeaux. Read here: Guide to Bordeaux’s best seasons.
Wondering whether a visit to Bordeaux Cathedral is worthwhile? This article will help you decide. Explore the historical significance and architectural beauty of this iconic landmark. Gain insights into its cultural and religious significance, allowing you to make an informed decision about including it in your itinerary. Is Bordeaux Cathedral worth a visit?
Curious about The Cité du Vin Bordeaux? Discover if this wine-themed museum is worth a visit. Learn about the interactive exhibits, wine tastings, and educational experiences it offers. This article will help you assess whether it aligns with your interests and preferences. Learn more about The Cité du Vin Bordeaux.
Elsewhere from Bordeaux
Not too far from Bordeaux, lies a remarkable gem along the coast. Port de Larros, located in Arcachon is only an hour or less drive away from the wine city. This off-beat coastal charm offers a unique and picturesque setting that is worth exploring. From its quaint fishing village atmosphere to the stunning views of the Arcachon Bay, Port de Larros provides a delightful escape from the bustling city life. Go here to read the complete article about Port de Larros.
If you’re interested in visiting the famous Dune du Pilat from Bordeaux, you’ll find a helpful guide on how to get there. This natural wonder, boasting the tallest sand dune in Europe, is a must-see attraction. The article will provide you with detailed information on transportation options and tips to make your journey smooth and enjoyable. Read this informative guide about how to get to Dune du Pilat.
If you’re interested in exploring the medieval village of Saint Emilion, an in-depth one-day guide is at your disposal. Uncover the rich history and architectural marvels of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. From its ancient monolithic church to the sprawling vineyards, this guide will ensure you make the most of your visit. Navigate here for your one day itinerary in Saint Emilion.
Travelling from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion? There are six ways to reach this medieval village, and this article outlines each option. Whether you prefer a scenic train ride or a leisurely bike tour through the vineyards, you’ll find all the necessary information to plan your journey. >> How to travel from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion.
Inspiring your journey
For those who want to immerse themselves in the beauty of Bordeaux through words, my collection of quotes and captions of “Bordeaux in Words” is a fantastic choice. Delve into the poetic descriptions and vivid imagery that capture the essence of the city. It’s an excellent companion for anyone seeking a literary escape.
Capture the beauty of Bordeaux at sunrise or at the golden hour. Go to my detailed guide to the best Instagrammable places with stunning backdrops for a rewarding experience.
Finally, if you’re planning to explore more of France beyond Bordeaux, don’t miss out on the ultimate travel escape guide to France. This comprehensive resource provides insights into various regions, cities, and attractions across the country. From Parisian landmarks to quaint villages, this guide will inspire your wanderlust and help shape your future travel plans.
Explore more of Bordeaux with these indepth guides at your fingertips
With these informative articles at your disposal, your trip to Bordeaux and the southwest of France is bound to be unforgettable. Enjoy the journey as you delve into the rich culture, history, and natural beauty of this captivating region. Stay connected by subscribing to Timeless Travel Steps for the latest in our travels.
finally…on the best coffee shops in Bordeaux and café culture
From my experiences of this wine city, Bordeaux proves to be a treasure trove for coffee lovers. A delightful array of cosy coffee shops line almost every street, and a thriving café culture where people gather to spend time together or to simply people watch. From the enchanting streets lined with historic buildings to the aroma of expertly brewed coffee, the wine city offers an inviting escape for those seeking a memorable coffee experience.
Whether you find yourself sipping a perfectly pulled espresso in a traditional café or discovering innovative coffee creations in a trendy coffee shop, Bordeaux’s coffee scene never fails to impress. So, indulge in the cosy charm, savour the rich velvety flavours, and immerse yourself in the delightful coffee culture that makes Bordeaux a true haven for coffee enthusiasts.
Have an awesome time uncovering the finest coffee spaces in Bordeaux, xx
Are you considering exploring other captivating European destinations?
If you’re planning to immerse yourself in the wonders of Bordeaux, I highly recommend expanding your itinerary to include additional alluring destinations in Europe.
When it comes to expanding your horizons, England awaits with its vibrant city of London, offering a plethora of iconic attractions and cultural experiences. Discover the highlights of this cosmopolitan city through my dedicated London page.
Stow-on-the-Wold, famous for its enchanting “magical door” at St Edward’s Church, is certainly worth a visit, as it is said to have inspired the creation of the “Doors of Durin” of the Lord of the Rings series by JRR Tolkien.
Scotland, with its majestic landscapes and rich heritage, beckons you to explore. From the historic city of Edinburgh to the captivating Highlands, there is an abundance of discoveries to be made. Be sure not to miss iconic landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle and embark on a magical journey aboard the Jacobite Steam Train, famously known as the Harry Potter train.
Italy, a veritable treasure trove of beauty and culture, extends a warm invitation to explore its enchanting destinations. Explore the romantic city of Verona, the flair of Milan and the magnificent landscapes of Lake Como and Lake Garda. Gain valuable insights and recommendations for your Italian adventure on my dedicated Italy travel page.
Other European Gems
Explore other European gems. For example, cities like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Budapest, Montserrat, or Seville if these ignite your imagination. In these articles, you’ll find insights and recommendations for these exhilarating destinations.
For seamless travel
For a seamless travel experience, be sure to explore my resource page, brimming with valuable tips and information.
Embark on a European journey of exploration and discovery, as each destination offers its own unique charm and experiences. No matter if you’re captivated by the historic streets of London, the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands, or the cultural wonders of Italy, there’s a captivating destination waiting just for you to be discovered.