If France is for lovers but you haven’t got one I recommend a little city in France which is for lovers, but of a different sort. Pretty dang good coffee in Strasbourg, France makes it the perfect place for, you guessed it, coffee lovers!
A couple short weeks ago we were in Strasbourg, France for an overnight stay and imagine how happy I was to discover that the the charming little town actually has a handful of very promising coffee shops. And imagine my utter delight at the fact Ber agreed to take me to these.
Background and Coffee Grounds
A bit surprisingly, I haven’t found much for coffee culture in the immediate area of Germany and Switzerland where we’re living. By coffee culture I mean coffee wars for the best latte art, best cappuccino, and best chill-out place with plugins. Drive an hour to Zurich and there’s some great coffee to be sure, but who are we kidding. The trip there for one of the world’s most expensive cups of coffee is rarely if ever worth it. It wasn’t hard then to be enthusiastic about my coffee finds in Strasbourg, all reasonably priced. But no matter where you’re hailing from I doubt very much you’ll be disappointed in Strasbourg’s coffee scene. I write not quite as what one might call a coffee expert but definitely a coffee lover.
You may realize by the end of this that I’m also a big fan of coffee shops themselves. I love not only the coffee they serve but that they’re a place where people come together and that they’re so often a space where creative juices are welcomed to overflow.
First thing after arriving to Strasbourg early Sunday afternoon we popped in to Cafe Bretelles . It was fairly busy on a Sunday, but maybe it was just noticeable because it’s a bit of a smaller café which only means it was a little cozy. We ordered a latte, cappuccino and baguette with butter and jam. The cappuccino was the best cup of coffee I drank while in Strasbourg as well as the most well done latte art. The baguette reminded me why the French will be bakers in heaven. The service was good. They were pretty laid back guys, not jumping with enthusiasm or anything but who is on a Sunday afternoon? Plus they’ve got the coffee figured out and probably figured if it’s that good, people will come.
This is the brother location to the other Cafe Bretelles. It’s located in the oldest and many say the quaintest part of Strasbourg called Petite France. My cappuccino here was not as good as at the other place, but a recommendable cup of happy nonetheless. The cute coffeeshop front and the signs gave character to this place.
Bretelles by the way, is the French word for suspenders. You don’t just name a shop Suspenders for no reason, so I was sure there had to be a story there. I asked the barista and he said the owner used to wear them. Hoping for a bit more of a story I caught myself before asking “why?” realizing there are only two reasons people wear suspenders. (For fashion’s sake or because their pants won’t stay up, or am I missing something?)
If you do visit the place, note that there is a spacious sitting area up some rickety-and-full-of-character stairs which we didn’t realize until we were searching for the bathrooms. PS… I will also never forget that there was a washing machine in the bathroom. Probably not meant for public use, but if you are a student and decide to go to Strasbourg for the weekend instead of home to mom to do laundry, I wouldn’t tell anyone. Overall, a comfy place to hang with a coffee worthy of being your second cup of the day.
Then comes the question, can coffee taste as good when it’s not served in the coffee shop atmosphere? This was the only coffee we just happened upon. We were actually looking for a French pizza-like dish called Flambée, which was advertised on their chalk menu outside. As it turned out they weren’t serving it that time of day. Since it says in their menu specifically that they do serve it at that time of day, I suspect they just ran out of bacon and no one wanted to go kill another pig that day. Anyway, I ordered a coffee créme instead because coffee is a good replacement for everything. Because it’s more of a bar than a coffee shop my expectations were lower, but I’m including Raven Cafe and Bar here because that cup of coffee turned out to be better than not half bad. I couldn’t imagine myself hanging here really. I missed the coffeeshop atmosphere. But if you happen upon it do try their coffee.
Oh my goodness, If I were to choose only one coffee shop to spend an afternoon hanging in Strasbourg, it would be this one. The coffee was good. As was the hot chocolate, as was the iced chai. But I knew I liked the place the minute I walked in a saw the rocking chair next to crates stacked together to make a bookshelf of books and games. What really sealed the deal was the friendly, chill barista who was the most communicative, happy being with whom we came in contact with in Strasbourg. The cherry on top was the wifi. It was the fastest of any we found in Strasbourg, including our hotel.
The details were lovely and community was strongly promoted without the word ever being said. On the tables were jars with little strips of paper in them with conversation starters written on them. We can’t speak French however so that’s why we appreciated their Wifi was so fast.
Ber liked their unique take on hot chocolate though we thought it looked interesting at first. It was basically hot milk poured over giant chocolate chips. Delicious!
If I were you I wouldn’t be shy about how much coffee you drink while in Strasbourg. Enjoy the Christmas market and fairy tale worthy streets, but don’t forget the coffee. And don’t forget to come back here and tell me if there’s one I should add to this list!
Scroll over the images in this post and pin as many of them as you like. But be sure and save the one below so you can find this post to refer to when you’re planning your trip to Strasbourg! And if you are a coffee loving pinner you might like to follow my coffee board. And remember sharing is caring, especially when it comes to coffee. 😉