Thinking about turning part of my home into a coffee shop. Possible? Or not worth the hassle?

Hi Everyone

Is it just me or do you all wish you could get a decent Latte (NOT cafe creme - it not the same thing) or a cappucino or a mochacino or any other of those fab choices that they offer all over Europe but not in rural France??

We are in the catering business and have a food truck (fish and chips) which is going great. Problem is that OH is due to retire soon and we will prob stop trading in 3 or 4 years (it's hard work and he has knee issues) It needs 2 people so it won't be practical to continue on my own.

I will need something to do - partly because I like to be doing something and partly because I have fallen into the new pension laws "trap" yet again and need to make up some contributions in the UK to get my full state pension (35 years now not 30) and the payments are considerably cheaper if you are working (even out of the country).

We have a premises in a popular village which is renowned for its eateries (no decent coffee shop tho!) This would make a fabulous outlet for my plan. I can make wheelchair access easily. There is a downstairs loo and a small kitchen (modifications will be made to comform "au normes") I have an outside space. It is in a reasonably good location - just off the square down a side street but visible from the road. Simple lunchtime only menu, cakes and scones...It could be perfect!

I'm thinking just for the summer (june to sept) leaving the rest of the year free to visit the family and go travelling....

I know I will have to ask the Mairie if it is ok but assuming they say yes what then?

Advice and information gratefully received.

Since arriving in 2014, In all the areas of France I have visited (and there are many) - I have only ever found one decent espresso based coffee in a shop in Annecy. It seems to be a massive shortcoming here, strangely but I guess compared to countries like Italy, Australia and South Africa there does not seem to be a demand & therefore no supply

. If I saw your suggested coffee shop I would try it for sure - but it seems the majority is satisfied with the status quo…

Hi Karen

If you have a good foreign tourist market I would go for it! There is a small American Style coffee shop in Albi which serves the most wonderful coffees - proper lattes, mochas etc with muffins and cupcakes and it is always busy BUT everytime I visit (which is quite often) it is full of non french - I've met, English, American, Spanish, Italien, South African, South American and Australian. It is small with only one lady working there but it works.

If you go for it - good luck - there will be many happy tourists who find you - the times I have desperately wanted a decent cup of coffee when I've been out and about


If you have a strong tourist trade locally I'd go for it. If it is mainly French then I'd do lots and lots of research among the locals. Couldn't you do traditional coffees with all the fancy Italian ones as an add on?

Personally I would love a good coffee shop, as I end up drinking expressos only, but unless you are in a touristy area with good footfall, not sure if the invrstment would be worth it just for local oretty much all our french friends only drink the little expressos.....

Decent coffee is a hidden treasure!

So very hard to find.

I have a pour and serve, a pod machine, cafitere for the clients but for those clients

whom we cook for they get the big broozer of a machine which we brough from our cafe/deli in Chiswick.So many years on the machine still works.....

What an interesting idea! Having traveled from Australia, all around the world to arrive in France, I have some experience of coffee and the various cultural attitudes to it.

First of all Australian coffee is the best by far! But this is for Australians and people who like hot, milky, strong coffee made with the best yaragacheffe beans from Ethiopia. How do I know this? One of my students was a lovely old man called Domenic Crivelli, who was the grandfather of the Australian coffee culture. He started Coffex Coffee in 1959, Crivelli Coffee in 2001 amongst others. His son still runs a cafe/roastery in Melbourne.

I've searched for coffee that suits my taste all over the world, and I must say that France and England are least successful at this. It seems to me that the French prefer coffee that is small, warm, bitter and largely devoid of other flavours, while British coffee, particularly that of the M&S Cafes, is good quality espresso ruined with an additional gallon of warm water.

Milk is another matter. Australians have a preference for full cream milk, and there are special frothing milks for cappuccino, while French cafes use exclusively UHT Demi-Creme milk, which adds a particularly nasty taste.

So, in summary, I agree with those who said that you will need lots of tourists to make such a coffee shop work in France, as the local preference is for something completely different. Don't worry about Starbuck's where the dishwater is better than the coffee. In fact Starbuck's have completely overhauled their coffee menu due to the dominance of Australian inspired latte's and macchiato's.

If you go ahead with your plan, I will come and visit you, no matter how far away.


You can't ignore the French taste for coffee.

Finland consumes more coffee per capita than any other country in the workd yet there are only around 4 Starbucks in that country. Presumably their products do not satisfy the Finish taste in coffee. Simlarly Starbucks has not gone down a storm in France despite the French love of things American e.g. Macdonalds. So unless you have an inrush of tourists in the summer who want to forego the charm and gastronomic delights of your village for a taste of back home, I would be cautious. Latte and a double choc muffin, or cafe au lait and a croissant? I know what I would want on holiday in France. In our small town, pop 3000, there are 8 places where I can go for a good cup of coffee and not a Costa Coffee lookalike in sight.

Interestingly in Australia, where Starbucks have failed, they were trying to infiltrate a mature market already well served with quality coffee shops of a similar ilk. No room for the American upstart. It's horses for courses and It sounds to me that you might be thinking of riding the wrong horse on the wrong course.

I like French coffee, and I think that most French people do too. I love walking into a café, just about anywhere in France, and getting a reliable espresso or grand crème. So I would agree with James. I find London difficult, as you just can't get good coffee easily. Ironically, Pret, with its French sounding name, did the worst coffee of the lot.