The Bordeaux economy has recently seen a boom in terms of the creation of coffee shops and tea rooms: at any time and throughout Bordeaux, gourmets can find their happiness. A delightful discovery on rue du Palais Gallien, Octavie’s, a tea room decorated with rococo décor and old times, offers, on its menu, homemade pastries. Octavie’s is also home to a boutique area to offer tea bags from the gardens of the Château de Versailles, enough to attract new Bordeaux arrivals from Paris thanks to the new LGV line that connects Bordeaux to Paris in 2 hours. Another growing phenomenon allowed by the Bordeaux rapprochement with the capital, the ephemeral boutiques offer nice opportunities in the run-up to Mother’s Day to discover brands and know-how usually not located in Bordeaux, such as Lou Yetu, Parisian jewelry designer. With its proximity to the capital, Bordeaux gastronomy is also experiencing a resurgence of dynamism with the expansion of tea rooms and brunches.
The brunch business: Bordeaux succumbs to this art of living
If the phenomenon across the Channel is well known, the national territory and especially the metropolis of Bordeaux have remained relatively away from this institutionalization of the tea or coffee moment. The tradition of flutes, erected as a taste symbol of Bordeaux, lends itself well to the tea rooms and coffee shops. One of the first illustrations of the craze for this art of living is the appearance of “brunchs” that is to say the juxtaposition of the word breakfast and lunch in the restaurant landscape. Usually Sunday, brunch comes in all colors: Norwegian, vegetarian, English. Even more than this lunch dish, the snack break is sophisticated. Cafes and tea rooms compete with ideas to transform the former café-terrace that once formed the heart of cities: café-bike, café-library, café-space coworking, tea rooms with wooded indoor terrace. The commonality of these different concepts is to propose an epicurean but always sophisticated state of mind. It is on this idea of offering an experience, a pleasant moment to the customer, that tea rooms and coffee shops base their success. This changes the customer relationship. Octavia’s is a fine example, the tranquillity of the place breaks with the cacophony of the city. The rue du Palais Gallien in Bordeaux symbolizes this culinary and societal renewal.
Brunch in the Bordeaux economy, a changing way of life
From the point of view of the Bordeaux economy, this type of lifestyle follows a strategy of sophistication, focused on the high end and the customer experience. This strategy of sophistication of cafes and tea rooms is quite visible on the Bordeaux metropolis: “To the Wonderful of Fred” offers high-end pastries in a setting that plunges us directly into a maupassant novel. In contrast to frozen cuisine, tea rooms rely on home-made, all in a slow food atmosphere. At Octavie’s, chef Najat, who has taken the prestigious “nomadic cuisine” training given by Michelin-starred chef Thierry Marx, offers a taste experience by revisiting the soft chocolate or the fresh goat, mint and cumin potato chips. The concept of bistronomy, which aims to offer quality products to as many people as possible, thus applies to tea rooms. This recent craze and the proliferation of tea rooms can, beyond the societal aspect, be explained by the pedestrianization of the Bordeaux metropolis. With the considerable urban development carried out on Bordeaux, strolling through the pedestrian streets becomes a pleasure. The newly pedestrianised streets are thus becoming privileged places for the projects of tea rooms and cafes. Tea rooms are a very old socializing space, especially for the aristocracy. Although the practice of meeting on the street, in public spaces, is less common in France than in Latin countries, Spain or Portugal, tea rooms offer pretexts to meet.
While Bordeaux tops the list in number of restaurants per capita, 1 restaurant per 285 inhabitants, the Bordeaux metropolis continues its ascent in the field of the arts of living by sheltering more and more innovative culinary concepts. As such, the phenomenon of tea rooms and brunches reinforces Bordeaux’s status as a metropolis with a high quality of life and a business model based on slow food and better living.