Best Coffee Shops in Lyon

There’s a big difference between what we think of as a “coffee shop” in the United States and the traditional French café, which is more of a multi-purpose refreshment center. The French café has sidewalk tables and a dim interior, serves meals at certain hours and beer, wine, and absolutely terrible coffee the rest of the time, and, though iconic, is generally not a place to set up camp with a laptop. When I first lived in Lyon, back in 2009-2010, the city had only a handful of coffee and tea shops, where beans and leaves are the main focus and the amenities are conducive to both conversation and work. Today, though, it’s a thriving scene.

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a traditional French café, in Paris– try fitting a laptop AND refreshment on those tables

My apartment is eleven square meters of very dark, moldy space, with a cold tile floor upon which I have broken all but one of my drinking glasses. To preserve my sanity I like to work elsewhere, so I’m thrilled with the recent proliferation of beautiful wifi-hosting, serious-coffee-serving, borderline-hipster coffee shops across Lyon. I try to visit as many as I can, but it’s hard to keep up. Here are some of the best coffeeshops in Lyon:

Le Tigre Coffeeshop

Le Tigre is a gorgeous space with huge arched windows and plenty of seating. It was opened about a year ago by two friends, Andrea and Delphine, who are serious about coffee and gluten-free food: the coffee is top-notch, and almost everything is gluten-free (something about which I’m indifferent, except for the fact that it still tastes amazing and they’ve always got something new to try). The wifi is consistent and these ladies have great taste in music, to boot.

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cortado and fudgy muffin/cupcake with white chocolate frosting

Bicycletterie

La Bicycletterie‘s been around for a bit over two years now, a combination coffee shop/bicycle repair shop run by a sweet couple, Charlotte and Anthony. The set-up is almost as cute as they are, with deconstructed bicycle parts hanging on the walls and a hodgepodge of variously-sized tables. In the wintertime, they serve up soups and toasted sandwiches that are the perfect cure for short-day melancholy, and they’ve always got something sweet on offer. I’m not a huge fan of the coffee, and the wifi can be a little iffy some days, but they are always happy to reboot the router in this cozy, centrally-located spot. Plus, they project the Tour de France on the wall, which is pretty great.

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A photo of Charlotte and Anthony (from rue89lyon.fr) – are they not the cutest?

 

Le Labo

Currently one of the only such coffee houses in the Guillotière neighborhood (though I’m sure that will soon change), Le Labo has a unique theme (science laboratory) and conveys the care that went into decorating this place. It has tasty treats (some home-made and some ordered-in), plenty of seating, excellent coffee, sandwiches at lunchtime, and baked goods (like cookies and pies) all the time. The last time I was there, I may or may not have spent too much time stroking the moss on the wall and trying to figure out if it was real (either way, it was soothing). Important note: The chairs are almost laughably uncomfortable.

La Boîte à Café– Café Mokxa

This small café (with a big terrace), a leader of Lyon’s coffee Renaissance, has been open since 2011. Café Mokxa roasts its own coffee, which is used in many of the other coffee shops in town and is the first coffee I ever had in France that didn’t make me flinch. The wifi is no-good at Mokxa’s coffeeshop, but it’s an airy place to read or write, and the food is interesting and tasty (cakes, pies, cookies, sandwiches). This is also the only place that can satisfy my occasional debilitating mocha craving, something I previously wrote about, in French so clumsy that it’s introduced by the editor as “charming,” in Lyon CityCrunch.

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(photo from the Mokxa website)

Raconte-moi la Terre

Raconte-moi la Terre is one of the old guard, having been around for years. I love it for several reasons: it’s open on Monday afternoons (this is actually rare for coffeeshops in France), it’s got a super-fun menu that includes lightly boozy coffees and smoothies, and it’s attached to an excellent travel bookshop with maps, travel guides, and travel-themed fiction and non-fiction. Note: their wifi network requires no password, security-paranoid be warned.

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(photo credit: lyon.fr)

Slake Coffeehouse

Slake is one of the newer kids on the block, but just try to find a seat at lunchtime or on weekends (you can’t). The coffee here: amazing. The food here: amazing. The baristas are happy to describe the origins and subtleties of the featured coffees, but you’ll probably be too engrossed in drinking them to ask. The food is fresh and made in-house– grab a seat an hour before lunchtime and enjoy the mouth-watering smells wafting from the open kitchen. Especially good are the tartes salées (savory pies), including such ingredients as bacon and sweet potato, broccoli and cheese… sigh.

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The lunchtime spread at Slake (photo credit: Slake)

Galérie Slika
I love the atmosphere in this combination gallery/coffeeshop. The coffee and food are both just passable, but there’s something calming about the high ceilings, quiet music, easy-going barista, and the way everyone at the small cluster of tables seems to be talking about art. It’s open on Monday, and the wifi here seems reliable.
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(photo credit: Slika)

Les Cafetiers
Just opened at the end of last year, Les Cafetiers is a beautiful place, clean and tastefully decorated. There’s a small outdoor courtyard and plenty of bright indoor lighting on the array of creative, fresh, and wholesome sandwiches and salads. The coffee is solid, as is the offering of desserts (although most appear to have come from the tasty-but-ubiquitous Piece of Cake, supplier of treats for many of Lyon’s coffeeshops).
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looking inside from the courtyard (photo credit: Les Cafetiers)

Café J’Adore
When I need space to spread out my materials, buckle down, and really work, J’Adore is my go-to. It’s slightly less cozy than its newer counterparts, but it’s nearly always open (even on Mondays) and is designed to welcome those with laptops (outlets for days; consistent wifi). It was one of the first of its kind in Lyon, and is one of the only places with seating available on Sunday afternoon (after the brunch rush) since it moved from its original location into a much larger space on the same pedestrian street. It too is run by a cute couple, who have recently hired a whole team of baristas. Best of all, this is what its grand café viennois looks like:
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droooool

Not tempted by any of the above? Looking for more? Try: À Chacun Sa Tasse (without wifi but the BOOK of tea choices and comfy upstairs lounge is worth the visit), Myart (with a unique and regularly-changing cake selection), Caffe Roma (with specialty Italian grocery attached), Little (cupcakes), L’Instant (open Sundays and Mondays), Puzzle (rumored to serve empanadas, but I have not personally confirmed this), Dust (open Mondays, adorable as a dollhouse), Le Tasse Livre (attached to a bookshop and open on Mondays), and Petit Noir (mystery bookshop attached). Plus, two that I have not personally tested: Makkiato (open Sunday); Chamourai (a cat– yes, cat– café). This list, unbelievably, is not exhaustive.
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8 thoughts on “Best Coffee Shops in Lyon

  1. Wow, you have several on here that I didn’t even know! You are the queen of cafes. I hear that the empanadas are back at Puzzle! I want to go to the other cat café down by Perrache – Le Comptoir du GentleCat. I walked by and it looks nice and the cats are cute! Of course, you have to like cats. Also, I didn’t know you wrote for Lyon City Crunch, you are super famous! And I think that you’ve given me a boulangerie in the 5th to add to my list… Epiaison, you say?

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  2. Pingback: Best Cocktail Bars in Lyon | Transient Local

  3. Stopped in at Le Tigre before reading your post. Wanted a cold brew in the warm summer weather. The lady advised that she didn’t have enough fill the glass and lowered the price. As a visitor, I wouldn’t have known the difference. Random act of kindness that was really appreciated.

    Like

  4. Pingback: The Prettiest Places for Tea in Lyon – La Vie En C-Rose

  5. Pingback: My favorite wine bars in Lyon – La Vie En C-Rose

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