Nestled within the Quartier de la Violette just above Beaulieu lies a somewhat hidden outdoor café that's worth finding.
We were told that Le Café Perché was originally an agricultural annex of the Château de Beaulieu (now the Musée de l’art brut) in the 18th century, then later used as a newsstand and ice cream shop in the ’70s, and eventually became abandoned for a few decades before the city created an initiative to restore several of these “édicules” throughout the city. In 2019, Delphine and Johans took over and injected new life into this special little café that is literally a perch over the city.
Le Café Perché offers homemade lemonades, organic coffees, artisanal ice cream, and flavorful sandwiches and snacks all faits maison using regional products. It’s a simple and humble space with anything but a simple and humble panoramic view.
We strolled over for lunch one sunny afternoon and grabbed an elderflower and ginger lemonade, then settled under the parasols overlooking the vast lake below. The air was pleasant while we watched people stroll up to grab their lunches, kids ran by alongside the forested playgrounds just behind. Everyone greeted one another with a familiar wink behind their masks—it was easy going, slow and intimate in the best of ways.
There’s no set food menu at Le Café Perché, because the day and the season inform it. On this particular day we ate homemade focaccias—one stuffed with savory roasted sausage and potatoes sprinkled with hints of fennel all topped with homemade mayonnaise, and another with dollops of goat cheese, seasonal roasted vegetables and micro greens. It was fresh, it was simple, it was something that upon typing this article is making us salivate and want to return…right now.
We can imagine passing several summer afternoons at Le Café Perché, letting our kids run free within the multi-leveled and beautifully forested Parc de Jomini. We sat at our table and looked below noticing the steady flow of people exiting the Beaulieu vaccination center. What a strange time we’ve all just experienced collectively. And just like this little building that once sat empty and abandoned for so many years, we felt hope that there’s always another chapter to be written—it only takes a willing hand to pen it.