Walking down West Sixth Street, it is pretty hard to miss the pink-colored walls of one of the newest coffee and pastry shops in town.
The glass doors and windows of the café are decorated with stickers of its logo, the Eiffel Tower with a macaron on top, and the words “La vie en rose Patisserie – Café” arranged in a circle around it.
Stepping inside the shop is like going into one of the many bistros that dotted the streets of Paris an ocean away. It has an elegant yet cozy ambience, with wooden chairs and tables, exquisite teapots and teacups showcased on shelves, an ornate couch in a corner and the occasional rose placed in vases here and there. A large glass case displaying freshly-made cakes and pastries stands in the center of attention.
Stéphanie Laparre, the owner of La Vie en Rose, moved from France to Bloomington in 2016 with her husband, Günther Jikeli, an associate professor in the Borns Jewish Studies Program at IU.
"I needed to figure out what I was going to do here," Laparre said, "I missed the coffee, croissant and food back in France. One day when I was cooking for my friends, they praised my food and suggested I open a restaurant in Bloomington."
In order to prepare for the role of a restaurateur, Laparre took baking classes in France, and later asked a pastry chef friend of hers to come to Bloomington to train her for a month.
The name of the café, La Vie en Rose, means “life through rose-tinted glasses” and comes from the title of the signature song of France’s most celebrated singer, Edith Piaf. It has been a favorite of both Laparre and her husband since they first met. The phrase “la vie en rose” also depicts Laparre’s personal philosophy to always be positive no matter the circumstances in life.
To fully immerse customers in the French café experience, Laparre insists on choosing ingredients of the highest quality for her food and drinks. She uses European butter, Swiss chocolates, Belgian pure cocoa power and has frozen croissants shipped directly from an artisan baker in Paris every Wednesday.
According to Laparre, eating should be a time for relaxation and quiet enjoyment of food, rather than gobbling everything up in ten minutes. For this reason, she designed the setting of La Vie en Rose for customers to just sit, take a break from their busy lives and chat with friends over coffee and food.
The number one house rule?
“No coffee to go at my place,” Laparre said.
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