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Sunday - 19 September 2021

Midday in Paris

Yes, the title says ‘Midday in Paris’ but let me start by first talking about ‘Midnight in Paris’. The Woody Allen film captures the story of an American writer on holiday in modern day Paris but all he can dream of is Paris at midnight in the 1930s. And for good reason as the film will show you, it’s the stuff of dreams.

Cafe Bisou on Waiheke Island captures that very essence in many ways, it is old-world Parisienne charm brought into the modern day. Traditional cafes like these have dotted Europe for centuries, they have served as venues for social gatherings, meals and of course, coffee. Tucked away on Miami Avenue, Waiheke Island is where you will find such a place.

The view from the ferry
Leaving Auckland behind to discover Waiheke

A large sign bearing a lipstick mark and the words ‘Bisou’ along with French flags draped across the entrance invites you into this bustling café where you are greeted by the smell of melting butter and pastry. I want to go back already! It’s not just that, the music playing in the background is what I like to call ‘French Jazz’ or French café music as YouTube will tell you. The place literally smells and sounds like the Paris from your dreams! And on a sunny day, the ambience is damn near unmatchable.

Cafe Bisou, Waiheke Island
Bisou is a must visit for Waiheke Travelers

The scene is set, you are craving some delicious French pastry when you walk up to the counter and are immediately greeted with the brightest of smiles. We spent four days on the Island but made three trips to Bisou and even on their extremely busy days, the staff were ever welcoming. Always sparing the time to talk about French food or share a laugh. If you’re wondering what to order, I will let you in on a little secret. You will notice that there is usually an empty basket on the counter, that’s where the croissants, pan-au chocolats and pain-au raisins live. The basket is empty because those three pastries are ordered even before they can come out of the oven! They are really that delicious and we couldn’t resist taking some home with us to Auckland. As you will see below, I couldn’t even last the ferry ride before digging in.

A Bisou pain au chocolat
Enjoying a pain au chocolat on the ferry home

Yes, the pastries are excellent but then so is everything else. During our three trips there, I had crepes, juices, galettes and muffins, all of which were indescribably good. Again, I would recommend something in particular but then I would be doing a disservice to their faultless food. Sitting under the shade of an umbrella in the courtyard while sipping on a Rose juice and enjoying a scrumptious pan-au chocolat, what a feeling!

And that’s the sweet spot really. If Woody Allen’s film is what ‘Midnight in Paris’ feels like, then this is midday in Paris. Except, it’s not a movie but a perfect reality called Cafe Bisou.

Cafe Bisou scores 10/10

Matthew D'Souza
One of those born car enthusiast types. Owns a VW MK6 Golf GTI and an Alfa Romeo 147 GTA, both of which I won't stop talking about.

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