Ooh La Llawen! Explore the French connection in Cardiff.
Whether you’re looking for the comforts of home or want to immerse yourself completely in the Welsh way of life, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about Cardiff.
While the Welsh enjoy their coffee, we’re a nation of tea-drinkers at heart and often prefer our coffee weaker than our French counterparts. Some of the standard French coffee drinking practices, like sipping from a bowl or serving cafe au lait to small children, would elicit some very strange looks from us Welshies!
For the taste of a French patisserie in Cardiff, Patisserie Valerie is minutes’ walking distance from the main shopping district. Or grab a seat at Cocorico, just a short distance from the city centre to Whitchurch Road. Alternatively, if you’d rather sample a local brew, visit The Little Man Coffee Co or Pettigrew Tea Rooms, which both boast coffee made from Welsh beans. Bowl optional!
French CuisineJust like our neighbours across the channel, we Welsh love our food and Cardiff has a wide selection of French style eateries. However French guests may be in for a shock as the Welsh have no problem asking for menu substitutions or splitting the bill based on what we ate. Très désagréable!
If you’re craving French cuisine, hit the Old Brewery Quarter, where you’ll find Le Bistrot Pierre. Or, if you don’t mind a quick bus ride from the city centre, there’s quirky diner ThéPot on Crwys Road.
Cheese and WineOne thing Wales and France have in common is that we’re both famous for cheese. Specifically, for our love of melting cheese and mixing it with bread. Mind you, hardcore fondue lovers might find our dishes somewhat bitter – we like to flavour our fromage with beer and Worcestershire Sauce!
You can find a range of cheese from both countries at Madame Fromage, a renowned cheese specialist and delicatessen in the city centre’s Castle Arcade. As a bonus, there’s a cafe attached that serves multiple cheese-themed dishes, so whether you prefer Croque Monsieur or Welsh Rarebit, you won’t go wanting.Wine, conversely, is something the French do a lot better than us. Here in Wales, we prefer our alcohol in the form of ales and lagers. If you are thirsty for a good Merlot or Pinot Noir, take a peek at the wine shelves in Henry’s Cafe Bar or 33 Windsor Place.
If you’re feeling sciency during your stay, spend an afternoon at Techniquest in Cardiff Bay. It’s an interactive science museum with over 100 family-friendly exhibits. It may not be the Cite des Sciences, but it’s definitely fun!
Both Welsh and French culture are steeped in history and like French schoolchildren, Welsh tykes are raised celebrating their country’s traditions.
While you may have missed the renowned Eisteddfod festival, you can still spend the day at St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life, where historical Welsh buildings – some dating way back to 1100 – have been reconstructed in a lush parkland.
If you’d prefer a slice of French history, check out the French Impressionist Gallery at The National Museum. It just so happens to be the biggest collection of French art outside of Paris and features the work of Monet, Van Gough and Renoir.
In short, each of our continental sojourners are sure to find something to savour in Cardiff!