Le Chat l'Heureux: Nantes, France
Phone: +33 2 40 48 23 41
Hours: Tue-Sat 12:00-19:00, Closed S/M
Entrance Fee: None
Au Revoir les Chats Doux: Review of Le Chat L'Heureux Bar a Chats
Autumn was a busy time for The Neighbor's Cat with a whopping 48 cat cafe visits in three months. As such, I've been a bit backlogged writing reviews.
When I finally pulled up the notes for Le Chat L'Heureux in Nantes, I was excited because my visit was incredible. The cats, the food, the facility, the staff-- my experience was superior in every way and it's much more fun writing positive reviews.
So you can imagine my devastation when I learned that they are closing on January 27 (I am writing this on January 25). Per their website, the lessor has sold the building and the cats will enjoy 'retirement'.
I am hurrying to get this out because I really want the owner and staff to know how special their cafe is, and how impressed I remain to this day. Le Chat L'Heureux is not just one of the best in France, but one of the best in the world.
When I arrived just after the cafe's noon opening, I was greeted by Loriane, who gave me quick and friendly run-down of the rules as she seated me in the main cafe area, a casual, yet elegant space with an original 18th century stone wall.
I studied the menu and was impressed with the selections, a variety of soups, entrees and plats du jour, plus wine, coffee and an enormous selection of specialty teas. I quickly placed my order and turned my attention to the supermodels of Le Chat L'Heureux, the cats.
A combination of pedigrees and rescues, the six felines of Le Chat L'Heureux (French for 'The Happy Cat') have been permanent residents since the cafe opened in April, 2015. All are nearly three years old, a deliberate effort to socialize them from a young age into a cohesive clowder. There is Ulysses, a curious ragdoll with piercing blue eyes and his brother Titus who likes to keep a distance--a better vantage to be admired, I reckon. Cesar, is a drop-dead gorgeous (and rare) red point Birman with the fluffiest tail I have ever seen and rounding out the posh cats is Junon, a pretty, but shy British Shorthair, the only girl amongst these boys. Then, there are the moggies- Lucky, a black and white former street cat that loves people and Luxor, a gray tabby that found himself homeless after his owner went to a nursing home, but is now a cat cafe celebrity that loves a belly rub, L'Heureux's owner worked with Association Griffes to find Lucky and Luxor.
In between kitty love, I was able to discover that the owner is a former professor who wanted a career change and sought to create a cat cafe where beautiful felines lived, including rarer pedigrees that most people would not normally see. I also found out that the space the cafe occupies is part of an historic building, which tilts a bit, (as do many of the buildings in this part of Nantes). Back in the day, coins were placed between the uneven stones and mortar to monitor the leaning, a cultural vestige that is still in practice today.
I learned all of this and much more from Loriane, the charming host, who is also a student, but more importantly, an incredible story teller. She spun hilarious tales of the cats adventures at night with Loriane herself narrating the thoughts of the cats.
I'm certain I haven't had a more entertaining experience in a cat cafe.
Adding to my delight, lunch was simply divine-- a hearty butternut squash soup topped with swiss cheese and homemade croutons, with a light Darjeeling tea and decadent minis for dessert.
As I finish this review, I am painfully reminded that this wonderful cat cafe will be closing very soon. I've had times in my life where I wished I had let someone know how pleased I was by their service and I'm desperately hoping that they read this before the doors shut forever.
Thank you, staff of Le Chat L'Heureux and, especially, Loriane and the sweet cats for your kind service. I consider myself lucky to have been a part of it.
Date Visited: 11/28/17