Stéphanie Laparre at a table set for aperitif at her café, La Vie en Rose. Photo by Naama Levy
Stéphanie Laparre at a table set for aperitif at her café, La Vie en Rose. Photo by Naama Levy


As a transplant from southern France, Stéphanie Laparre draws on her roots to set the tone for her café, La Vie en Rose. Since it opened a year ago, the café, 402 1/2 W. 6th St., has become known as the spot where you don’t order the coffee to go. With its cozy tables for two and warm atmosphere, La Vie en Rose encourages customers to linger. 

“You don’t have to stay that long, you know?” Laparre says. “You have a little espresso and sit for five minutes. Just enjoy sitting and enjoy the taste of your croissant and your coffee.”

 Laparre opened La Vie en Rose with a European emphasis on slowing down. Now, she’s introducing another French tradition to Bloomington: the aperitif.  

Aperitif is “very, very French,” Laparre says with a laugh. The word, which hints at an opening of the appetite, is a style of drink, typically dry, offering the body an opportunity to acclimate to the savory part of a meal. It is also a time of day, a moment to have a glass of wine and nibble savory treats while you recover from work.

Laparre introduced aperitif hours on the first day of spring, March 20, and extended the café’s hours on Friday and Saturday to serve traditional aperitif offerings. Along with wine, guests can expect saucisson (a dry, cured sausage), peanuts, imported olives, and savory bites like duck rillettes—a spread perfect for topping toast points and baguette.

Laparre also adds a flavor reminiscent of her summers in southern France. Blanc limé is made with white wine and bubbly French lemonade, adding a classic French flavor to the aperitif hour that’s perfect for spring.

Laparre hopes customers will join her at La Vie en Rose “just after work when you want to meet a friend and unwind and relax and have a little chat” before heading into the weekend. She suggests they follow their aperitif with a walk downtown to find what feels right for dinner. 

La Vie en Rose hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Aperitif hours extend to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday with the aperitif menu available starting at 5:30.