Franco File Friday: Aimee from L’OisiveThé

2 September 2011

I don’t know if it is a trend or merely coincidence but most of the foreign entrepreneurs I have met in Paris previously held senior-level positions in either marketing or advertising firms. The fast-paced corporate workplace grew tiresome and ultimately led them to apply their expertise toward their own projects. It so happens that many of these projects involve food!

Aimee Gille has lived in Paris for eight years and always knew she would open her own café. Happenstance brought her in front of L’Oisivthé on a neighborhood stroll of the 13th in the beginning of 2008 and within four months she had transformed the space into much more than a charming salon de thé. Aimee serves light fare and American desserts and imports hand-painted yarns from the U.S. and Canada, all the while providing a relaxing space for avid knitters. TricoThé is a weekly knitting/crocheting group that has garnered this American expat quite the loyal following. A bit about her relationship to France…

Describe what you love about France in three words.

Complex. Romantic. Home.

How did becoming a business owner altered your vision of the French and France as a whole?

Becoming a business owner hasn’t changed my views of the French and France as a whole. I’ve had the chance to have several vantage points of the French and France from being a student, to an employed adult, a mother and now a business owner. Each stage in my life in France proving to be as equally complicated due to the complex intricacies of the French and their way of doing things. And here I am still living in France and loving it.

That being said, being a business owner in France has taught me that one must be extremely organized and diligent. Thank goodness my business partner (who happens to be my French husband!) has taught me well. One question I often get about starting your own business in France is “is it hard?”. My answer is no, as long as you don’t let culture complicate things. I let go of my American way of thinking and quickly adapted to the many hoops one must jump through – including all the papers that are necessary to submit. If you follow the rules and stay organized, it’s absolutely doable!

Most kid-friendly spot in Paris?

Well, my tea house, L’OisiveThé! Though we are small we do try to be as accommodating to children as possible. Other than that, we find breakfast places to be the most welcoming for our family of four. We often head out early and have breakfast at Breakfast in America on the rue des Ecoles and go the Square Paul Langevin just a block over to play. We also like to go to Lou Lou’ Diner on blvd Saint Germain and afterwards visit the gardens at the Musee Cluny or walk down to the Seine to watch for boats.

Area of France you enjoy going to feel refreshed and inspired?

I’ve been living in France for nearly ten years and have had the pleasure of spending every summer vacation at Belle Ile en Mer. It’s a small island off the coast of Brittany. Every year we go it’s like a complete reboot of the senses. The sea air and the peace and quiet do wonders to the city fatigue that I accumulate living in the City of Light. Growing up in Kansas, the sea was very hard to come by. I can spend hours laying on the beach and listening to the waves crash upon the shore. Plage Donnant is my favorite beach on Belle Ile where the waves are spectacular and very fun for the kids to play. For the last four years we’ve enjoyed going to Belle Ile in the summers and in the winter. There is scarcely Internet access on the island so when we go, we really go to unplug and recharge.

Favorite French novel or film?

This is a hard question! I love French films especially for their complex characters and silly comedies though not usually both at the same time. So, I’ll just tell you my favorite films from last year to help me narrow down my selection. I really enjoyed L’Arnacoeur with Romain (swoon) and L’Illusionniste which was such a magical film about how the paths of two people come to cross.


Thanks, Aimee! Be sure to add L’Oisivthé to your list of spots to try for tea and brunch on your next trip to Paris (right near one of my favorite Italian restaurants, Les Cailloux), it’s a wonderful space in a charming neighborhood. Follow Aimee’s updates on Twitter, Facebook and her ever-growing collection of photos on Flickr!
{All photos courtesy of Aimee Gille}