Lonely Planet Writer

Inside Le Waf, the French café where dogs and humans get to hang out

An amazing café has opened in Lille in northern France, where humans and dogs can hang out together. Called Le Waf, the café is situated close to the Parc de la Citadelle. It can accommodate 30 people at a time, plus nine rescue dogs, and there is a rehoming element to its ethos.

Le Waf is a French café where dogs and humans hang out. Image: Le Waf
Le Waf is a French café where dogs and humans hang out. Image: Le Waf

Some of the dogs are there permanently to ensure a stable pack, and then there is a rotating cast who are looking for permanent homes. Fans of the café include people who love dogs, but are unable to have a pet of their own for some reason. It’s a win-win situation, aiming to bring together dogs lacking human affection and humans in need of a dollop of canine affection in their lives.

Le Waf is a French café where dogs and humans hang out. Image: Le Waf
Le Waf is a French café where dogs and humans hang out. Image: Le Waf

According to dog café founder, Ophélie Poillio, in addition to being able to savour coffee and cake at Le Waf, customers can participate in the various activities on offer. These include going for a walk with one of the dogs or enrolling in a dog training course.

 

When the shutters come down at night, Ophélie brings the dogs home with her. Her café is the first in Europe, and there are two others, one in Seoul and the other in Los Angeles.

Le Waf is a French café where dogs and humans hang out. Image: Le Waf
Le Waf is a French café where dogs and humans hang out. Image: Le Waf

There are rules to ensure that people and dogs get on famously at the dog café. One is that to avoid the dogs becoming obese, customers are asked not to share their cakes with them- even if they look with pleading eyes. Children are welcome but must be supervised, and if a dog is asleep, that must be respected and he should be left in peace.

Le Waf is a French café where dogs and humans hang out. Image: Le Waf
Le Waf is a French café where dogs and humans hang out. Image: Le Waf

The café has only recently opened but is already a huge success. Mornings and early afternoons are the best times to visit as crowds descend at weekends.

Le Waf is a French café where dogs and humans hang out. Image: Le Waf
Le Waf is a French café where dogs and humans hang out. Image: Le Waf

Le Waf is located at 57 Rue de la Barre, 53000 Lille. Check out its website here.