Published: 06:00, 19 June 2021
For more than 25 years, Café St Pierre has brought a dash of Gallic alfresco charm to Canterbury city centre - together with arguably the finest French pastries.
During that time, owners Michel and Yvonne Piquet have won many loyal customers and friends. But now the couple have decided it’s time to hang up their aprons and retire.
“I’m 65 and having a hip operation in July and Yvonne is 74, so we’ve opted to call it a day,” said Michel.
The couple had previously run a restaurant in Hammersmith before moving to Canterbury, where they found they could afford a freehold.
“I couldn’t believe the price compared to what we would have had to pay in London and thought it must be a mistake at first,” said Michel.
“We certainly thought we could make a go of it.”
And that they have done with considerable success, making the café a must stop for coffee and cake lovers.
Now, the freehold or lease of the building in St Peter’s Street, which has a flat upstairs, is being offered for sale.
But the Piquets will carry on working at the café until a buyer is found.
The couple, who live in St Dunstan’s, have made many friends in the city over the years.
Michel is even among a select few to feature as a character on the plinth of the statue of Geoffrey Chaucer in St Peter’s Street, aptly representing the cook, after a mystery benefactor nominated him.
He encourages customers to speak French and has even given informal lessons.
"We are very fond of the place and have made many loyal customers..."
“We often have schoolchildren come in and practise their French as part of their studies,” he said.
“Of course, we are very fond of the place and have made many loyal customers who are now our friends and we will certainly miss them when we leave,” he said.
“But catering is a hard job and we have to think of our future and our health and have some time back for ourselves.
“Either way, nothing is going to happen overnight, so we’ll be around for a while yet.
“It would be nice if it stays a café but someone may have other ideas.”