Photo : Lydie Bonhomme @bylyloutte
Fanny Flory, aka Fannyb on all social networks, aka playlikeagirl.fr on her blog, aka my BFF. I’ve known Fanny for over twenty years and I distinctly remember when she first started her blog in 2007 (ten years ago now!). She was a stylist back then, publishing very fashion-oriented articles illustrated by beautiful photos. Her background in fine arts and her artistic sensibility lent a sleek aesthetic to her work, which undoubtedly contributed to her immediate success. She then went from stylist, to photographer, to freelance journalist, to blogger of course, and even to community manager. She is a millennial career juggler, a perfect representation of the slash generation of our modern era.
In 2010, she added more lifestyle content to her blog “Play Like A Girl” and now has a community of over 66K followers on Instagram. She’s married, she’s a mom, she excels at anything she puts her mind to and her career has recently taken yet another, seemingly unexpected turn.
Last September, with the owner of Starvin’ Joe restaurant, she co-founded the now extremely trendy Passager coffee shop in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. It has become the meeting point of today’s digital influencers. Combining carefully curated decor such as a long wooden table, a vintage racing bicycle propped up against the back door, small bunches of seasonal field flowers casually brightening up strategic corners of the shop, Passager invites you to just relax and enjoy the moment. Which is exactly what Fanny and her partner were going for: a breath of fresh air, away from hype Parisian clichés.
For all the coffee-lovers out there, every cup is made with excellent Berlin coffee roaster Five Elephant.
How did you go from blogger to part-owner of a coffee shop?
Being a coffee-shop owner isn’t something I had originally anticipated. It’s an idea that came to me very slowly and matured over time. I had been working for various magazines, writing articles suggesting good food and drink spots, spending a lot of time in coffee shops in Paris and elsewhere. I started dreaming of opening my own place and it was something I felt passionate about. When I met my current associate, who already owns a successful restaurant, I decided to make the leap. I don’t think you meet people by chance.
Do you think your blogger background and community of followers were an advantage when opening your own business?
I was quite aware that this was something that would give me an edge. But honestly I was very discreet and it took me a long time to talk about it. It was like a big secret I was carrying with me. It also happened to be around the time Snapchat was becoming so popular, so I did post a lot of mysterious ephemeral videos without really explaining what was going on. On opening day, even though I hadn’t told anyone about it, all my blogger friends started showing up one by one, and that felt so encouraging and heartwarming. It took me a few more days to finally make an announcement in the most sincere way possible in an Instagram post. It is without a doubt one of the projects that has affected me the most. I love my coffee shop so so much!
What kind of ambiance were you going for when you worked on the interior design?
We were lucky because the location itself already had beautiful bones. The patterned cement tiles, the brick wall (which was a great surprise, since it had been plastered over!), the huge mirror – it was all already there. We put in a rough concrete bar, glass and black steel framework, and vintage wood furniture. Raw, natural materials. A lot of greenery and fresh flowers every week. It really feels like us.
Passager café – photo Fanny Flory
Can you talk to us a little bit about your team?
Our first barista is Brice. Even though he’s only 21, he’s already very experienced in all things coffee. He specializes in latte art and you can pretty much ask him to draw anything in your coffee cup (uh oh, he’s going to kill me for saying this!). Check out his instagram @Brice_pic. Our second barista is Caspar. Brice taught him everything he knows about coffee, so as you can imagine, he’s really good too. Caspar is one of the coolest guys in all of Paris. Nothing ever fazes him. Aline is our cook. She used to work in music (which is how our playlist is on point!) but is now a professional cook. Her pulled pork is amazing! We work directly with local fruit and vegetable growers who deliver fresh, seasonal products every morning. Our menu changes with the season – right now we serve delicious pumpkin and butternut squash soup.
Would you like to open another business?
Oh, I’d love to! Social, welcoming places like hotels, more coffee shops … one of my favorite places in the world is Darwin in Bordeaux. It’s unbelievably cool. I’d also love to move to the Southwest of France and open a coffee shop with all hammocks or a skateboard and surfing school!
Just between us, if you were going to cheat on Passager, where would you go?
When my coffee shop is closed on Mondays, I’m usually at Boot Café! It’s the coolest coffee shop in all of Paris … besides ours, of course.
Passager, 107 Avenue Ledru-Rollin, 75011 Paris