'On the corner at the bottom of the street at the end of the town opposite the port' sits La Java, the oldest café in Saint Malo. But La Java is not your average 'corner bistro'. La Java is home to almost 3,000 dolls from all around the world and countless other pieces of memorabilia and collectables. Currently owned by Jean-Jacques Samoy, he refers to it as his playground and when probed about how many dolls he plays host to in his bar his reply is "more that yesterday, less than tomorrow".
The space is bordered by red vinyl banquette booths for cozy catch ups or customers can sit on swings at the bar to chat to the bartender about some of the dolls' stories. Despite its extensive drinks menu the best thing to order is a Kir Breton cassis - a variation of the Kir Royale using cider instead of champagne with added blackcurrent syrup. There is no kitchen at La Java but that doesn't mean you can't snack with your apéro, customers are welcome to bring their own food. What aren't welcome, however, as stipulated on the front doors, are 'cons' (click through for the translation, I don't swear on this blog and I'm not about to start now!)
Day 5 of our journey was also my birthday. Mr M came across the bar while I was off taking pictures here and brought me back as a surprise for a birthday apéro before a proper Breton dinner of moules et frites. It was magic, I was in absolute awe of this place. My adoration for all things used and pre-loved hit fever pitch and despite the pleading from Mr M and his family for me to sit down and enjoy my drink I couldn't; I was too busy studying each piece, wondering where they came from and who had loved them before they found a home here, in this strange bar at the edge of France.
Le café du coin d'en bas de la rue du bout de la ville d'en face du port... La Java
3, rue Saint Barbe, SAINT MALO