Initiated by AGAME (the Mile-End Business Association) with members on a mission to support local business, community & positive evolution of the neighbourhood we love.

Dev by Barkas. Design by Wedge. Creative Direction by Sarah Di Domenico.

Café les Impertinentes

Laurence runs a café and juice bar in her big sis’ ballet studio where the siblings unite to empower the female spirit.

#les1#les4#les6#les5#les7Allo Laurence!
Was it always your dream to go into business with your big sister?

Yes! I own the café and my sister manages everything related to Ballet Hop!, her dance-fitness studio. We wanted to create a multi-purpose space so even if we have each our own business, it doesn’t feel that way. I’m very involved in Ballet Hop! as much as she is in Café les Impertinentes.

To be honest, I didn’t think I would ever own a café. This was not planned at all. At. All. I was on a trip in Europe and my sister wrote to me, “Hey I’m opening up a studio in September” … which was two months away at the time … “Want to be part of it?” I said yes. Why not?! I didn’t have any plans. I was a new communications graduate and in that sense, it was great timing.

Nothing prepared me for this. Although I always worked in coffee shops and restaurants, working in the field and running your own business is totally different. The opening was total chaos but it feels natural. My sister and I have always been very close. We always knew we wanted to do something together and we share a similar instinct.

What’s the best and worst part about working with your sibling?

#les8We have the same vision for most things. We don’t even have to speak, we just know and feel what the other person is thinking and feeling. We agree on most things which makes business easier. We get along very well so it’s fun to work together every day. The downside is that we have no filter. I’ll snap at her and she’ll snap at me. But it’s not mean. We’re sisters so we aren’t politically correct, we get straight to the point. Which is a good thing!

#les3What’s the meaning behind the name, Café les Impertinentes?

It’s not something you can translate very well. Basically it’s someone who doesn’t take herself too seriously, isn’t afraid to look too weird, and be one’s complete selfThe women who dance here, dance for fun. We aren’t professional or afraid to look silly.

“For me, being ‘impertinente’ means to be free. The mission of the space, the café and studio together, is to make women feel more confident and build self-confidence.”

#les2Food-wise, what’s cooking up at the café?

I make juices every morning. This one is kale, pineapple, coconut. All of the bowls and salads we offer are vegan and gluten-free and many of the pastries too. I make homemade tartine as well. The main goal is to be healthy, offer simple and light fare, and be fun at the same time.

Each juice has a specific woman’s name. Who are they named after?

Each name represents a strong woman from history, from different times, but all with a similar mission. Thérèse Casgrain was an important feminist who worked hard with other women so we could have the right to vote here in Québec. Simone de Beauvoir is a writer and philosopher whose work helps the feminist cause. Françoise David is a feminist and alter-globalist political activist from Québec and we all know Jeanne D’arc. Plus those are traditional and familiar Québecois names so everyone knows a Thérèse, a Jeanne, a Simone or a Françoise.

You often host feminist-centric events. Who did you host last?

Les soeurs Stratis. They’re fashion sisters in Québec who started the most read blog in Montréal called Ton Petit Look. We hosted a reading of their recently published book which was focused on women’s mental health. Partial sales of the night were donated to a women’s centre.

What’s on your playlist at the café?

Bon Iver. Charlotte Cardin. Safia Nolin. Ben Howard. J Cole. Frank Ocean. Radiohead. Solange. Milk and Bone. Khalid. Valaire. Banks. With the weather change and the sun, a little bit of Drake is nice. A lot of different styles but it’s always important for me to play music made by Montréalais and Québecois women and artists.

What are some of your favourite places around the neighbourhood?

I always go to Lowell. They have amazing leatherware. Voskins has great glasses. I also love to eat at Maïs and Thazard. To shop, Boucle et Papier and Vestibule. And Electrik Kids for gifts!

Laurence's M-E

Story by Sarah Di Domenico
Photography by Wedge
Illustration by Mathieu Dionne