FALLING in love with a Lismore lass has seen French barista Julien Durand decide to open his own cafe.
After working as the head barista at the popular Flock Espresso and Eatery for nearly three years, Mr Durand is now set to open his own cafe, French Bench, in his old employers' former premises at 3/39 Molesworth St.
Mr Durand said when he first met Bianca over a coffee in Sydney a few years ago, he had no idea they would be one day opening their own cafe in her home town.
"I worked for Flock for more than two-and-a-half years and I've also worked in Sydney, Cairns and of course France," he said.
"I worked in Avignon in Provance in the south of France and one of my brothers had a big restaurant."
Born in Strasbourg near the French-German border, Mr Durand said good coffee and pastry was in his DNA.
"I have five brothers and three of them are chefs," he said.
"One of my brothers taught me how to make my own patisserie, so as well as croissants I'm going to be doing a vanilla slice, eclair and a Paris-Brest (made of choux pastry and praline flavoured cream).
After so many years on the Northern Rivers, Mr Durand said he believed Lismore coffee drinkers were sophisticated with their love of gourmet food.
"Australian really love their coffee and pastries," he said.
Mr Durand said he and Bianca hoped to be open before the end of the month.
"We hope to open French Bench by my 30th birthday on 28 November," he said.
"I think Lismore is a great place to have a French cafe."
A development application for the French Bench is currently before Lismore City Council.