Raumati Village's beloved French bakery owners Rudy and Lisa Chartier are heading back to France after running L'amour en cage for nearly four years.

The couple met in London where Rudy, a Frenchman, and Lisa, a New Zealander, worked together in a pub.

With Lisa's visa running out they made the move to New Zealand together in 2011.

Working in hospitality jobs in Wellington for the next few years, the couple had their daughter Mia, moved up to Kāpiti and began trying out their patisserie creations at the Paraparaumu Beach market on Saturday mornings.


"We started at the market to see what it was like up here doing patisserie.

"Patisserie is pretty out there, it's very much pie country up here."

Lisa and Rudy Chartier of L'amour en cage with some of their sweat patisserie treats that people come from all over the greater Wellington region for. Photo / Rosalie Willis
Lisa and Rudy Chartier of L'amour en cage with some of their sweat patisserie treats that people come from all over the greater Wellington region for. Photo / Rosalie Willis

The couple decided to give it a go, buying their small premises on Margaret Rd off the butcher, stripping the place down and turning it into Raumati's beloved French bakery.

"We decided to give it a go and we feel we've done really well here," Rudy said.

"The first 6-12 months we had people walking in all the time that weren't our kind of customers.

"You could see it as soon as they walked in, with no hello or anything, if they couldn't see a pie they would just walk out.

"Now we've got our established clientele.

"We have established a reputation with lots of people coming from around the greater Wellington region to see us."


Between the two of them their hospitality experience ranges from working in France, Switzerland, the UK and New Zealand with both front of house experience and in Rudy's case, he's pretty much done every job you can think of in the kitchen.

"I need to be creative otherwise I just go mad," Rudy said.

"It's my playground.

"If I wasn't creating I couldn't have been out the back like I have for four years."

Baking and importing a taste of France, Rudy has developed a number of treats such as his chocolate and orange Mont St Michel based off the French island of the same name, along with the favourites; baguettes, almond croissants and pate.

"If we don't have those staples we have angry customers.

"It's definitely been a journey over the last four years.

"The whole journey has been memorable, we've had so many good memories here.

"We have picked up many, many skills here, running a business and in the food industry.

"Everything that we have learnt is not just about making cupcakes, it's a very broad job, it's running a business too."

Opening the shop when Mia was just 2 years old, and add to that Lisa being involved in a major horse riding accident just six months after opening, the journey hasn't always been easy.

The couple worked solo for the first year, getting the business off the ground, but since then have had a number of people who have played an integral part in their journey.

"They became more than workers, they are friends," Lisa said.

"We wouldn't be here if we didn't have the support of these friends."

Namely Kaan Gemuhluglu, Manon Pruvost, Talia Pridachina and Miri Ngatai whom the couple would like to thank for their help and friendship.

"We have people that have been at our side ever since the market days, but now it's time to do something else."

Moving from one home to another, it's a move away from Lisa's family and a move towards Rudy's family.

"We want our daughter Mia to be immersed in the French culture, to get a French education," Rudy said.

"This experience is always going to be a part of us, you cannot forget an experience like this, it's going to shape our future.

"With all of the things we have done over the last few years, I'm sure we will find something we can do over there, using our skills to do something different."

To say au revoir and get your French bakery fix visit L'amour before their last trading day on July 28.