Auckland foodie institution La Cigale to close after 24 years

Auckland’s La Cigale French shop and cafe is closing after 24 years of “bringing France to Parnell”.

Owners Elizabeth and Mike Lind made the announcement over social media with Aucklanders quick to post messages lamenting the closure of what has become an institution for food lovers over the past two decades.

The Linds’ Parnell store is known for its many faces.

Over the years, it’s included a casual bistro, a delicatessen stocking French food and wine, a clothing shop selling unique French fashion, a warehouse full of antiques and items sourced from the south of France, and a kitchen shop.

Then there is the bustling La Cigale weekend farmer’s market inspired by the markets found in France that has been regularly voted Auckland’s Best Food Market by Metro Magazine.

“Mike and I have now decided that it is time to start a new era in our lives,” Elizabeth Lind said in a newsletter to customers.

“We will be closing down La Cigale early next year as our lease comes to an end.”

She said it’s been 24 years since the pair created the store and market.

“It certainly feels like a very long time ago. Our 1997 holiday to France with our daughters Emma and Frances gave us the inspiration to start La Cigale and the market at the end of that year,” she said.

A post shared by La Cigale Market, Shop & Cafe (@lacigalefrenchmarket)

Lind didn’t rule out the chance of one more French market before she closed, however.

“We’re not yet sure if and when under the Covid restrictions, if more market weekends are possible,” she said.

Customers took to social media to praise the Linds.

“Ohhh that’s dreadfully sad,” one Instagram user said.

“Saddest news you guys are an Auckland institution! Where will I get my canelé from now?” another said.

On Facebook, a user thanked the Linds for “bringing France to Parnell for so many years. Will miss you”.

“Your family made that nook of Parnell something special,” another Facebook user said, while a third talked about the “pleasure and delight we have felt shopping and relaxing at La Cigale”.

Those wanting to pick up a keepsake from the store can still do so, however.

With Covid restrictions allowing retail to now open in Auckland, everything in La Cigale is now for sale “at greatly reduced prices” ahead of its closing.

“That includes all our shop stock and all our fixtures and fittings and of course all the objects that are part of the French feeling of La Cigale,” Lind said.

“When you come in you will see different stacks of things on tables eg we have lots of dinner plates, glasses and cutlery which we’re selling at hugely reduced prices.”

“There are lots of things that make great Christmas presents for your family, friends or for yourself.”

While it’s not possible to eat in-store at the moment, customers will be able to buy takeaway hot drinks and pastries baked fresh each morning.

“Thank you all for your great support over the years. We’ll definitely miss you all,” Lind finished off by saying.

Over the course of their 24 years, the couple also opened stores in Chancery and Ponsonby.

An offshoot of the La Cigale market also ran in Britomart for a period.

However, the weekend market and store hidden down a driveway off St Georges Bay Rd in Parnell has always been the heart of La Cigale.

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