The first thing I do when arriving in Paris after an overnight flight is head straight to a café for a crème. It is my choice of way to order coffee in France. There are many options that can seem overwhelming at times, so here is a simple way to break it down by size and with or without milk.
Prices vary from the bar to the terrace, they can almost double. I love standing at the bar first thing in the morning, to people watch the hustle.
Typically a shot of espresso. It can be very bitter. The French serve this with a packet of sugar if you want to sweeten it up.
A café with a drop of milk. The color turns a hazelnut color because of the milk hence where it gets the name.
Allongé is an expresso with extra hot water to dilute it. This is also a café Americano in some places.
Filtered coffee and if you are looking for the American equivalent to a cup of coffee this would be it.
A café crème is my go-to coffee order in Paris. It’s an expresso with warm milk. Some people would think is a café au lait. Don’t be confused they do not use creme in the coffee it is milk and it’s typically whole. You won’t find skim or low fat at the bar like in the United States.
The price of coffee at the bar vs the table will vary. Parisians will stand at the bar for a quick café before work or in the middle of the day.
Sugar will be offered on the bar labeled sucre. Feel free to take one and add it to your coffee of choice.
Croissants are also available for purchase with your coffee and are typically placed on the bar. Just ask the gentleman behind the bar for “un croissant si vous plait” Please do not help yourself.
After noon Parisians typically do not order milk in their coffee. They keep to a café (expresso) for the rest of the day. Ordering a crème afternoon will have you looking like a tourist.
You can visit this post for my favorite spots to drink coffee in Paris.