PARIS: EAT SEE PLAY SHOP SLEEP TIPS OUT OF TOWN

PARIS CITY GUIDE

Vive le café

noisette.jpgEvery country has its own coffee etiquette. The US has given us the coffee chains with the ubiquitous paper cups in different sizes. The Italians have given us the no frills espresso and the cappuccino. But what about the French? What is the difference between a noisette, a crème and a café au lait? What is the difference between ordering at the bar, in the sitting area or on the terrace?

After having innumerable visitors come to stay with us and witnessing the confusion when ordering a coffee, I have decided that it is time to shed some light on the situation.

  • A simple café (otherwise known as an express) is just that – a short, strong, black coffee.
  • A café allonge is a short black with some hot water poured on top. I guess it is the closest to an American style or UK style cup of coffee you can get.
  • A noisette is a café with a tiny dollop of foamed milk on top. I guess the Italian counterpart is a macchiato (Michela, correct me if I am wrong).
  • A crème is the equivalent of a cappuccino, a strong black café with a sizable amount of frothy milk on top that has partly melted into the coffee.
  • And lastly, a café au lait is half milk, half coffee often served in a bowl.

Now this is the other thing that visitors get confused by in France: the huge differences in prices of coffee depending on where you sit in a cafe. If you stand or sit on a bar stool by the bar your coffee can be as cheap as 1 euro. If you sit at a table you are going to have to add on sometimes as much as 1 euro for the priviledge. But the premium spot is the terrace — you will be paying a lot for the view, but sometimes it is worth it……

-Emilie


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