Coffee is an Art Form in France.


Coffee in France is an art form, and an art-form that we have researched intensively. We fully expect to spend the rest of our lives continuing our research, just to make sure we don’t miss any nuances.

Our conclusion so far? Yum! 

You may want to carry out your own research, and we highly recommend this course of action.

Here is a mini-guide to coffee in France.

1. Grand Crème

My all-time favorite is “Un Grand Crème.” It is espresso with steamed milk and is heavenly served in a large(ish) cup. 

2.  Crème

If you prefer something a bit smaller just ask for “Un Crème”.

3. Café au Lait

A Café-au-Lait is basically brewed, filtered coffee with milk. It is often served at breakfast. 

4. Café Noir

If you want black coffee ask for Café Noir. It will be small, dark and strong.

5. Allongé

If it is too small, too dark, and too strong ask for a Café Allongé.

Pronounced, “allonjay” it is literally a coffee “elongated” with water. Cute, oui?

6. Café Americain

“Un Café americain” is a filtered coffee, similar to what Americans drank before Starbucks came along.

7. Noisette

Un Café Noisette (kaf-ay nwah-zett) is small espresso with a splash of hot milk in it.  “Noisette” is French for hazelnut and is used to describe the color of the coffee, not the taste. It also alludes to the size – it’s small.

You can also just ask for “une noisette” or “une petite noisette”.

By the way, if you happen to be at a train station, there is usually a great coffee spot right there in the waiting area.  And between you and the server behind the counter, you may see a beautiful display of freshly baked pastries. These too, are yummy.

Not a coffee drinker?

Tea is “Thé”: pronounced “tay.” This is a bit of a gamble in France, as it can be delivered with lemon, or hot milk or just a tea bag with hot water. Very often you will get Earl Grey, even if you didn’t ask for it.

If you prefer herbal tea, ask for “Une Tisane.”

If you would like something cool, refreshing and caffeine-free we often have a Peri-pêche, which is a delightful combination of Perrier water and a dash of peach syrup.


Blogger: Shirley Hambrick

Shirley Hambrick is an award-winning stained-glass artist and painter. She has lived in Scotland, Spain and the USA. Shirley has been part of the Workshops in France team over the last few years and attended over 20 of these amazing trips. Being Scottish, she was trained at Edinburgh College of Art and Design. Shirley teaches in the West Virginia area and you can some of her beautiful work here.

Check out more blogs about art workshops, tips and hacks for artists traveling in France and Scotland.

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