Ways To Order Coffee In Paris

One of my favorite things to do in Paris in the early mornings is to sit at a café with a cafe crème and enjoy the beautiful city before it comes alive. The first time I went to Paris, I was a bit confused about how to order coffee.

Coffee culture has come a long way in Paris and these days there are specialty coffee shops starting to pop up around the city. You no longer have to go to a French café specifically for coffee in the morning.

There are several ways to order coffee in Paris you should know about that are very different from the States. Today, I am going to share with you all the ways you can order coffee in Paris for your trip. I am also sharing a few of my favorite cafés in Paris where I like to go for coffee.

Ways To Order Coffee In Paris

First, always say Bonjour when you enter any café before sitting down. This is just basic French etiquette to always keep in mind.

The price of your coffee will differ depending on if you are sitting outside on the terrace or standing inside at the bar (the bar is zink in French). The terrace is wonderful when the weather is nice outside.

However, a bar is a great place to people-watch everyone coming and going for their espresso before heading off to work. People don’t stand and eat at the bar but you will notice croissants sitting on the bar, make sure to ask first, and don’t just grab one.

Also, Parisians typically do not put milk in their coffee anytime after the noon hour, they stick with a café noir(black) or espresso. You can order coffee in Paris with milk after this time, but you will look like a tourist now.

Second, there’s some etiquette on when you should be drinking your coffee and eating at the same time. You can order a café noir (black coffee) or espresso at any time of the day.

However, the only time you can order coffee with food is at breakfast. I have been in several cafés, where they were told to go inside to the bar to drink coffee during the lunch hour.

Latte with cafe de flore written on it sitting on a table with croissants and water in Paris.

They will not serve you an after-dinner espresso until you’ve finished your dessert. Most people have espresso after dinner but not with milk or cream. Again, you can order one with cream but you will stand out.

In regards to milk options, there’s usually only one and it’s whole milk but they won’t ask your preference. Please don’t try and order almond, soy, fat-free, or dairy-free because it doesn’t exist at most restaurants. There are more specialty coffee shops popping up around Paris, but it’s not normal.

Here are several ways to order coffee in Paris that I am familiar with. I am sure there are other options and I believe each cafè or specific coffee shop might have its own specific version. But, this will at least get you started. If anyone else knows of anything different please let me know.

Café Crème

Coffee cup with foam sitting on a table with sucre packet. A way to order coffee in Paris.

My personal favorite is a cafè créme which some might consider a latté. It’s coffee with warm frothed milk that’s creamy and incredibly tasty. This is not the same though as a Café au Lait.

Café Americain or Filtré

This is the equivalent of drip coffee in the States, hence the name.

Black drip coffee sitting on a table at cafe de flore.

Un Allongé

Espresso with hot water, which is added to dilute it. This is also similar to a drip coffee but more bitter.

Un Espresso

Just as it’s called, a shot of espresso. You can also order un double, which is a double shot of espresso.

Shot of espresso | Ways To Order Coffee In Paris

Un Noisette

A shot of espresso with a little steamed milk.

Un Noisette, espresso with cream sitting in an espresso cup with saucer on a table.

Un Café

Strong plain espresso basically but served in a larger cup. The taste is usually pretty bitter and they serve it with a sucre (sugar) packet on the side. If you aren’t a fan of bitter or strong coffee, then you’ll want to pass on this one.

Empty espresso cups with saucers sitting on a table.

Un Café au Lait

Fresh ground coffee with whole milk which is warm and steamed and served in a large bowl.

Ways To Order Coffee In Paris

Un Déca

Decaffeinated espresso.

My Favorite Cafés To Drink Coffee

There are several cafés I like to go to for a morning coffee in Paris which are quaint, offer Parisian charm and are a great way to start the day in Paris.

Café de Flore

A bit touristy during the prime seasons but I still love Café de Flore, early in the morning. I like to go first thing when it opens so I can sit outside on the terrace and order a café crème.

Le Saint Régis

Located on I’le St Louis, the charming Le Saint Régis, is one of those cafés you could stay in all day. With waiters in black and white uniforms and a wonderful staff, this café is pure Parisian charm.

Le Nemours

Le Nemours is a chic café located between the Louvre and the Palais Royal. I love to sit here and people-watch in the morning. After take a morning stroll through the Palais Royal.

Hopefully, these tips will be helpful next time you order coffee in Paris.

Few Extra Notes…

  • Sugar is labeled as SUCRE, and is either on the table or will come on the side of your cup.
  • A few phrases which will help you order your coffee are being able to say the name of the coffee followed by, please. For example, un café crème s’il vous plaît’.
  • Most coffee in Paris at cafès is not available for takeaway. However, if you visit a specialty coffee shop, they are more like to have takeaway cups available. I find though, it’s more enjoyable to sit at a cafè enjoying your coffee.


  1. Pea coat or Burberry
    If the tractors are gone, we’re going in June . Been to Paris many times but your tips are very helpful.

  2. I just found you blog and love it! I have dreamed of France since high school and am finally visiting the South of France this summer! This article is so helpful!

    1. Thank You Maggie! So glad you’re here! Have a wonderful tip in the South this summer, it’s an incredibly beautiful place.
      xo- Noelani

  3. I don’t like coffee, though I love the smell but I find these cultural lessons fascinating. In Italy they only have milk with coffee in the mornings. So, the opposite of the French. I read once that this is because cows are milked in the morning so you use it while it’s fresh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *