Double and whipping cream in France


……… fraîche– sour cream
……. ..chantilly – sweetened whipped cream.
……. ..fleurette – liquid heavy cream.
……….fouettée – whipping cream.
………légère – light cream
…….. anglaise – custard.
…….. brulee – rich custard dessert topped with caramelised sugar
……….chantilly – squirty cream from an aerosol can

Mascarpone – a cheese rather than a cream but add a little sucre glacé or powdered sweetener to it and it is a lovely thick cream.
Natillas de Vanilla – available across the border in Spain, it is a proper thick custard like Birds, not runny like Crème Anglaise.


There is no direct equivalent in France for double cream but there are several good alternatives. Some ‘crême fraiche’ can be a decent substitute but you can’t whip it. The ‘souring’ agent added varies from one cream to another so it is worth trying different ones until you find the right one to suit your taste.

For whipping, look out for Fleurette and the cardboard carton creams such as Elle et Vire. Choose ‘epaisse’ or ‘entière’ with a fat content of at least 30% for a consistency that resembles double cream. UHT cream (entière) will also whip but takes longer than English double.

Sachets of powder called ’creme fixe chantilly’ can often be found in the baking section. Add this to cream to help thicken and stabilize it when whipping. Bear in mind that the powder contains sweeteners and flavourings and may not always be suitable.


  1. Thank you for this very useful information Kate. I never realized before how often I use cream in recipes until we bought a house in France and discovered I couldn’t just pick up run of the mill single or double cream as I know it off the shelf at a supermarket but now you have provided the key. A definite save, thank you.

    If you don’t live too far from the Spanish border, or regularly shop in Spain, pop across the border where it is available in the supermarket Escudero in La Jonquera described as “whipping cream” …..and it is the real thing.

Leave a Comment