Wake up and smell the coffee!

Coffee in France

France has a reputation for serving great coffee – but you need to know what to ask for!

Ask for ‘un café’ (s’il vous plait) and it will arrive black, and go down in one gulp. Here is some useful vocab to make sure that you always satisfy your coffee cravings!

Un (grand) café…….

….glacé – iced coffee
….Liègeois – iced coffee served with ice cream (optional) and whipped cream
….serré – extra-strong espresso, made with half the normal amount of water.

Un allongé/américain – espresso with extra water

Un express – plain black espresso

Un (grand) crème – espresso with warmed or steamed milk. 

Un noisette –  espresso with tiny amount of milk in small cup.

Un déca or décaféiné – decaffeinated coffee.

Un café au lait – milky coffee (would usually be served at home in a breakfast bowl – but would be understood in any café as coffee with milk)

….s’il vous plait


Coffee 2

Un café gourmand

Many cafés and restaurant now offer a ’café gourmand’ – an espresso served with a selection of ‘mignardises’ (mini cakes and mousses ).

The first “café gourmand” is believed to have appeared in restaurants in Paris around 2005 and probably runs alongside the shorter lunch. It has become more and more fashionable over past years, often taking the place of the traditional starter, main course, cheese, dessert, and coffee, saving that little bit of time – and it also allows you to test several small desserts in one go.


  1. Coffee style is a very personal thing. We are from New Zealand used to excellent ‘flat white’ coffees which are almost impossible to get here unless you are in a big city. Coffee Mood in Perpignan does excellent flat whites. If anyone knows anywhere else please let us know!

  2. “Un café” € 2.00

    “Un café, s’il vous plaît” €1.50

    “Bonjour, un café, s’il vous plaît” € 1.00

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