The thought of travelling to Paris can fill you with all sorts of emotions; excitement, love and inquisitiveness. However, you may also feel overwhelmed, as it is such a busy city with much to explore. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered when it comes to ordering drinks. After reading through our list you’ll be an expert in ‘doing it like a local’.
If you’re looking to drink like a local, this cocktail is the one to order. There are two forms of Kir you can order.
- Kir Royale
Kir is essentially white wine (of course) with a blackcurrant liqueur, called crème de cassis. Kir Royale is where you substitute the wine for champagne. Kir is served in a wine glass whereas Kir Royale is served in a flute glass. Be aware though, if you like a dry wine this may not be the one for you, as this drink tends to be very sweet.
Where do I find the best Kir?
You can find Kir/Kir Royale in almost every Café or restaurant, however, a very popular place is Café de Flore on Boulevard Saint-Germain.
Cognac is a form of brandy, specifically only produced in the Cognac region of France. It has become increasingly popular to incorporate it into cocktails, and trust me, cocktails are the big thing in Paris.
A good cocktail bar is Le Syndecat; a speakeasy famous for its spirits, including a vast collection of Cognac.
3. French 75
Speaking of cocktails, this one, better known in France as Le Soixante Quinze, is a must-try.
This drink mainly consists of champagne, with added gin, lemon juice and sugar. Served straight up, without ice, in a flute glass. It was invented in the New York Bar (in Paris) back in 1915. If you don’t go there to experience the history of the drink, whilst sipping on it, what are you doing!
In France, coffee can get a little confusing, especially when you’re not given a menu. What is all this café crème, café allongé…I just want a coffee! Don’t fear, I’ll break it down for you:
- Café: an espresso
- Café au lait: filtered coffee with milk, served in a bowl
- Café crème: an espresso with steamed milk and foam, similar to a Cappuccino
- Café allongé: an espresso with added water
- Café noisette: an espresso with a splash of hot milk added
Check out Cafe Cravan on Rue Jean de la Fontaine. Coffee is best sipped sitting outside watching people go by.
Pastis is a popular French liqueur that has hints of anise (originating from star anise). It has a lower alcohol percentage than absinthe and is usually drank as an apéritif.
If you are looking for a good pastis to try out, Chez Janou has a very large selection for you to try; the perfect place to learn about pastis and embrace the Parisian culture.
Of course, how could I not include wine in this list?
French love their wine. But I’m sure you already knew that.
Everyone is subject to their own taste when it comes to wine, so why not visit one of Paris’ many wineries? That way, you can make your own mind up. Les Vignerons Parisiens is the first and only winery in urban Paris.
7. Citron Pressé
If you’re looking for une boisson rafraîchissante, look no further. Homemade lemonade is perfect for a late afternoon stop in mid-August. It is not difficult to track down a cafe that serves this beverage as it is so popular.
The citron presse is made with freshly squeezed lemon juice, and then you do the rest. The waiter brings out a jug of water, some ice and sugar so that you can make it to your own taste. Some like it sweet, some like it sour. How do you like yours?
8. Chocolat Chaud
Chocolat Chaud, AKA hot chocolate.
This indulgent beverage can be ordered at most cafes, however, some may be more delicious and prepared more exquisitely than others. It is a nice alternative to a coffee or soda. A Parisian speciality, Chocolat Chaud is made with milk, only the best chocolate, and, sometimes, brown sugar. This smooth, rich drinking chocolate is lovely to have sat in a cosy cafe escaping the hustle and bustle of the city.
Un Dimanche à Paris serves a beautiful Chocolat Chaud, and you can even undertake workshops to learn about the fine art of chocolate (and pastries!) in the heart of Paris.
Not for the faint-hearted, absinthe, known as the ‘Green Fairy’, has a lot of history.
Absinthe started off being used as a worm-killer, containing wormwood, which is now a controversial ingredient as it can cause hallucinations. Vincent Van Gogh was said to drink this stuff which supposedly lead to his insanity.
If you have never tried absinthe before, you’re probably wondering how to even begin to drink it. Firstly, the drink is poured into a Pontarlier glass. Then, an absinthe spoon is placed on top of the glass, where it holds a sugar cube, and water coming from an absinthe fountain drips onto it and into the liquid. This is called the absinthe ritual. It all sounds rather eery if you ask me.
Be warned, absinthe should not be abused as it can be dangerous. It is recommended to drink it in this way so that it is diluted and not had straight.
There are several ‘Absinthe bars’ in Paris, such as L’Absinthe, where you can be taught more about this interesting drink.