One of my favorite things in Paris is to sit at a cafe and sip a cafe creme, which was also Hemingway’s preference. The only difference between a cafe creme and a cafe au lait seems to be that a cafe creme has steamed milk (there is no cream in a cafe creme).
The closest thing to a French cafe is the kind you make at home with fresh, fragrant beans and a stovetop coffee maker–specifically, the moka pot. Bialetti has been producing this pot since 1933, and it makes a smooth, bold brew. I have had one for almost ten years and have changed the gasket only a few times. The six-cup pot is adequate for two people and costs less than $30. Here is a good deal:
For a cafe au lait, I warm some whole milk (go for organic) in the microwave, or use low heat on the stove. Pour a small cup of coffee (it will be strong) and an equal amount of milk. This sweeps me away to Paris every time!