Abstract The equilibrium state of a microdroplet spreading spontaneously on a solid surface is usually expected to be a compact monolayer if the liquid is nonvolatile, i.e., if the temperature is well below the 2-dimensional critical temperature T 2C. More recently, it has been shown by de Gennes that this picture does not hold any more close to the wetting transition, where the initial spreading tension S 0 tends to vanish. Thicker, stable layers are predicted, the famous “pancakes”, the thickness of which diverges at the wetting transition. There is another case where the monolayer picture fails: some liquids composed of amphiphilic molecules, although they do not wet the substrate, build an autophobic film on it. On hydrophobic surfaces, this film is a perfectly organized bilayer of molecules. We give examples of the three situations, with the following nicknames: “French pancake” for the compact monolayer, “Swedish pancake” for the bilayer, “American pancake” for the thick film.