Patisseries in Paris
Our selection for cakes, chocolates and everything else that targets the sweet tooth
Not to indulge your sweet tooth in Paris would be a crime. Every street corner, it seems, hosts a bakery or cake shop with a window full of glorious gateaux, beautiful baguettes and other tempting treats. It pays to be selective in the face of all this bounty – here's our pick of Parisian patisseries, bakeries and chocolatiers to die for.
Patisseries and bakeries
Generously sized ganaches, crunchy nougat, velvety truffles… Any attempt to describe Pierre Hermé’s products unfailingly degenerates into a rapturous ode to gluttony. Hermé donned his first chef’s hat at the age of 14, and trained with such renowned artisans as Gaston Lenôtre before opening his own shop on Rue Bonaparte in 2001. Though you could buy anything and walk away happy, the macaroons are a standout: try the pink macaroon, concocted from an Iranian recipe that balances sweet and bitter flavours to perfection...
- 72 rue Bonaparte, 6e
If Hansel and Gretel had a cake shop in Paris it might look like Bogato (a name that sounds like ‘ beau gateau’ in French, as in ‘pretty cake’). Everything here is about temptation, from the quaint wooden furniture to pastry chef Anaïs Olmer’s brightly coloured cupcakes, towering under glass bells on the counter like sugary art installations. There are crunchy butter biscuits, smooth Nutella tarts, cherry cheesecakes, chocolate-coated marshmallows, and even Cheshire Cat shortbread biscuits with an edible rice paper smile...
- 7 rue Liancourt, 14e
Arnaud Delmontel is as much a baker as a pâtissier. Visit his semi-legendary shop on Rue des Martyrs, and you’re just as likely to end up buying a crispy baguette – voted the best in Paris in 2007 – as one of his famous cakes. The La Renaissance baguette (€1.15) is the star of the show, but you’re well advised to try the honeyed rye bread and the truffle breadsticks as well. If you can’t make it over to the flagship bakery, Delmontel has two other branches (notably in the 18th).
- 39 rue des Martyrs, 9e
Expect queues at this Montmartre bakery, winner in March 2010 of the 17th Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris. As well as gaining plenty of new customers, Baker Djibril Bodian also picked up a cash prize of €4,000 and a contract to keep President Nicolas Sarkozy in bread for a year.
- 38 rue des Abbesses, 18e
Looking for your dream patisserie? Look no further than cake-maker extraordinaire Philippe Conticini’s contemporary boutique/tea-room in the 16th, La Pâtisserie des Rêves (The Cake of Dreams). Conticini is known for his innovative cookery book on Nutella, and surprises abound in his shop too, where you’ll find new interpretations of traditional gateaux. The Saint-Honoré for example (a circular puff-pastry delight filled with whipped cream and caramelised sugar) is rectangular so that you can cut it into slices; the famous Paris-Brest (a praline cream éclair)...
- 111 rue de Longchamp, 16e
Hugues Pouget cut his teeth in the kitchens of some of the city's biggest restaurants and hotels – Le Bristol, Guy Savoy and the Il Palazzo (where he created an all chocolate buffet) – before opening his own boutique with his childhood friend, marketing specialist Sylvain Blanc. Against the shop’s muted décor, the lively colours of the seasonal patisseries stand out: the citrus tart in winter, all oranges and greens, almost looks better than it tastes. A solid range of classics (millefeuilles, éclairs – you name it), each with its matching wine, completes the picture.
- 40 boulevard Raspail, 7e
A green-tea croissant or a sesame éclair, anyone? Japanese cake guru, Sadaharu Aoki, mixes flavours from the East with traditional French pastry ingredients to come up with some of the most surprising (and delicious) cakes in Paris. For those less adventurous, his traditional mille-feuille (vanilla slice) and fraisier (strawberry cake) are perfection incarnate. Or if you fancy something new, try inventions like the Kimagure (choux pastry, vanilla cream, matcha and azuki beans); or the Saya (strawberry mousse with pistachio crème-brûlée and strawberry macaroon). Tables are available if you want to eat in. In January, don’t miss his ‘galette des rois’ filled with matcha, black sesame and azuki paste!
- 35 rue de Vaugirard, 6e
Had Willy Wonka decided to launch a biscuit chain it may well have looked like La Cure Gourmande. There is something irresistibly over-the-top about the shop’s turn-of-the-century-style tins, boxes and baskets, brimming with cookies, bonbons and chocolates. From the moment the vanilla scent hits you, you’re hooked; then the seller suggests you try the biscuit of the day. Before you know you’ve polished off a couple and you’re leaving, guilty grin in tow, with beautifully-packaged boxes of shortbread, gingerbread and dark chocolate truffles...
- 26 cours St Emilion, Chai n° 40, 12e
With the bright colours of his décor, Christophe Roussel brings a certain modernity to the often kitsch art of chocolate-making. Novel spins on the usual product range are the order of the day here. You’ll find not only several varieties of hot chocolate to sample in store, but also ganaches inspired by Roussel’s travels (including a recent trip to the south of India) – a gimmick that gives rise to all manner of curiously spiced chocolates treats. He’s even been known to mould his chocolate...
- 10 rue du Champ de Mars, 7e
After doing time on the high-end patisserie scene in Paris, Jean-Marc Rué finally went independent in 2007, opening his own shop with his wife Keiko Orihara (a renowned chocolatière in her own right). Plumped in a residential corner of the 15th, Monsieur Chocolat caters to a clientele of regulars, who come for the chocolate bars with dried fruit or the salted caramel ganaches. You’ll often find Rué in his workshop in the back, busy fashioning figurines of landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower. You also stand a good chance of meeting Monsieur Chocolat himself...
- 102 rue Cambronne, 15e
Chocoholics from the nearby Assemblée Nationale pop into Michel Chaundun’s cavern of cacao throughout the day. But whether you’re a famous politician or not, everyone gets the same treatment – a welcome smile and an enthusiasm for chocolate so communicative that you can’t help but want to try a square truffle, a Fidgi (a dark chocolate filled with passion fruit ganache) or a Veragua (a heavenly chocolate, praline and caramel layered bon-bon). Then there’s the setting: Chaudun’s chocolate shop has to be the most atmospheric of them all...
- 149 rue de l’Université, 7e
After learning the ropes with chocolate wiz Michel Chaudun, this young chocolatier has become somewhat of a star in Paris’s Saint Germain quarters. The first things you notice in the boutique are the perfectly shaped figurines and animals (often made from moulds created by Jean-Charles Rochoux in the shop basement) and the giant eggs behind the counter, which – each Easter – tell the tale of how the shop came to be. You can even buy a man’s chocolate torso (a nod to the term ‘plaquette de chocolat’ used in French to describe a six-pack)...
- 16 rue d'Assas, 6e
Voted the 'best chocolatier in the world' by critic Mort Rosenblum, Jacques Génin's creations could previously only be tasted in top restaurants. But now his impressive boutique allows you to taste sur place or take a bag home. The signature eclairs and tarts glisten in glass cases, and the millefeuilles are made to order for perfect freshness.The chocolate ganaches include Menthe Amante, a two-phase taste sensation that finishes with mint leaves bursting on the tongue. One part of the vast space is given over to a tearoom, and a spiral staircase leads to the ateliers.
- 133 rue de Turenne, 3rd
Roger is shaking up the art of chocolate-making. Whereas other chocolatiers aim for gloss, Roger may create a brushed effect on hens so realistic you almost expect them to lay (chocolate) eggs. Other locations: 91 rue de Rennes, 6e; 199 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 8e;45 avenue Victor Hugo, 16e; 12 cité Berryer, Village Royal, 8e.
- 108 boulevard Saint-Germain, 6e
Robert Linxe opened his first Paris shop in 1977, and has been inventing new chocolates ever since, using Asian spices, fresh fruits and herbal infusions. The apricot-infused truffles, salted caramel macarons and hazelnut pralines are all worth courting a cavity for.
- 120 av Victor-Hugo, 16th
Salons de thé
A spin-off of its big Russian brother, which has long been a fixture of the Moscow dining scene, this salon de thé has gone from strength to strength since setting up shop in 2010. Situated on the ground floor of the department store Printemps, it offers an excellent choice of sweet bite-sized treats concocted by the chef Emmanuel Ryon (a big name in the world of patisseries). It may be a good deal smaller than the original, but le Café Pouchkine will delight those gourmets who are nostalgic for the pastries of the good old days of the Tsar...
- Printemps Mode, Rez-de-chaussée, 64 boulevard Haussmann, 9e
If you want to taste the ingenious creations of the young pâtissier Christophe Michalak, you’ll first have to swallow the prices: €16 for a cake and €9 for the tea that comes with it. You aren’t only paying for the quality, but also for the setting – all comfortable armchairs and hyper-courteous staff. The range of cakes is limited and changes regularly, so it’s worth asking the staff for recommendations. But you can’t go wrong with la Religieuse (a lemon tart) or the vanilla bourbon-flavoured millefeuille. A wider choice of tea would have been welcome...
- 25 Avenue Montaigne, 75008