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.
Created in 1910, this family-run chocolate shop only uses natural ingredients. The hot chocolate is divine: made from 100% cacao powder (from the Ivory Coast), pure cacao butter, half-fat milk and very little sugar, it thickens naturally in a copper cauldron. You can’t drink it in the shop, but on a cold winter’s day there’s nothing better than warming your hands (and soul) with a cup in the street.
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.
One of the world’s best chocolate makers, this Belgian chocolatier wows with each impressive bite. Be it his raspberry and white chocolate hearts or one of his chocolate-covered marshmallows, there’s something here for every chocolate lover. Don’t be deterred by the stark black store – he doesn’t need frills or décor to sell his wares. Seasonal collections keep things fresh while old favourites (like a box featuring chocolate from around the world) are always on hand.
Chocoholics will be in paradise in this concept store dedicated to cocoa, where an upscale brunch is served on Sundays with Poilane bread, Bordier butter and slices of Iberian ham. As part of the €55 menu: foie gras with pear, crème de cassis (in autumn) and a glass of Champagne. There are no muffins, but rather a madeleine, a mini-éclair and a slice of cake – all of which go perfectly with one of the best hot chocolates in Paris, made with real melted chocolate, milk, a little cream and a touch of cinnamon and vanilla.
At Michel Chaundun’s cavern of cacao, expect 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). Chaudun’s chocolate shop has to be the most atmospheric of them all; a wooden panelled 19th-century affair, covered from floor to ceiling with hand-made chocolate sculptures.
Finally, a shop dedicated to the man who trademarked the salted butter caramel. While he makes chocolates as well, it’s the caramels that draw locals and foreigners alike into the signature orange and black shops. An array of the sweets, some infused with matcha powder, chocolate and apple cinnamon, are available individually or in pre-bundled sachets. While many try to imitate, few can compare to the deliciously rich yet subtle, chewy yet tender caramels that melt in your mouth.
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, animals and 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). Order a heavenly ‘ganache’; or, if you’re passing by on a Saturday, try one of the chocolate bars made from fresh fruit.
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.
His creations are as much art as they are confection. Chocolate shoes, guitars, and diamond rings decorate the dark wooden counters, prompting dropped jaws among passersby. And they taste as good as they look, which is remarkable. For the adventurous, Hévin specialises in the beguiling combination of chocolate with potent cheese fillings, which loyal customers serve with wine as an aperitif.
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). 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.
Want more? Check out the best hot chocolates in Paris
Chocolat spécial Flore - €7
According to some regulars, Café de Flore serves the best hot chocolate in Paris. These days there are more tourists than celebrities at this traditional literary café, but few places are as fun to watch the interaction between waiters and customers. The kitchen doesn’t mess around with their classic hot chocolate recipe: it’s an intensely-flavoured jug of thick, warming cocoa - no fancy twists, no extra cream...and yet still top of the class.
Chocolat Chaud "Africain" - €8.20
Angelina is home to Paris's most lip-smackingly scrumptious desserts - all served in the faded grandeur of a belle époque salon just steps from the Louvre. The hot chocolate is pure decadence; try the speciality 'African', a velvety potion so thick that you need a spoon to consume it. Epicurean delights include the Mont Blanc dessert, a ball of meringue covered in whipped cream and sweet chestnut.
'Chocolat Chaud' - €7
Jacques Genin has been providing major hotels and restaurants with chocolate and confectionery since well before opening this bright and modern shop/tea room with a laboratory upstairs. In winter, it attracts crowds with its exquisite hot chocolate, made simply by melting Araguani de Valrhona chocolate in whole milk, accompanied by a bowl of vanilla-infused whipped cream (you can even see the vanilla pod!) plus a small plate of ganaches. A truly luxurious affair.
'Chocolat chaud' - €4.30
A master of novel combinations, this young chocolatier spices things up at the 'chocolate bar' on the first floor of his flagship store. If you can't quite bring yourself to try the hot chocolate with oysters, iodized foam and strange jelly balls, try the energizing banana and chilli version or the subtle carrot hot chocolate. Hévin also offers more traditional hot chocolates, and three raw cocoa drinks.
'Chocolate affogato' - €7.50
This famed ice cream parlour is easily recognisable by the queue that forms year-round outside its doors – except at the height of summer, when the shop is closed of course. In winter, Berthillon doesn’t offer old-fashioned hot chocolate, but an even classier treat: chocolate affogato. At the bottom of a white cup is a dollop of vanilla ice cream, decorated with melted chocolate, frothy milk and hazelnut-flavoured whipped cream...heaven in a mug.
'Chocolat chaud' - €7.30
Decadence permeates this elegant tearoom, from the 19th century-style interior and service to the labyrinthine corridors leading to the toilets. While you bask in the warm glow of bygone wealth, indulge in tea, pastries (the pistachio pain au chocolat is heavenly) and, above all, the hot chocolate. It's a rich, bitter, velvety tar that will leave you in a requisite stupor for any lazy afternoon.
'Chocolat chaud' - €4.50
Created by a Japanese patissier trained at Dalloyau in Tokyo, this small tea room is reminiscent of a French grandmother’s kitchen with its chequered tablecloths, enamelled cast iron stove and resolutely simple, traditional cakes placed on the counter top. Their pure, old-fashioned hot chocolate is served in a large earthenware bowl, and you can help yourself to whipped cream.
'Chocolat Chaud' - €8
Opened by Pierre Cluiwzel, this concept store dedicated to chocolate quickly won over the chocophiles who used to queue at Patrick Roger and Jean-Charles Rochoux. In the tearoom, which turns into a restaurant for lunch and dinner, you can stop by between 3pm and 6pm to warm up with a luxury hot chocolate enriched with a little cream and lightly flavoured with vanilla and cinnamon. To complete the experience, they bring you a plate of three Lilliputian cakes – true masterpieces.
'Hot Chocolate' - €6
Tucked down a quiet street to the north of the Marais, the Fragments café offers a simple and accessible coffee menu, spanning espressos, cappuccinos and iced lattes, each served with either a single or double shot. The hot chocolate, though, is undoubtedly their dark horse. In contrast to the thick, molten concoctions of Jacques Genin or Angelina, this is a lighter cocoa drink - as close as you'll get to a cocoa cloud. A positively dreamy experience, which we recommend pairing with one of their moreish cakes.
'Chocolat chaud' - €4.50
Although this no-frills café does a good value lunch, the pièce de résistance is their chocolat chaud. Go for the grand (€4.50) and don't refuse the cream - it's thick, freshly whipped and impossible to eat without a spoon. Once you've made it through that, the chocolate is bitter, unctuous and barely sweetened (expect to be asked if you need sugar). And since you've managed to nab a table, it would seem rude not to order a slice of sachertorte or apple strudel to go with it.