5 of the best patisseries in Paris
Our pick of the French capital’s superlative sweet spots
Some of the sexiest shops in Paris are full of glistening golden-brown pastries and bombastic meringues. In a city with a towering gastronomic reputation, its world-renowned patisseries (which you’ll find on almost every street corner) hold themselves to immensely high standards. Centuries-old traditional baking techniques have made the city a destination for sweet-tooths, but as well as classic croissants, tarts and millefeuille, a new wave of bakers is pushing the painstakingly ornate art of patisserie into new territory with vegan dough and off-the-wall flavours. Whatever your tastes, here are the places you need to know to reach Parisian patisserie nirvana.
Land and Monkeys, proving that vegan cakes can be as indulgent as you like / Image: Julia Keil
All utterly delicious and not a drop of dairy in sight: Land and Monkeys / Image: Julia Keil
Miracles are happening at this boulevard boulangerie. You’ll find all the classic French fare here from croissants to homemade brioche, all just as delectably flaky and pillowy soft as the best in the city, apart from one big difference – they’re 100% plant-based. That means no butter, eggs, milk or any of the stuff that’s given French cooking its legendary status. The results are spectacular. Founders Rodolphe and Yoshimi Landemaine are committed to their ethos, using only organic, locally sourced ingredients, giving 1% of profits to animal protection charities and dishing out a 10% discount to customers who bring their own packaging. It means tucking into one of their famous monkey cookies slathered in dollops of salted ‘butter’ caramel is as good for your conscience as it is for your tastebuds.
86 Bd Beaumarchais, 75011 Paris
The soft scent of buttery dough has been wafting down Rue Montorgueil for nearly 300 years thanks to this chic patisserie, said to be the oldest in the city. It was founded in 1730 by Nicholas Stohrer, pastry chef for Louis XV at Versailles who’s credited with inventing the Rum Baba, which you’ll find here shimmering with a liquor-laced glaze and topped with a candied cherry (or a dollop of cream if you’re feeling decadent). Its regal connections are still visible in the shop’s gilt interior, designed by a pupil of Paul Baudry (who helped decorate the Opéra Garnier), and towering castles of chocolate eclairs in the window. If there’s a more opulent place to cover your front in crumbs, we can’t name it.
51 Rue Montorgueil, 75002 Paris
When is an apple not an apple? When it comes from La Pâtisserie du Meurice par Cédric Grolet
Optical illusions have never tasted so divine: La Pâtisserie du Meurice par Cédric Grolet
If you see a piece of fruit in this minimalist bakery, don’t be fooled into thinking it will count as one of your five a day. Cut into one of the whole apples, lemons, strawberries or peaches on display and you’ll find them deceptively crafted from lacquered chocolate shells and piped full of silky cream, ganache and poached fruit. These ‘trompe-l’oeil’ sculpted fruit are the brainchild of pâtissier Cédric Grolet, effectively the Willy Wonka of French patisserie, cooking up everything from sugary Rubik’s cube sculptures to chocolate bars made of blackcurrant mousse. The treats don’t come cheap – you can expect to pay €17 for one fruit – but when you’ve been named Best Pastry Chef in the World at multiple awards ceremonies, you’re probably entitled to charge what you like.
6 Rue de Castiglione, 75001 Paris
Praline perfection: a Paris-Brest at Jacques Genin / Image: Pascal Lattes
Jacques Genin doesn't skimp on the fruit when it comes to strawberry tarts / Image: Pascal Lattes
If chocolate is your first love, look no further than self-taught master chocolatier Jacques Genin, who melts together creamy truffles, velvet caramels and chewy nougats with his daughter Jade, in a room they call ‘Le Labo’ (‘the lab’) above his Marais shop. Genin prides himself on only using the best and purest of ingredients, so expect delicate pastries brimming with moreishly bitter chocolate ganache and feather-light eclairs topped with a gorgeous swipe of aromatic chocolate. Be sure to pair your chosen treat with one of the famously heady and rich hot chocolates.
133 Rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris
Not all macarons are created equal and esteemed pastry chef Pierre Hermé has created little meringue sandwiches that blow all others out of the sugar water. Hermé was 14 when he first picked up a whisk and earned his patisserie stripes under legendary chef Gaston Lenôtre. Describing his trade as ‘haute-pâtisserie’, his shops are fittingly called boutiques where macarons in a plethora of creative and oddball flavours are laid out like expensive jewellery alongside other delectable patisserie classics. The original boutique opened on Rue Bonaparte in 2001, and helpful staff will still guide you through the dizzying concoctions of flavours. If in doubt, plump for the pearlescent pink Ispahan macaron, a satisfyingly chewy melange of Middle Eastern-inspired flavours.
72 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris