When you think of Paris, it’s difficult not to smile at the thought of deliciously fresh and buttery croissants, éclairs, tarte aux abricôts and more; so we decided to visit one of the best patisseries around – the iconic Ladurée. Situated in the heart of the Champs Élysées, it’s one of the world’s most photographed patisseries and has become somewhat of a mecca for wide-eyed tourists looking to sample some of its mouthwatering treats.
This is what happened…
Upon entering, we were so exited. Greeted with an eye-watering array of delicious looking cakes, full of spectacular colours and mouthwatering flavour combinations... Rum babas topped with fresh cream, raspberries and laced with lush quantities of rum; passion fruit and dark chocolate gateaux; vibrant fresh strawberry éclairs; pistachio nut and dark chocolate pain au chocolats and much more, it was hard to know which ones to choose. Looking at them, you think to yourself ‘Hey! It’s expensive but OMG! I can’t wait to eat them’ and, like a child in a sweetshop, all intentions of purchasing one cake ends in a sprint home carrying a box filled with goodies to share with friends. However, that’s where the excitement ends. Eating the cakes at home could only be described as anti-climatic as, other than the rum baba, all of the cakes were either dry or claggy and lacked any depth of flavour. It was a big surprise as, judging from the queue to get into the store, you’d think that it really was unmissible. However, on second thoughts, we realized that most of the people in there were actually tourists, not Parisians, and so were unlikely to return and would be replaced by new excited tourists as the cycle continues.
That got us thinking. During our trip, we’d visited so many more incredible and award-winning patisseries, many of which were nearby but largely remain ‘secret’ spots favoured by the Parisians. Well, sorry Parisians! but we’re about to let the world in on a little secret.
Here are our favourite patisseries in Paris:
1. Maison Hardel
An award-winning patisserie situated on Rue des Acacias (near L'Arc de Triomphe). Definitely try their pain au raisins, tarte aux pommes and tarte aux fruits. To die for!
2. Douceurs Et Traditions Boulangerie Nelly Julien
You can always tell when somewhere is brilliant by the fact that even the locals are willing to queue to get in for a lazy weekend brunch. If you love coffee, pastries and brunch, this place is IT! Although to be fair, there are so many fantastic patisseries on this street. It’s difficult to name just one so we definitely recommend taking a stroll down there for breakfast one morning. You won’t be disappointed. The café is situated on Rue Saint Dominique - a side street near La Tour Eiffel – so the perfect start to the day if you’re doing a spot of sight seeing as it’s right on route.
3. Café de L’Opera
We really like this café. Not only is it in a prime and convenient location but the baguettes are full of tasty fillings, the pastries are rich, buttery and deliciously fresh from the oven and it’s also great value for money. The café is situated on Rue De Clichy, several metres from Galeries Lafayette so perfect for grabbing a quick and tasty baguette to go, or for stopping for lunch and a catch up with friends.
If the weather’s nice, why not spend the day visiting Le Louvre, followed by a picnic in the Jardins du Tuileries. If you do, don’t forget to stop off here first to pick up some goodies en route.
4. Galeries Lafayette
This one might surprise you but Galeries Lafayette (Paris Haussmann) has so much more to offer than just shopping. Comprising of 3 monumental buildings on each corner of the road, it has one building specifically with men’s fashion in mind, one for women, and a third which is full of delicious charcuteries, fromageries, delicatessens, fresh pasta, cafés, chocolatiers, groceries and more. It also has some unbelievable pastry counters, with incredible ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ flavour inventions. Whether you’re looking for Pierre Hermé raspberry and cream macarons; passion fruit and white chocolate éclairs or salted caramel and hazelnut éclairs by L'Éclair de Génie; Benoît Castel’s gourmet bakery with its fantastic breads or anything else you can imagine, Galeries Lafayette has it all and, even better, it looks delicious, tastes delicious, the atmosphere is electric, and you can mix and match. What more could a girl want?!