The pâtisserie is easily one of the sweetest ways to enjoy Paris. Well, other than Paris chocolate shops. These little bakeries are filled with the makings of your wildest confectionary dreams. What sets them apart from the classic American bakery is that each pâtisserie is marked by the presence of a full-time pastry chef.
This availability of a dessert specialist and their unparalleled creations is something uniquely French and can be found all over the country, and seemingly on every street corner in Paris. Parisians truly know how to live!
Pierre Hermé is not the largest pâtisserie nor the most widely recognized and yet it is considered one of the best. If you arrive before the doors open, people will be lined up around the corner waiting to be let in, anticipating fresh macarons.
The French macaron is a sandwich cookie traditionally made from meringue, almond flour and butter cream. But, Pierre Hermé is known for making unique macarons that fall outside the traditional realm of chocolate or almond flavoring. For those of you picturing a coconut confection this could not be farther from the truth.
Pierre Hermé’s macarons come in flavors like caramel, passion fruit and even jasmine.
Denis Ruffel is the on-site pastry chef at Jean Millet. This little pastry shop makes delicious croissants. If pastry is not enough to satisfy your sweet tooth then the on-site chocolate factory certainly will.
Anyone visiting this pâtisserie would be hard pressed not to sample their pain au chocolate or chocolate croissants. In my opinion this blends the best of both worlds for a delicious balance of flaky pastry and rich chocolate.
Lenôtre is known for changing the face of the French pâtisserie. They are known for their light whipped pastry and for bringing fruit back into the recipes of pâtisseries all across Paris. One of the most famous desserts is the chocolate-covered almond cake. Gaston Lenôtre is single-handedly responsible for bringing the pâtisserie into our century with many delicious innovations that improved the flavor and texture of desserts. His knowledge, technique, passion and respect for ingredients are taught at the pastry school of the same name.
His ability to move away from tradition sets the pâtisserie apart and caused Lenôtre to gain worldwide recognition as a force in the world of pastry chefs.
Some herald Ladurée as being a Parisian institution in the world of pâtisseries. They are distinguished by their ability to make some of the finest macarons in Paris and for the convenience of having many locations, even New York. Ladurée is also known for its elegant boutique salons and deliciously detailed signature French packaging which garners as much of a cult following as their sweets.
One of its most beautifully decorated locations can be found on the Champs-Elysees. Ladurée is credited for being the original creator of the macaron and if tradition equals excellence then a pâtisserie that has been around since the 1800’s is certainly worth a visit. This is a view supported by the fact that Ladurée sells around 15,000 macarons a day and has shops outside of France in places like Tokyo, London and Dublin.
For those of you not content on the simple sweetness of pastry, Miss’ Manon is a combination of both a pâtisserie and boulangerie. This is a nice option for anyone who would not consider themselves a sweets lover because while you can certainly experience the delicious pastry French pâtisseries are known for, you also have the choice of a freshly baked baguette – which has been awarded the esteemed Label Rouge. Notable pastries to try include Opéra and St. Honoré.
Miss’ Manon, located on the corner of rue Saint Antoine and rue Saint Paul in the Marais, is a place where you could have your cake and eat freshly baked bread too.
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