Top 5 classic Paris pastries & where to find them
It’s hard to ignore the sights and smells of the patisseries and bakeries that line Parisian streets. Whether you’re strolling through the picturesque left bank or sightseeing in Montmartre, you will surely be tempted with the sweet aroma of butter and sugar. The glistening colours of fresh-baked pastries will have your eyes peering longingly through bakery windows. With so many goodies within grasp, just where should you go to get the best Paris classics? We have the answers.
Where to find it: Cristophe Vasseur of Du Pain et Des Idees
From the perfect petit dejeuner to a fragrant afternoon snack, the croissant is a versatile and ever-pleasing staple. The buttery, flakey, comforting goodness of the croissant dates back to the 13th century. While it may seem simple, this French classic is incredibly hard to perfect. Thankfully, baker Christophe Vasseur of Du Pain et Des Idees has mastered this world-famous pastry. Tucked away in Paris’ 10th arrondissement, head off the beaten path to sink your teeth into the golden crescent. The buttery pastry is and will remain the classic emblem of French patisserie.
Pain Au Chocolat
Where to find it: Le Grenier a Pain
The sweeter sibling to the croissant is the pain au chocolate, or ‘choclatine’. The addition of dark chocolate to the layered dough results in a more decadent treat. This is a favourite of Paris visitors and can be found all over the city. However, if you’re looking for the real deal, make sure to visit Le Grenier a Pain. Pastry chef Michel Galloyer offers his delightful assortment of treats in a characteristic boulangerie (think exposed brick and wooden fixtures) so you’ll feel the full force of the Parisian charm. A classic pastry shop in the classic neighbourhood of Montmartre – c’est parfait!
Where to find it: L’eclair de Genie
While you’re strolling along the historical streets of Montmartre, stop into L’eclair de Genie for another classic, the eclair. This dreamy favourite is made by filling choux – an airy and light pastry – with sweet cream, before topping it with icing. The treat dates back to the 1800s and may have ties to famous French chef Antonin Careme. Decades later, chef Christophe Adam has elevated the traditional eclair to another level. Adam combines tradition with innovation by upping the ante of the classic eclair to include modern flavours like lemon-meringue and citron-coco. By mixing classic technique with unique flavours, Adam gives the traditional dessert a new and blissful life.
Where to find it: Laduree (of course)
The magic of Laduree may not be news, but there is a very good reason for their line stretching amongst the famed shops on the Champs-Élysée. The delicate but flavourful Laduree macaron dates back to the 19th century when Pierre Desfontaines changed the patisserie world with the idea of a “ganache sandwich.” Once inside the stunningly decorated tea room, your eyes will dance between the golden trim and the rainbow pastry display. The delicate meringue ‘cookies’ are chewy and light, with varied flavours like classic pistachio, indulgent chocolate, and romantic rose. Expect a subtle, pleasing and unmistakable flavour to delight your taste buds.
Where to find it: Jacques Genin
The Millefeuille might be the most delectable classic French pastry of them all. The name of this flaky treat translates to “a thousand leaves” and is traditionally made up of three layers of puff pastry, with pastry cream layered in between. While the exact origin of the millefeuille is unknown, its creation can be traced back to the 16th century. This creamy dessert can be found all over Paris, but if you’re after the best of the best head to Jacques Genin. The modern chocolate shop with plenty of seating is in the heart of the trendy Marais neighbourhood. The millefeuille is made to order in flavours like vanilla and praline cream, and Genin gets the crunchy exterior and not-too-sweet pastry cream just right. It’s hard to believe he’s self-taught! While you’re there, make sure to pick up some chocolate to take back home as a gift – who could refuse the most coveted and tasty of souvenirs!