No one goes to Paris on a diet. With that in mind, I strongly urge you to indulge in pain au chocolat, croissants, Mont-Blanc, Saint-Honoré, baguette, macarons, and all kinds of sweet delicacies you’ll find in this gourmet city. But with over 30,000 bakeries in Paris in all shapes, sizes, locations, and quality, it can be hard to pin down which ones deserve a visit.
A word of warning before you start your odyssey: not all bakeries and pâtisseries are created equal. An astounding faction relies on unfrozen goods baked in suburban high-production facilities. Most Parisians are downright outraged by this plague of faux-bakeries! If your gut tell you the goods aren’t freshly baked on-site, they probably aren’t. There are too many hard-working, artisanal, and innovative bakeries across town to waste time (and money!) on inferior baguettes.
If the pâtisseries you’re eyeing all look exactly the same, with absolutely no difference in finish, size or shape, step away. Authentic pâtisseries will have slight, ever-so-subtle differences because they’re made by hand.
7 RUE ANTOINE VOLLON, 12E ARRONDISSEMENT
Once the pastry chef at Michelin-starred Le Bristol, Fabrice Le Bourdat now serves up some of the most
beautiful desserts, viennoiseries, and breads in the city. Don’t skip out on the butter-and-caramel
kouign-amann, a Breton specialty. Honestly, they have the best pain au chocolat in Paris. Thick, buttery, not too flaky. Best enjoyed al fresco in the adjacent, leafy Square Trousseau.
45 RUE DU MONTORGUEUIL, 9E ARRONDISSEMENT
Paris gets it first concept store dedicated to all things pastries, with treats from some six of the most esteemed chefs pâtissiers in town. A brilliant idea, or what? What’s on offer changes almost daily in this sliver-of-a-shop cake boutique; it’s hard to predict what will be available but impossibly high standards and perfect execution are to be expected regardless.
153 RUE DU FAUBOURG SAINT-ANTOINE, 11E ARRONDISSEMENT
10 RUE DES MARTYRS, 9E ARRONDISSEMENT
The owner, Olivier Magne, was 2015‘s meilleur ouvrier de France (aka the French Oscars of baking); his lively bakery now serves up some of the best organic, sourdough bread in Paris. He opted for quality over quantity, and as such, there is few varieties of bread on offer but each one is impeccable. For something sweet, try the mini Paris-Brest and the lemon brioche.
34 RUE YVES TOUDIC, 10E ARRONDISSEMENT
Historic, minuscule bakery famous for its buttery escargot, an as-big-as-your-face spiral-shaped pastry; get the pistache chocolat to go and enjoy it on the banks of adjacent Canal St-Martin.There are queues, but their goods are well worth the 10-minute wait in this off-the-tourist-path neighbourhood.
45 RUE CONDORCET, 9E ARRONDISSEMENT
The ever-present queues at this 100% female-owned bakery are indicative of just how addictive their pain
au chocolat is. Sweet prices, too, at just €1,20.
Now, I’ll probably get hanged for this, but La Durée is just overrated to me. Fauchon has the best macarons in Paris and I am adamant about this. I particularly like their combination of both classic flavours (pistachio, chocolate, salted caramel, raspberry) as well as groundbreaking ones (passionfruit-mango, fig and honey, blackburrant and violet).
And if you just can’t get enough of the sweets, Fauchon even opened its own hotel last year.
85bis rue de Charenton, 12e arrondissement
Adorable corner bakery adorned in the purest Art Deco style. Chocolate-lovers will travel great lengths to get their hands on the dense ganache pie. Tip: try and get a croissant to go and enjoy it on the nearby Promenade plantée.
Last time I was there, a local customer and the owner got into a heated argument because she accused him of cutting the bread the wrong way, and she left angrily, yelling that would never set foot in there again. To which the owner happily replied: “Well, there are plenty of bakeries to go around, lady!”. That’s just Paris for you.
Other noteworthy bakeries in Paris:
- Boulangerie Utopie
- Le boulanger de la tour
- Yann Couvreur
- Des gâteaux et du pain
- Sadaharu Aioki
- La pâtisserie Cyril Lignac
- Boris Lumé boulangerie
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