The moment you arrive at Paris your vision is filled with temptations, anywhere you look you are likely to find a patisserie (a bakery that specializes in cakes and desserts) or a boulangerie (a bakery that specializes in bread making and pastries) in front of you. Making a choice can be hard, and while there are many famous brands there are also many small boutique patisseries.
I’ve been exploring Paris for the past 4 years, documenting, talking to chefs, and sampling all of their creations in an attempt at creating a huge database of all of those desserts. So for me, this is a great opportunity to share some of these unique places with you, exploring the flavors and textures, and helping you decide where to visit during your stay in Paris.
20 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011 Paris
In one of the most unique locations in the heart of Paris, at the 11th arrondissement, there is Boulangerie Utopie. Founded by two pastry chefs, Erwan Blanche & Sebastien Bruno, this place is a small paradise for unique and mouth-watering breads, pastries, and desserts. One of the most noticeable elements used in Boulangerie Utopie is the “Charbon”, the activated charcoal. You can find charcoal in the black baguette, the black bread, and most famously the “Roulé Sésame Noir”, a rolled charcoal croissant dough with black sesame cream and black sesame. It is one of the best bites in the city for sure: crunchy, moist and sweet just in the right amount. If by any chance you get there and they are out of it (it does happen!), you might want to try one of their other delicious creations, like the blueberry cake (in season), the mango coriander tart, or the black sesame eclair.
Another great bonus is when you arrive at Utopie during the weekend. Every Saturday and Sunday they have a weekend creation. It could be a bread, a cake, or a pastry, and if you’re lucky enough it will be all of them. So make sure you ask Utopie about their weekend special!
67 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris
If you’re looking for a caramel heaven on earth, it is definitely Karamel Paris. Founded by Nicolas Haelewyn, a former Laduree chef, this place is a church for the caramel lovers, filled with everything you can dream of. Starting with chocolates and caramel candies wrapped individually in the sweetest way possible and with amazing flavors, like the orange blossom caramel or the raspberry caramel. Their pastries are also something you must try, like the kararolls, a wrapped brioche dough, with hiding liquid caramel core inside and topped with caramel; muesli, and nuts. I would also recommend trying the famous “cookie noisette pistache,” made with a moist cookie and topped with soft caramel, hazelnut and pistachio pieces. You should also try one of the cakes Karamel has to offer…
I would definitely suggest one of my all-time favorites, the “tarte citron à la noisette”–a lemon hazelnut tart made with a hazelnut tart dough base, a Madeleine biscuit soaked in lemon syrup, lemon curd, soft hazelnut caramel, and Italian meringue. It has sweet and sour flavors in the exact amount. Karamel is also a place where you can sit and have a coffee or tea along with your pastries (which is not a common thing for patisseries in France), and on your way out don’t forget to look up and see the Eiffel tower above you while your taste buds are caramelised.
Un Dimanche a Paris
4-6-8 Cours du Commerce Saint-André, 75006 Paris
Not only that this is one of my favorite hidden allies in the heart of Paris, it also holds an amazing pastry shop. Directed by chef Nicolas Bacheyre, a former Fauchon pastry chef, Un Dimanche a Paris (A Sunday in Paris) is one of those places you go into and forget about time. Along the shelves filled with chocolates and French candies (look out for the free samples) you will find the cake vitrine, displaying chef Bacheyre’s creations like the Mojito cheesecake, the Vanilla baba au Rhum, or the famous Galet, a cake that looks like 2 pebble stones stacked one on top of each other and made with caramel cremeux, vanilla ganache, praliné and pain de genes of vanilla and butter biscuits. For the gluten-free visitors, Un Dimanche a Paris has their changing monthly tart, focusing on seasonal fruit and made with a gluten-free biscuit base.
The bonus? Take a look to your left and watch the patisserie lab people working through the giant glass. It is hypnotising.
153 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine
This small Patisserie Boulangerie in the Bastille area opened in 2016 and is the living proof that size doesn’t matter. This small shop holds some of the great creations you won’t find anywhere else and is orchestrated by a MOF (Meilleur Ouvrier de France – the highest level of craftsmanship in boulangerie chef), Olivier Magne. Using dough like origami, this chef creates the most special pastries you will ever taste. Apart from the amazing bread and delicious cakes (lemon tart strikes again), there are 2 pastries that are just crazy good!
One is the “Rosace”, a flower looking puff pastry dough, half natural half chocolate filled with chocolate brownie and topped with pistachio creme brulée. It is simply mind-blowing, unlike anything you ever tasted before. The other one is the “Toupie”, a lemon with a pinch of turmeric brioche dough rolled in 2 colors and filled with a cream puff (!) filled with cassis confit.
76 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris
This spot has a special place in my heart. Being the first patisserie I visited in Paris, I since had the honor to work there and visit it numerous times. It is a Parisian establishment that goes back to the 70s. It was founded by Gerard Mulot, creating mostly classic pastries, cakes, breads, and even salty food. You can feel the magic when you step inside, with eye-catching creations all around you and a giant lab working 24 hours a day under your feet. This place makes creations which are an essential part of the flavors that make Paris what it is. I have many favorites in Gerard Mulot (as I tasted most of them) like the Chausson pomme, the tarte au citron meringuée, the Charlotte, and the clafoutis. But one of my all-time favorites is the Galette Frangipane, a special pastry made for Epiphany only in the month of January and is worth the wait. Made with puff pastry dough and filled with almond pistachio cream, this pastry has the best balance of crunchy, softness, sweetness, and bitterness that a pastry should have. Even if you don’t make it in January, be sure to try one of the simple pastries like the pain au chocolat or pain suisse.
10 Avenue d‘Iéna, 75116 Paris
One of the most common reactions of people to luxury hotels is fearing to go in and visit them. I always try to encourage Paris tourists to go visit hotels, there are chefs there that will love for you to come in for a coffee and try their pastries. While it is more expensive than a regular patisserie, the experience is worth every cent. The reason I chose the Shangri-La Hotel is that this hotel, directed by chef Michael Bartocetti, serves a very special tea time. Their tea time is vegan! Yes yes, French pastries and sandwiches and even scones without any eggs or dairy. Sounds impossible, right? Well, chef Bartocetti made the impossible possible! It is a whole different experience with crunchy cookies or moist scones with a side of dairy-free cream and jam. And my favorite, the “Calisson”, a mousse cake made with orange blossom mousse and apricot marmalade. It is the perfect solution for those of you who are vegan or lactose intolerant–and trust me, even if you are not all of the above, you won’t even notice it is vegan. A tea time experience made to perfection.
69 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
Chocolat Chapon is a very special place filled with history and stories. It was founded by Patrice Chapon, a chocolatier that started his way as an architecture school drop-out, soon after joining his father to work in the restaurant world discovering patisserie and later on chocolaterie. He started out creating chocolates in his parent’s basement and afterward moved to a small atelier.
In his shop at rue du Bac, you will find covering the walls, all of his old chocolate molds in which he started his creations. When you are inside this magical shop, the first thing you want to do is explore and look at all of those amazing chocolate creations. Be sure to taste chocolate from different countries (it’s free to try) and then get the “dome Praliné sel fume” Chapons award-winning chocolate. Another gourmet attraction is the chocolate mousse bar at the entrance of the shop. Filled with different chocolate mousses, it is made with chocolates from different origins and different levels of bitterness. One thing is for sure, you will surely exit this small shop with a smile on your face (and maybe some chocolate too).
13 Rue du Temple, 75004 Paris
For those of you who waited patiently for the ice cream part of this article, wait no more! You are invited to visit one of the most magical ice cream shops in Paris at the heart of the Marais area, La Glacerie, run by chef David Wesmaël MOF (Meilleur Ouvrier de France). This place is a theme park for ice cream lovers, starting with the ice cream in a cone, conservative style ice cream eating (the banana sorbet is amazing) at the entrance of the shop, and continuing to the ice cream cakes made with meringue, marmalade and ice cream of course. And on to the ice cream bar, in different flavors wrapped in crunchy chocolate ready for you to grab them and bite. Every bite you’ll take at La Glacerie will assure you’re in the right place, it is definitely the correct way to eat ice cream, and with the tube take-away system they invented you can do all kind of ice cream combinations at home, if your ice cream will last that long before you eat it on your way.
Just remember, while these are my all-time favorite recommendations creations, the pastry world changes rapidly with seasons. While you visit a boutique, it might not have the specific creation I mentioned above, but they will always have something to replace it along with other amazing creations.
This blog post was written by Tal Spiegel, owner of the successful Instagram page @desserted_in_paris
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