Sometimes love is best expressed through a perfect pastry – and in the city of love, the patisseries play Valentine effortlessly
French baker Gotran Cherrier is as known for his classic good looks as for his bread. From tartes fines and bagels to guacamole and red onion buns flavoured with rocket, the fare is solid and dependable. Sweet tooth addicts will love the banana and pistachio cakes and lime tarts. His pastries are perfectly flaky; pick up a baguette or a croissant and save it for munchies later. Cherrier has also created curry breads– something best tried with an open mind.
Chef Guillaume Gil’s pastry shop will easily make it to the list of the finest patisseries in Paris. For starters, it moves away from the retro look that most other patisseries wear. This one’s modern; more cool than cute. And then, there is the fare. The tarts (lemon, pistachio, and other flavours), and the éclairs are top-rate, but for a truly satisfying experience, head here for brunch or tea. The open kitchen also means you can stand and watch the sugary magic unfold in front of you.
Christophe Vasseur switched careers from fashion to baking at the age of 32, and the popularity of his bakery proves it was the right decision. The bakery is kitted out as a traditional boulangerie and the servers speak English. Perfecting a flaky pastry is an art, and Vasseur has mastered it – skip breakfast and land up here for their lezpain au chocolat banana. Do not leave without their signature bread – le pain des amis (with a thick, toasty crust and a soft airy inside).
When you’ve invented a macaron called the Infiniment Chocolat, you are guaranteed a place in the hall of fame of immortal pâtissiers. Pierre Herme is considered the “Picasso of pastries”, and rightly so: try his vanilla flan. With rows of Miss Gla”Gla Ispahan Glace, and delicate wobbles of Desire, you are in dessert heaven. All you need to do is count the calories and your coins – the dent in the bank account will be compensated by the memory of the taste.
Chocolate covered marshmallows on your right, chocolate hippos on your left, a psychedelic ceiling to speed up your sugar high, and nuggets of ice cream—why would you skip this? This patisserie makes its own preserves, delicious gardens of fruit packed away in glass jars. Happily married couple Nathalie Robert and Didier Mathray is the duo behind the patisserie, and they’ve created a palette of subtle flavours and stunning colours.
La Duree is present in almost 30 cities now across the world, and yet people head to the Champs Elysees store with almost reverential delight. The pistachio green and gold trimmings, the floor to ceiling Art Nouveau mirrors and doors, the velvet curtains and delicate chandeliers all create a fairytale setting for the stars–the La Duree macarons. The decadence of biting into a salted chocolate caramel macaron in a lush tea room is an underrated pleasure.
This patisserie is designed like a jewellery store, and the pastries displayed like jewels. It all looks posh with black interiors, stylish packaging and, thankfully, the taste is excellent as well. Try their Saint-Honoré Litchi a puff pastry with whipped cream, litchi cream, fresh litchi, and two choux filled with litchi cream. This place delights in creating contrasts–the Hugo for new interpretations of classics, and the Victor for traditional desserts with a twist.
Jacques Genin is a self-taught chocolatier, and has spent years working at his lab to create a rainbow of flavours. His loft like space is an unusual tea room, but is a great place to unwind after a tiring day of sightseeing. The chocolate tartlet gets obvious points for its perfection, but aim for the chocolate éclair – light as air, and delicately chocolaty. If you’re in the mood for something light, try the Tarte Citron or the Ananas Pate de Fruits.
Sadaharu Aoki is a celebrated pastry chef in Paris, known for his combinations of Japanese and French pastries. The Matcha-Azuki is a layered pastry that combines a combination of green tea and red bean with praline. Saya is the Matcha-Azuki’s pink sister, a mix of layers of strawberry mousse, joconde biscuit, pistachio cream, and hazelnut sablé. The Japanese sensibility of presentation is at its peak, with perfectly balanced colour-lines in addition to flavour.
The ‘Cake of Dreams’ or La Pâtisserie des Rêves, creates solid, tangible, melt-in-your- mouth delights that we’ve only dreamt of. Cake-maker Philippe Conticini’s pristine store has immaculate pastries resting under glass bell jars against understated and stylish grey walls and brown boards. Conticini’s book on Nutella and its many delicious applications should give you an idea of what you’re in for. Among his classics are the Saint-Honoré and the Paris Brest.
La Bague de Kenza specialises in Algerian pastries, unusual delicacies bursting with nuts, dry fruits, honey, rose water, mint, citrus and vanilla. Almond cones and baklavas are easy favourites, all to be enjoyed with steaming glasses of mint tea. It is impossible to resist the exotic smells wafting out onto the sidewalk. They even have a cookbook, Les Douceurs de Kenza, with stories about the origins of their various dishes.