When one thinks of France, it is safe to say that food often comes to mind, especially sweet treats! If you are anything like me and have a major sweet tooth, you can only imagine how excited I was to visit Paris and try all of their delicacies (especially the sweet ones). Before leaving for my trip, I started researching the best desserts and bakeries around Paris. I was beyond surprised when I found over 1000 bakeries claiming they had “the best desserts”. After speaking to many locals and continuing my research, I was able to narrow it down quite a bit. Needless to say there are many bakeries that are still on my list to visit next time I am in Paris but there are only so many macaroons and éclairs you can eat during a 7-day visit.
I found it so interesting that each bakery had it’s own distinct personality and take on certain desserts, many of which reflected the neighborhood in which they were located. For example, Le Marais is a historic district in Paris that is a bit more upscale and located on the swanky left bank of the city. The farther away you travel from the center of the city to the outskirts of the arrondissements, the more casual the bakeries become. These bakeries cater more to locals as opposed to Le Marais, which is more of a tourist hot spot.
I was also surprised to see all of the new up and coming pastry chefs opening up their own bakeries in some of the smaller, less-known areas of the city. Just because these bakeries aren’t as centrally located, it doesn’t mean they aren’t worth checking out! The rent is less demanding which allows the pastry chefs to focus on their culinary masterpieces! For me, one of the best things about visiting a new city is learning about local hot spots and “hole in the wall” places worth checking out.
De Belles Manières
De Belles Manières is a delicious bakery known for cutting it’s bread into slices…I know this sounds so normal but it’s actually not! Most bakeries ask you to purchase big loaves of bread whereas De Belles Manières lets you choose slices from each loaf to try to your hearts desire. The flour is organic, everything is made fresh daily and there is a tiny little tea salon in the back of the shop where you can enjoy brunch. This is definitely a bakery worth visiting.
Aki Boulanger is a Franch-Japanese bakery that is quite a hotspot among locals. It is a typical French bakery with added Japanese specialties so you can find a mix of pastries that incorporate both types of cuisines. The matcha bread and green tea millefeuille are out of this world and 100% worth trying. Although it is not the most classic French bakery, it is one that is very popular among locals!
I was also very excited to try some of the bigger named bakeries, such as the first Ladurée located on the Champs Elysées. Although we have one in NYC, there is nothing like visiting the original flagship store! The décor was incredible and the location is ideal for people watching while sipping on a cup of delicious coffee and enjoying incredible pastries. (And yes, they taste better in Paris…don’t ask me why).
Now, to my favorite bakery in Paris…Stohrer, one of the oldest patisseries in Paris that recently celebrated its 283rd anniversary This particular bakery has earned the reputation as one of the most iconic pastry shops in the capital of France (and with good reason). Nicolas Stohrer, Marie Antoinette’s Austrian pastry chef, opened this shop in 1730 and it is still one of the most popular bakeries in the city. Stohrer offers an incredible selection of delicious pastries that are absolutely out of this world and indescribably delicious. Stohrer Patisserie is the birthplace of some of the most famous pastries in Paris such as the Babà au rhum and the Málaga. My personal favorite dessert served at Stohrer is the Tarte Aux Framboises and of course, the oh so famous chocolate éclair. There is something so amazing about walking into this pastry shop knowing it was created back in the 1700’s by Marie Antoinette’s personal chef. If it was good enough for the Queen, you know it’s good enough for anyone and everyone!
There is nothing like a delicious pastry but enjoying one while sitting at a café in Paris heightens the experience while taking your senses to another level. In Paris, you will find the world’s best restaurants and chefs as well as the most remarkable and suggestive pastries. Next time you are craving something sweet or looking for the perfect dessert to take to a dinner party, think about all the incredible French pastries such as a perfectly wrapped box of vibrant macaroons from Laudaree or a box of chocolate éclairs from your local French baker. While deciding on what delicacy to order, think about the history of the pastries and just picture Marie Antoinette nibbling on a Macaroon while enjoying high tea at Versailles.