Paris Pastry Walking Tour


Paris Pastry Map

The 6th and 7th arrondissements are home to some of Paris’ finest patisseries.  I recently visited several and have mapped out a suggested route that hits many of them.  One can start with Sadaharu Aoki, who is a master of blending Japanese ingredients with classical French technique.  He has several locations in Paris.  I visited his counter in the Galeries Lafayette food emporium, but his flagship store is in the 6th.  His Millefeuille was amazing – layers of flaky pastry and vanilla pastry cream topped with a thin layer of crunchy caramel.  He also has interesting macaron flavors like yuzu and matcha.  From there, walk to Pierre Herme at 72 rue Bonaparte.  Pierre Herme also has several locations in Paris, but most only sell macarons and chocolates.  The location in the 6th is the only one that sells his pastries, including my all-time favorite, the Ispahan, with rose macaron, lychee, and raspberry.  The Ispahan croissant is also amazing.  The macarons are my favorite as well, especially the chocolate-passionfruit.  They are expensive – a box of 7 in a nice gift box is 18e.  Walk up rue Bonaparte to Laduree.  Laduree is also famous for its macarons, and this location has a tea salon where you can sit and enjoy some pastries.

From Laduree, go to Hugo et Victor on Boulevard Raspail.  I cannot believe I missed it on this trip, but I have read great things about Hugo et Victor.  Then make your way over to rue du Bac, where there is one block that has three incredible shops.  La Patisserie des Reves (the pastry shop of dreams), the jewel-like Des Gateux et du Pain, and opening later in 2014, Jacques Genin.  Jacques Genin’s flagship store is near the Republique metro stop in the 3rd arrondissement.  Jacques Genin makes amazingly creamy caramels in a lot of different flavors.  I like the original and nut variations, and less so the fruity ones, except for the mango-passionfruit which was quite delicious.  They sell for 110e per kg!  A 100 gm bag will get you one of each of flavor.  There is also a Mosaique sampler bag filled with various chocolates, pates du fruits, and caramels, which makes a nice gift for 17e.  The Jacques Genin store in the 3rd has a tea salon, where one can order pastries.  I am hoping that the store in the 7th will have a tea salon as well.  Des Gateux et du Pain might be my new favorite patisserie.  Stunningly beautiful pastries and breads.  Their croissant was perfect.  The pistachio St. Honore was delicious.  La Patisserie des Reves is really unique, with more playful interpretations of the classics – look at their St. Honore, for example.  A branch of Dalloyau is also nearby.

Finally, walk up rue du Bac to Eric Kayser to sit down and have coffee and your accumulated loot from all the other shops, or some of Eric Kayser’s excellent eclairs or a delicious baguette cereale (seeded baguette) and buy some mini financiers (chocolate, almond, and pistachio) to take home (10.50e for 300 gm).  And…since you’re walking a lot and calories don’t count when you’re on vacation, enjoy!

Thanks to Paris Patisseries Blog for a lot of recommendations!

Edit: I think you could do the route backwards as well (starting at Eric Kayser), just as long as you end up at a place that has sit-down coffee service like Laduree or Eric Kayser.

 

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Eric Kayser Boulangerie Patisserie Paris


I had the good fortune of staying at a hotel in Paris near Place Vendome that was around the corner from an Eric Kayser Bakery.  Needless to say, I went there almost every morning for breakfast.  They make great baguettes, a traditional one as well as a delicious seeded one (baguette cereale).  There is something about baguettes in France – crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside – that is difficult to find in the US.  They also had great croissants, pain aux raisins that was flaky and had a sweet custard, delicious mini financiers (I ended up bringing two bags back to the US), brioche, and assorted pastries.  There are mini versions of some of the croissants for only 0,65 euros.  They serve coffee and there is a small seating area.  The service was very nice and one morning they even gave us a plate of assorted mini financiers.  There is a 7 euro minimum for credit cards (easy, just buy another pastry if you are short!).  They also have items to take away for lunch, including sandwiches, salads, and quiche.  A great way to prepare for a picnic lunch at Versailles or wherever you might go in Paris.

Patisserie Pierre Herme Paris


There are a few places that are worth traveling half way around the world for.  Pierre Herme is now definitely at the top of that list for me.  Pierre Herme is famous for the wildly inventive flavors of its macarons.  They also have an incredible selection of highly refined, absolutely perfect pastries.  There are several locations in Paris.  A small shop in mega-department store Galleries Lafayette only sells macarons and chocolates.  The flagship store at 72 rue Bonaparte in Saint-Germain des Pres near the Saint Sulpice metro stop has everything – pastries, macarons, chocolates, and a line out the door.  The store is elegant and the pastries are displayed like jewels.  They are not cheap – a small pastry was 6,90 euros, and a box of seven macarons was 17 euros.  But the thing I like about pastries is that they are still relatively affordable, once-in-a-while luxuries.

Before going to Paris I did some web research and found the Paris Patisseries website, which has gorgeous photos and rankings of the best patisseries (specialized bakeries overseen by a master pastry chef) and pastries served in Paris.  The one that initially caught my eye was the Tarte Infinement Vanille, made with vanilla from Tahiti, Madagascar, and  Mexico.  It has a perfect tart shell filled with a vanilla gel and topped with a vanilla mousse.  Really rich and smooth.  Then I chose the Ispahan, two rose macarons with raspberries and lychee filling.  This was perfection, absolutely amazing, and the one I keep dreaming about going back to Paris for.

The macarons are excellent with exotic flavor combinations.  I really enjoyed the passionfruit and chocolate and the salted caramel.  I only ate two per day out of the box of seven, but by the third day they had gone a bit stale.  Lesson learned, next time I will eat them all at once!

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