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Your Favorite Caramels in Paris & La Cigale Recamier

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Am off to Paris next week and a dear friend asked me to bring back some caramels - any and all suggestions will be gladly accepted.

Will be staying in the 2e (near the Opera and Place Vendome), but am willing to travel within Paris.

My goal this trip is to sample the delights offered on rue Bonaparte (Pierre Herme & Laduree) and it's environs (Bon Marche & Poilane). These are all near a recommended place called La Cigale Recamier, has anyone here been lately?

Thanks/Merci!

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  1. Some of the best caramels I’ve had were made by Jacques Genin. His studio is at 18 r St-Charles in the 15th. I am not sure if he sells retail. His main clients are restaurants. I’ve heard that Pain de Sucre on 14 r Rambuteau in the 3rd sells them, but I have not check it out myself. Many of the chocolatiers make caramels. The ones I’ve had from La Maison du Chocolat and Jean-Paul Hevin were very good.
    The area around rue Bonapart is full of great food shops. Gerald Mulot is on r de Seine and so is the chocolatier, Pierre Marcolini. Another, Patrick Roger has a shop on Blvd St. Germain, near St. Michel. Also check out Sadaharu Aoki on r de Vaugirard for French pastry with a Japanese twist. La Maison du Chocolat has a shop on r de Sevres before you reach Bon Marche.

    7 Replies
    1. re: PB

      I second the recommendation of Jacques Genin. We stayed at the Relais St Germain and had dinner at Le Comptoir. They serve his mango caramels after dinner and with the nightly turn down. My husband doesn't like caramels and so at first left them to me. Then he tasted them and demanded to know why I hadn't let him have any. Let us know if you manage to get some from Jacques Genin and where. Inquiring minds want to know.

      1. re: PB

        I once read that Genin 'welcomes' passer-bys to his workshop. Were you a passer-by? He doesn't have a shop per se.

        1. re: zuriga

          I visited Genin's atelier last November. There's no sign, but he'll welcome you in if he sees you outside looking confused. Probably easier if you speak a little French. We ordered one kilo of mixed caramels, which we picked up before we left Paris. He's very welcoming and generous with the samples. I believe it was a one kilo minimum, though, if you'd like to purchase (50 euros).

          1. re: emily

            Thanks for the helpful information. I do speak French but will look very confused next time I'm in Paris and trying to find the caramels. :-)

          2. re: zuriga

            Since my French is very poor, I had a Parisian friend telephoned and made an appointment. I didn't want to drop in on a busy time and get turned away. Also, I didn't want to be the 5th person that day to look confused in front of his studio. He was very friendly and you speaking French would definitely help.

            1. re: PB

              Thanks. Making an appointment sounds like a very polite and good way to go about this!

          3. re: PB

            I second the recomendation of Gerard Mullot for all kinds of take-out, pastries, breads and prepared foods. But be prepared for lines if you go near mealtime or on Sunday. With prepared foods and a counter at which to eat it may be the only place in Paris where you can have lunch before 12.

          4. Didn't get around to his workshop as the morning that I designated to visit was pre-empted by a visit, instead, to the private Hermes Collection that is not normally open to the public. There was a conference/convention going on at my hotel and not enough wives/guests of the conference/convention participants showed up (my goodness, a free stay in Paris and you stay home?!); and to make a long story short my friend and I were invited to go along with the wives. Amazing collection of items [from a tricycle in the form of a horse made for Napolean I's son/heir, a Hermes leather wheelbarrel made for the Duchess of Windsor Wallis Simpson, the first handbag with a zipper (made by Hermes for his wife Julia), and a "secret" trunk and so many other things]. The collection is open to Hermes employees (designers) for inspiration in creating the clothing & accessories collections.

            Did make it to dinner at Beurre Noisette and it was very good. Entrees were sauteed squid (cooked perfectly in a very light pesto inspired sauce) and prawn gambas (again cooked perfectly, the wrapper wasn't oily and tail shell was removed). Plats were suckling pig seasoned with curry, cumin, and apricots (very tender, small layer of fat just beneath the skin) served with a very thin, crispy slice of bacon; and beef braised in red wine and other aromatics (including cepes, I believe) which resulted in fork tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef. Both plats served with soft polenta with some cheese (and more butter) mixed in it. Desserts were a pot de creme chocolat and a brie with fruit/nut filling). A 1 litre bottle of S. Pelligrino (as they only had the 500 ml bottle of Badoit). Dinner for 2 came to 69 Euro.

            Also, was able to squeeze in Laduree and Pierre Herme (was in the 6e doing some shopping at the really big pharmacy on the same street, rue Bonaparte). Final concensus - Laduree for the basic, traditional macaron (caramel fleur de sel) and Pierre Herme for the cutting-edge, contemporary macaron. Gave co-worker a dozen of the Laduree caramel fleur de sel macarons and she was astounded (my macarons don't even come close!).

            Sorry not to report back with caramel success. But THANK YOU all for the information, it will be put to use when I return to Paris in November.

            1. I adore La Cigale Recamier. I have been twice and never had a bad meal. Both times, the weather was warm and lovely, thus eating outside on the sidewalk/patio was superb. It is in the heart of the 7th and filled with charm. I would go back in a heartbeat.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mikey

                I must agree with Mikey regarding La Cigale Recamier. My husband and I ordered a delicious smoked salmon salad. Our daughters both ordered filets which I sampled- they were cooked perfectly. We ordered dessert souffles- my husband and older daughter both ordered chocolate dessert souffles- they are both "chocoholics" but found their souffles almost too rich. I fared much better with the peach almond souffle- absolutely sublime! My younger daughter ordered creme brulee. The menu stated that the creme brulee was complemented with raspberries. Instead, it was served with cherries cooked in the custard. My daughter thought that the raspberries would have been better, but the dessert was still very delicious. Definitely order the peach almond souffle. The chocolate souffle made you very thirsty and in need of water. The atmosphere was wonderful. Our waiter seemed a bit pompous at first (probably because we were Americans) but eased up as the meal went on- turns out he was the son-in-law of the chef (Gera and owner (Gerard Idoux) and even told us about his 4 year old daughter and that his wife works at the restaurant during the day. He mentioned that it was a new location for the restaurant. We just happened upon the restaurant while visiting other sites in the 7th. We were able to be seated adjacent to the patio without a reservation. The patio is the most popular seating area and a reservation would be needed to dine there. This was out favorite restaurant during our week in Paris.

              2. L'Etoile d'Or near Montmartre has really good caramels and other wonderful chocolates and treats. Patricia Wells in her "Food Lovers Guide to Paris" said that if you can only make it to one chocolate shop in Paris, this is the one to go to. I took her word for it and was not disappointed. (I did go to other shops as well, though.)