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How do I say I order macaroons in French??

cherrybounce Jun 19, 2008 07:22 PM

I don't want to get kicked out of Laduree for my horrible French, so how do I say "I want 12 macaroons please". My friend was actually asked to leave a shop in Belgium b/c she didn't speak French!!!!

  1. v
    VJA Jul 1, 2008 10:40 AM

    I just found out that the last free day I'll have before returning home on Tuesday morning is Sunday. Are all of the best places open on Sunday? If I have to buy things on Saturday, will they keep until Tuesday night?

    7 Replies
    1. re: VJA
      chochotte Jul 1, 2008 01:11 PM

      Ladurée is open on Sunday, Pierre Hermé too. Where else were you hoping to go?

      Macarons will keep two days. Other things, it depends. Really you must ask the person serving you how long each item which interests you will keep for, and to recommend things that keep well.

      1. re: VJA
        Aleta Jul 1, 2008 01:13 PM

        Last night (Mon night), when the apt was finally quiet, I ate the last 2 macarons bought on Sat. at Gerard Mulot. Macarons connoisseurs might complain about freshness etc. but to me, they were still quite good. If buying ahead and travelling, I would avoid most of the tarts (except chocolate) and think twice about fruity items. Raspberries and strawberries that look delicious on Day 1 usually don't look so appetising by Day 3. I would buy calissons d'amandes (almond/marzipan cookies) or sable bretons (butter cookies) instead. Also fresh macarons can be very delicate (that's why some places let them sit for a day before selling). I bought a box from Pierre Herme and got on the metro with it. When I opened it, some had partially crumbled and fused together. Maybe the trick really is to buy them on Sat., eat the fanciest ones while they are still fresh and let the others "dry" a bit before travelling! If anyone has been successful with getting macarons home, please share your intel asap! I have 2 more weeks left in Paris and I was planning to buy some to go too.

        1. re: Aleta
          chochotte Jul 1, 2008 02:20 PM

          Yes, I took some home on a train to a friend in les provinces and they were not pretty once I got them back. They still tasted good, but they were really broken up.

          1. re: chochotte
            Aleta Jul 3, 2008 01:37 PM

            I finally got to Gregory Renard (120 rue St. Dominique) today and it was fantastic! The macarons had tremendous flavour that captivated even my non-macaron-eating son. More importantly, it is a small shop with personable service and examples of boxes on the wall. They are ready, willing and able to send you packing with their lovely treasures safely stored in little plastic trays which prevent shifting and macaron-to-macaron contact. We carried the box all over Paris today and the contents still look good. And the sales person was also really nice. He made conversation in English with my son and then stayed behind during lunch hour when I accidentally left my credit card in the shop. Of course the main draws are the chocolates and caramels. I'm glad I don't live in the 7eme; I would be there every day. Thanks to Souphie for the recommendation.

            1. re: Aleta
              christy319 Jul 10, 2008 07:14 PM

              We rented an apartment in a building next to Gregory Renard a couple years ago and have been big fans since. Not only are his chocolates and macarons delicious, there are never any long lines of jostling tourists (like at Laduree) AND they are very reasonably priced, compared to the big names in Paris (Christian Constant, whose restaurants I love, wants 33E for his smallest box of chocolates--GR only wants 11E!)..

              1. re: christy319
                f2dat06 Jul 10, 2008 07:46 PM

                Christian Constant the chocolatier on Rue d'Assas and Christian Constant the restaurant operator on St Dominique are not the same person, just happen to have the same name.

                1. re: f2dat06
                  Aleta Jul 20, 2008 02:20 PM

                  We've been back from Paris for 1 week now and I wish to share my experience with transporting macarons. As I said above, Gregory Renard packs his macarons in very nice macaron-shaped shells (by the way, the "sales person" I encountered who was so personable and friendly turned out to be none other than Gregory Renard himself! I looked on a website and recognized him from the picture.) We got some caramel with fleur du sel from him and are saving those for a special occasion. Laduree macarons survived the long trip very well; they come in those beautiful, sturdy boxes. Pierre Herme's macarons did not fare so well in the regular paper boxes. They crumbled and got fused together. Fortunately, I had the foresight to request multiple boxes of the same flavor so I ended up with a macaron "tower" of the same flavor. I put my macaron treasures in the carry-on.

      2. b
        Bob Loblaw Jul 1, 2008 06:19 AM

        if counting with your fingers, remember that it starts with the thumb, not the index finger. in other words, if you want just one of something, make your fonzie-style, thumb up sign; if you want two, it's the thumb and the first finger, etc...

        it's not a strict rule, and if you're holding up your index and middle finger togetehr, they'll figure out you mean two; just don't follow that up with a 'thumbs-up' sign, which would simply mean 'one.'

        1. c
          chazzerking Jun 30, 2008 03:34 PM

          All above convey the right general idea, but your question was how to order. Of course, a Bonjour as you step up. But then, "Douze macarons, s'il vous plait." will get you what you want until they then ask 'de quel sort?" to which you will need to either point to the flavors you want or learn the french for the different flavors, which at Laduree or Gerard Mulot or most of the other top Patisseries, can be a lot to remember. Most of those establishments will not have any problem taking your order in English, but to be fair, at least enter with a bonjour and finish with a merci.

          1. v
            VJA Jun 30, 2008 11:37 AM

            I'm going to be there this weekend, and what I want to do is order an assortment, but since they probably know what is best, I would like it to be their choice. (This is what I usually do with food shops in foreign countries.) What is the best approach for this. Ideally, I would like about 60-80 euros worth of assorted macarons and pastries, comprised of a good sampling of their bast wares, to bring back. I've been casing out the best shops to go to (in the 6th or 7th), but don't know if this style of ordering will be welcome, or even how to ask.

            5 Replies
            1. re: VJA
              Aleta Jun 30, 2008 12:27 PM

              VJA, don't worry. Just smile, say "Bonjour madame" or "Bonjour monsieur" "un assortiment de (macarons/gateaux) s'il vous plait" The server will ask you how many. You can use a show of fingers, write your order on a piece of paper or simply point. They might even show you the different box sizes to help you out. You said you are planning to go to the best in the 6th and 7th. Perhaps you mean places like Pierre Herme, Gerard Mulot, Gregory Renard etc? I am in Paris this week and I have had macarons daily, sometimes even more than daily (I know, oink). The servers at the best places are very professional, charming and used to foreign customers. As long as you smile, wait in line and say hello, you will find (as I have) that they provide service at a standard even higher than in your hometown (mine is Toronto). Many of them (as well as their regular clientele) actually speak more English than you may speak French. Just remember to say "bonjour" when you enter the shop or start your interaction AND "merci" when you are finished. Hope this helps.

              1. re: Aleta
                VJA Jul 1, 2008 10:31 AM

                I just found out that the last free day I'll have before returning home on Tuesday morning is Sunday. Are all of these places open on Sunday? If I have to buy things on Saturday, will they keep until Tuesday night?

              2. re: VJA
                chochotte Jun 30, 2008 01:27 PM

                Well really I wouldn't worry too much about what to do. I mean... it's not like you're going to do anything really wrong! It's just a shop.
                But, I would advise you to go early, soon after they open, or else you'll have to queue and also you might find they've run out of something. The queues get reeaaally long!
                Just go and tell them exactly what you want! They will be happy to fulfil your request if you give them a price for the macarons and ask for a selection of their best-selling pastries, for example.
                And also tell them how long after purchasing the products will be eaten. Macarons is within 2 days, really, I think, but there may be other products which are same-day-only - lots of viennoiseries fall into this catagory. This way you can make sure you don't get anything that will be stale by the time it's eaten...

                1. re: chochotte
                  vielleanglaise Jun 30, 2008 02:15 PM

                  On entering, say "bonjour". Then, "Au revoir" upon leaving. Add "madame" or "monsieur" at the end, and they'll be really polite, or in a nasty case, less rude, to you. "S'il vous plait" (please) and "merci" (thank you) are good to do too, but as mentioned above, in French manners, when dealing with strangers the greetings and farewells are more important than please and thank you..

                  In between leaving and entering you say 'des macarons'. Phonetically, it goes "day Mack-a(like "a" in bachelor)-ron . You don't pronounce the "s" at the end. If you only want one , you say "un mack-a-ron".

                  Good luck!

                  1. re: vielleanglaise
                    chochotte Jun 30, 2008 03:20 PM

                    Indeed indeed but you know, much as you can tell someone what to say in a language they don't speak, I can't help but feel that this is a bit like the phrase section of a guidebook: it's all very well preparing your phrase, but seeing as you'll have no idea what they say back to you, there's not that much point (beyond the hello, thank you, goodbye kind of stuff, of course). If you have a slightly complicated order just ensure you get served by someone with good English (most people in there, probably) so it all runs smoothly!

              3. c
                carlux Jun 20, 2008 07:11 AM

                I'm afraid you might be better sticking to your English - sorry to correct ChefJune, but the correct way to ask for macaroons is 'Je voudrais douze macarons, s'il vous plait.'' (or 'je voudrais une douzaine de macarons, s'il vous plait'

                And on entering, you would say 'Bonjour Madame' -assuming it is a woman serving you. When leaving, it is also polite to say 'Au revoir.' It is certainly something that even we North Americans living here need to remember.

                Not necessary to ask her how she is doing, but it would be 'Comment ca va,' or 'ca va' I would not do this with someone I didn't know.

                4 Replies
                1. re: carlux
                  souphie Jun 21, 2008 11:09 AM

                  Actually you would ask how they are going when you consider that you know them -- so not the first time, but can be the second if you feel that you connected the first time.

                  1. re: carlux
                    Hoc Jun 21, 2008 05:56 PM

                    "sorry to correct ChefJune, but the correct way to ask for macaroons is 'Je voudrais douze macarons, s'il vous plait.'' (or 'je voudrais une douzaine de macarons, s'il vous plait'"

                    Now that's how I thought it would have been said, but I figured I was wrong, since my only training in French was a once a week course in conversational French for a semester in Intermediate School. I have been told that my accent is very good, though. ;-)

                    1. re: Hoc
                      chochotte Jun 22, 2008 06:41 AM

                      Indeed. The verb 'voulour' does not take a preposition, and numbers do not usually take articles.
                      Oh, the joy of French grammar.

                    2. re: carlux
                      ChefJune Jun 21, 2008 08:51 PM

                      Thank you for telling me how to converse with the French, but I have been doing very well for the past 20 years, thank you very much.

                      did you get your macarons, by the way>?

                    3. ChefJune Jun 20, 2008 06:38 AM

                      Je voudrais a acheter des douze macarons.

                      but as chocotte said, if you go in and say "Bonjour, comme ca va?" they will immediately break out their English.

                      As Americans, we are not accustomed to entering a shop or restaurant and saying Good Day, but in Europe that is VERY important. That small nicety can make all the difference in how you are treated everywhere you go.

                      By the way, will you bring me a dozen of the salt caramel? (lol)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ChefJune
                        chochotte Jun 20, 2008 08:48 AM

                        Heehee I can't imagine going and saying Bonjour, comment ça va? to one of the people in Ladurée.
                        I think I'd get a rather funny look.
                        A Bonjour, Madame/Monsieur will be good, as will an Au revoir, bonne journée at the end, but honestly, English will be fine. Most of the people in there are American and Japanese tourists so English is probably spoken to customers more than French!

                      2. c
                        chochotte Jun 20, 2008 04:16 AM

                        Everyone in Ladurée will be happy to take your order in English. Seriously. I speak fluent French but with an accent and I find it hard to get people to speak French to me in Paris sometimes.

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