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Paris--best pastries to try

lsinicki Oct 27, 2009 01:45 PM

My husband, daughter and I will be in Paris the week of Thanksgiving. I have found lots of lists of great bakeries and pastry shops--which we will check out. Once we get there, what specific pastries should we sample? Last time we were in Paris we ate many croissants, varieties of croissants, and every flavor of macaron we could find. We also tried several local ice creams. What else (especially that might be uncommon in the US outside of large cities) should we add to our mix?

Many thanks.

  1. j
    jarona Mar 12, 2010 09:47 AM

    Check out Dalloyeau. Great pastries. Great chocolates. GREAT macaron. Great everything.

    10 Replies
    1. re: jarona
      ChefJune Mar 12, 2010 10:14 AM

      better chocolates than Jacques Genin? How could that be???

      1. re: ChefJune
        dietndesire Mar 12, 2010 10:28 AM

        It isn't.
        And I have not been to Dalloyeau but I do not need to.
        Though I am not saying it is not good or better than that.

        1. re: dietndesire
          jarona Mar 15, 2010 09:42 AM

          I'm not comparing Dalloyeau to anyone else in particular. It just happens to be my "go to" pastry shop whenever I'm in Paris. For chocolates, I'll hit Fouchon but for pastry it is Dalloyeau. But the absolute greatest thing about Paris is there is a favorite pastry place, a favorite chocolatier, a favorite fromagerie...well, just a favorite for each individual's taste!

        2. re: ChefJune
          souphie Mar 14, 2010 06:49 AM

          They're actually as different as can be. In a way, Dalloyau's chocolate macarons are better than Génin: because they're sweeter, more addictive. Génin's chocolates are like some classic painting, appreciated and admired in one bite, leaving a lasting impression. Dalloyau's chocolate macaron is like chocolate jam with a crust.

          1. re: souphie
            dietndesire Mar 14, 2010 08:03 AM

            In spite of the fact that it is heresy on this board, I am not a huge macaron fan.
            I know, if I had even an iota of credibility, it is all gone and more.
            Will have to have one of Genin's it seems, lest you have me banned.

            1. re: dietndesire
              RandyB Mar 14, 2010 11:47 AM

              dietndesire, you are not alone regarding macarons.Nonetheless, any reason to visit Genin is a good reason.

              1. re: RandyB
                dietndesire Mar 15, 2010 09:04 AM

                Sentence 1, thanks for the support.
                Sentence 2, probably should be put under definition of "truth" in the dictionary.

                1. re: dietndesire
                  souphie Mar 16, 2010 02:06 AM

                  That said, Génin may share your distaste of macarons. In any case, he does not have any.

                  1. re: souphie
                    dietndesire Mar 16, 2010 08:36 AM

                    Indeed. I never noticed any but it is hardly as if I am there every week. Much to my dismay.
                    And I, obviously, misread your post to mean that there were Genin macarons.

                    1. re: souphie
                      RandyB Mar 16, 2010 03:57 PM

                      I guess I never noticed the absence of macarons at Genin since I would never look for them in the first place.

                      Meanwhile, I also was not a fan of caramels until I visited Genin at his old atelier a number of years ago. His mango-passionfruit caramel converted me, and I always get them at the new boutique.

        3. souphie Nov 5, 2009 04:51 AM

          Try the Escargots at La Boulangerie de Monge, the pain perdu at Des Gateaux et du Pain, the salt/chocolate macaron at Grégory Renard.

          9 Replies
          1. re: souphie
            Nancy S. Nov 5, 2009 05:43 AM

            Also the feuillette au framboise and the chausson au pomme at Des Gateaux et du Pain. Des Gateaux et du Pain also had a pear/caramel tarte that I never had a chance to taste, but it looked beautiful. (Last summer they had a similar one with white peach and verbena that was stellar.)

            1. re: Nancy S.
              lsinicki Nov 9, 2009 04:28 PM

              Do any of the bakeries sell tartes by the slice, or do we need to go to a tea room for that?

              1. re: lsinicki
                PhilD Nov 9, 2009 08:19 PM

                I would say nearly all of them do.

                1. re: PhilD
                  DaisyM Nov 10, 2009 04:37 AM

                  I suggest the peach tart at Gerard Mulot. As soon as we go back to Paris this spring it will be the first thing I eat!

                  1. re: DaisyM
                    Dodo Nov 10, 2009 05:07 AM

                    Mulot, IMO, is good for any fruit tarts. After that, it's purely personal preference. For me, it's raspberry - anytime.

                    1. re: Dodo
                      DaisyM Nov 10, 2009 09:54 AM

                      Okay, I guess I'll just have to force myself to have a raspberry tart, too!

                      1. re: DaisyM
                        Dodo Mar 12, 2010 05:18 AM

                        Anybody been to this rececently opened high end patisserie:

                        Hugo & Victor, 40, Boulevard Raspail, 6th arr.?

                        Article from La Tribune (February 25, 2010):

                        1. re: Dodo
                          olivierb Mar 18, 2010 02:44 AM

                          I've been yesterday (after two weeks eating nothing more solid than puree, what a relief!). It's a very luxurious shop, could as well have been Van Cleef & Arpels. I'd say it's a bit over the top, but hey it's bd Raspail after all.

                          Pastries are broken down by flavor (litchi, blood orange, praline, combawa, vanilla, chocolate, caramel). For each flavor, there's two different pastries, one classical, and a more creative one, and little chocolate balls.
                          I've tasted four pastries: vanilla eclair, chocolate (the creative one), and both caramel ones (a millefeuille and a chocolate sphere/caramel cream cake)
                          It's good overall. The creative ones didn't appeal to me that much.
                          The eclair was really fine, the cream really tasting of vanilla, and the pastry was very present, salty. It's too small, though.
                          The caramel mille-feuille was good too, with yummy caramel, flaky puff pastry. I'd buy it again.

                          I will come back to taste other things, but I have no urge, and I believe I won't miss the shop when I move (that's me trying to reassure myself).

                          A few photos here (not great and would need color tweaking):

                          1. re: olivierb
                            Dodo Mar 18, 2010 05:16 AM

                            Thanks, olivierb. Sonds like a like worth to be checked out.

                            Well, I've noticed that lots of high end patisseries and chocolatd shops look like luxurious jewelry shops these days. I first noticed that with Pierre Marcolini chocolatier, when he opened on Rue de Seine.

          2. c
            chickenluv Nov 4, 2009 06:08 PM

            Pierre Herme is considered by many to be the best patissier in Paris. He has a shop in the 6th and in the 15th. His Ispahan pastry is a modern classic (a marriage of rose, lichis, raspberries) and is an absolute must. Pierre Herme used to be the pat. chef at Laduree. You will see a version of Ispahan in Laduree (if you go there). Laduree's version IMHO is far inferior to the masterpiece he sells in his shops. My other favorite at PH's is Deux Mille Feuilles; a praline flavored napoleon. His croissants are beautiful and delicious. His macarons are famous, you should be there in time to taste the white truffle macarons. I also like the rose, caramel and vanilla versions. PH's macaron's are dense and intense.

            The light macaron philosophy is beautifully represented by Laduree. In this case, you can easily eat half a dozen of these light tasty treats. I am partial to the reglisse flavor. Laduree's Sunday brunch at the 6th arrondissement location is delicious and affordable. One order is good for two and includes a large assortment of treats including viennoiserie, pastries, macarons, fruit salad and much, much more.

            For croissants I have always been a big fan of Kaiser. He has several shops in different locales.

            Are you interested in chocolates? Pierre Herme makes some very interesting and delicious newfangled ones. Michel Cluizel on the right bank makes my favorite traditional pralines and ganaches and has the most intense dark chocolate tablettes around (go for the Venezuelan Conception bar). Debauve and Gallais is a venerable chocolate house worthy of visiting. While I am not a fan, Maison du Chocolat has its followers.


            19 Replies
            1. re: chickenluv
              PhilD Nov 4, 2009 08:26 PM

              So good to see a reasoned compare and contrast of macarons rather than the simple X is better than Y. It is interesting to understand the difference in styles. I like both but can see how different styles appeal to different people.

              1. re: chickenluv
                lsinicki Nov 9, 2009 04:25 PM

                Sounds like we need to hit PH several times. Will definitely try the Deux Mille Feuilles.

                And of course we like chocolate.

                Many thanks.

                1. re: chickenluv
                  RandyB Nov 11, 2009 08:30 AM

                  Pierre Hermé also has a croissant he calls Ispahan for similar flavoring to the pastry of the same name. It`s filled with raspberry jam and, to me, was way too sweet and heavy. Not a nice thing to do to his otherwise superb croissants.

                  1. re: RandyB
                    lsinicki Nov 11, 2009 10:49 AM

                    Hmmm... I don't know whether to try it or avoid it.

                    1. re: lsinicki
                      alyssabrooke Nov 11, 2009 02:25 PM

                      TRY IT!!! We loved the Ispahan croissants so much that we toted four (!!) onto the plane to bring home to our family. I have been day dreaming about them ever since my return to NY.

                      1. re: alyssabrooke
                        lsinicki Nov 12, 2009 11:33 AM

                        It's near the top of my extremely long list. Thank you.

                    2. re: RandyB
                      parislovernyc Nov 16, 2009 09:49 AM

                      I am a huge Pierre Herme fan, but I agree completely with RandyB. The Isfahan croissant is awful. The tragedy, so to speak, is that it has replaced the almond croissant at PH, which was IMHO the best almond croissant I ever tasted

                      1. re: parislovernyc
                        lsinicki Nov 17, 2009 06:33 AM

                        That's sad. I love almond croissants. Where is what you would consider your next favorite?

                        1. re: lsinicki
                          souphie Nov 17, 2009 09:25 AM

                          I wasn't asked, but I'd say Seurre, rue des Martyrs.

                          1. re: souphie
                            Parigi Nov 18, 2009 12:50 AM

                            Seurre is a hugely underrated pâtisserie, probably because the interior looks like crap, but don't be fooled !

                            1. re: Parigi
                              parislovernyc Nov 18, 2009 09:47 AM

                              Thanks to Souphie and Parigi for the ringing endorsement of Seurre. I don't know it, but intend to know it well.

                              1. re: Parigi
                                Laidback Mar 13, 2010 07:30 AM

                                Maybe after 100 yrs. the patisserie Seurre is finally gaining more recognition; Gérard just won the National Order of Merit last week.

                            2. re: lsinicki
                              PBSF Nov 17, 2009 09:42 AM

                              For almond croissants that are split, filled with almond paste and baked the second time, try the one from Au Levain de Marais.

                              1. re: PBSF
                                RandyB Nov 17, 2009 09:45 AM

                                Are you talking about the one on rue de Turenne in the Marais? The original one on blvd. Beaumarchais no longer has that name, and the original owner/baker is apparently gone from both.

                                1. re: RandyB
                                  PBSF Nov 17, 2009 10:21 AM

                                  Yes, on rue de Turenne. It was a favorite when our apartment was in the Marais.

                              2. re: lsinicki
                                parislovernyc Nov 17, 2009 03:20 PM

                                I don't have a next favorite, as nothing ever came close for me, but now I will, alas, have to start a new search and I'm grateful for the suggestions given here. I drowned my sorror over the (I hope, temporary) loss of Pierre Herme's classic almond croissant by focusing on his totally superb kugelhof instead. I know it may be too sweet for some chowhounds, but I think it's the best. By the way, I would also recommend the pain cereal at Secco in the 7th. It's not pastry but it's really good.

                                1. re: parislovernyc
                                  eatrustic Nov 17, 2009 06:29 PM

                                  Funny you should mention Kugelhoff because I was absolutely addicted to the min Kugelhoff's from Laduree.
                                  The classic Kug is a nice, fairly light and yeasty sweet bread but Laduree's version is denser with a light rum syrup and are coated with granular sugar. Completely different from the usual (and some might say not a real Kug. at all) but I absolutely loved them and even better they travel really well.
                                  I got a box of them to bring home to Vancouver and they were just fine two days later.

                                  1. re: eatrustic
                                    souphie Nov 17, 2009 11:06 PM

                                    You should try the one from La Fleur d'Oranger, rue Lebon, on saturdays. Actually, you can probably try two or three for the price of Hermé's or Ladurée's.

                                    1. re: souphie
                                      parislovernyc Nov 18, 2009 09:45 AM

                                      Thanks for the recommendation, Souphie. We'll be back in Paris in March and will make a beeline to rue Lebon the first Saturday.

                        2. l
                          lsinicki Nov 4, 2009 02:49 PM

                          Thank you everyone. I'm adding all of your suggestions to my map.

                          1. Delucacheesemonger Oct 28, 2009 12:26 AM

                            Kouigh Aman are my favs as well. Right now consuming one from my wonderful supplier. Au Grenier du Pain, but only the one on Rue Abbesses. Been trying these pastries all over France, especially Bretagné where they are based, and IMHO this bakery has it right.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                              Parigi Oct 28, 2009 05:24 AM

                              I often go up to Abbesses, to the poissonnerie on Lepic-Abbesses. Now I must check out Au Grenier du Pain...
                              There is also the very popular yet no-frill "Les Petits Mitrons" on 26 Rue Lepic, a pie specialist. The outside crowd equals that at the Amélie café across the street.
                              Another good place in the general neighborhood of Aurore-Capucine is Pâtisserie Seurre. Seurre is not a baker but a real chef pâtissier, of several generations at that.
                              Delmontel on rue des Martyrs makes an excellent old-fashioned lemon pie (tarte au citron à l'ancienne), using crushed lemon peel, but one has to "book" a pie as the bakery makes very few on spec.

                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                John Talbott Oct 28, 2009 02:20 PM

                                Interesting; our local supplier of Kouigh Aman, who's become a legend, at least in our diminutive batiment, is Arnaud Larher: 53 rue Caulaincourt in the unfashionable18th.

                                John Talbott

                                1. re: John Talbott
                                  Delucacheesemonger Oct 28, 2009 03:32 PM

                                  Thanks, will try.

                                  1. re: John Talbott
                                    Parigi Nov 27, 2009 06:32 AM

                                    Quick, all you kouign aman fans in Paris:
                                    The charcuterie Aux Papilles gourmands on rue des Martyrs just got a one-time-deal delivery of a very limited supply from Frédéric Jegou, this year's trophée d'or for best KA of Brittany. The store has 4 left. I got the 5th one.

                                    1. re: Parigi
                                      souphie Nov 27, 2009 08:47 AM

                                      that(s a really nice store/

                                      1. re: souphie
                                        Parigi Nov 27, 2009 09:16 AM

                                        I also broke down and bought a hard drug that Daniel Rose got me into: beurre bordier aux algues.

                                        1. re: Parigi
                                          Delucacheesemonger Mar 12, 2010 06:54 PM

                                          The French version of crack

                                2. n
                                  NoraC Oct 27, 2009 04:52 PM

                                  At Pierre Hermé, be sure to try the pastry called "Carrément Chocolat." It is incredible.
                                  They also have a fabulous "tartelette au café," something I haven't come across anywhere else.


                                  1. mangeur Oct 27, 2009 03:20 PM

                                    Another off the wall place is Aurore-Capucine Patisserie on lower rue Rochechouart in the 9th. This tiny whimsical place makes you shake your head in wonder: savory (rosemary, thyme) and floral (rose, violet) sable cookies, fantasy cakes and pastries. The proprietess is someone out of a fairytale.


                                    1. mangeur Oct 27, 2009 03:14 PM

                                      Whenever we are in town for a few days, and they are the right days, I try to get to Vandermeersch just inside the periphique in the 12th. ON SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS ONLY they make an incredible array of kuglehofp, airy brioche-like tube cakes with almonds, fruit or not. Go early. They usually sell out before noon.

                                      A small one will serve two for breakfast for two days (if you are both restrained). We call for room service coffee and have a feast.

                                      The first time I brought one back to the hotel, my husband looked at it and said that it wasn't the kind of thing he liked. He tried a small piece and from then on I had to beat him away from it with a club.

                                      278, Avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris, France
                                      01 43 47 21 66

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: mangeur
                                        tmso Oct 28, 2009 02:38 AM

                                        Although I'll gladly second the general recomendation of Gugelhopf (my tastes in pastry go more towards the germanophone Alps), it's a very non-French style of pastry and not something widely adopted either. It never would have occured to me to ask, but if anyone has a recommendation for Dampfknödeln...

                                        Isinicki: since we're talking non-French pastries as well, do you have access to arab pastries where you are?

                                        1. re: tmso
                                          Delucacheesemonger Oct 28, 2009 03:11 AM

                                          Ran into 4 shops in Toulouse a bit back, but that l am sure is no help.

                                          1. re: tmso
                                            lsinicki Nov 4, 2009 02:43 PM

                                            I live in Portland, Maine-- and I'm not aware of any arab pastries. But we do have a fairly diverse population, so there may be pastry in one of the tiny ethnic mini-markets we have. What do you suggest I look for?

                                            1. re: lsinicki
                                              tmso Nov 5, 2009 06:16 AM

                                              In that case, I would suggest you look for them in Paris. We have a lovely Algerian pastry shop, La bague de Kenza. The main store is on the rue St-Maur, but there are a few other locations around the city. Things to try would include cornes de gazelle, cigares, skandriates, maqrout-el-louz, droits de Kenza, and galb-elouz.

                                              For Tunisian pastries, there's a boutique Masmoudi on the bd St-Germain. Baklawas, melfoufs, mlabes, tajins and dawamas would be good things to try.

                                              1. re: tmso
                                                lsinicki Nov 9, 2009 04:22 PM

                                                Thank you. We may have to skip meals to leave more room for pastry.

                                        2. b
                                          Barbarainnc Oct 27, 2009 02:07 PM

                                          I was there back in 83 and 85. I loved the croissants with the chocolate in them. I was reading today about Kouign Aman, pastry with layers of buttery sugar dough. Do a search and see how they look, they either are baked in one big pastry or individual ones. I didn't know about them back then or I'd have looked for them. I've printed off many recipes for them and one day i'll make one!!!! :) :) :)

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Barbarainnc
                                            Parigi Oct 27, 2009 02:20 PM

                                            Try the pâtisserie Aurore Capucine (3 rue de Rochechouart), esp the pastries using lavender.and other flowers

                                            1. re: Parigi
                                              mangeur Oct 27, 2009 05:41 PM

                                              Parigi, I'm sorry to repeat your endorsement. With our mutual rec of this insolite address, we need to meet sometime. What an adventure!

                                              1. re: mangeur
                                                Parigi Oct 28, 2009 01:46 AM

                                                (Transcendentally off topic):
                                                Geniuses think alike.

                                            2. re: Barbarainnc
                                              lsinicki Oct 27, 2009 03:23 PM

                                              Thank you. I looked it up, and it looks and sounds like the ideal thing to alternate with croissants for breakfast.

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