croissants in paris
can anyone tell me where to get the best croissant in paris? I'm going there in July and, quite frankly, I've been disappointed at the croissants in the past. But maybe I just didn't know where to look.
I like those from Julhes on the rue du Faubourg St Denis, but that's because that's where I live, and I'm afraid you're going to get as many answers as there'll be posters on this one.
Now, if you were going to ask about the respective merits of croissants au beurre and croissants nature, then you'd get a real debate.
I'm sure we already had that discussion in the past. I remember explaining that the beauty of Paris is that all (artisanal) bakeries are different and so are their croissants, so that there dozens of croissants qualifying as "as good as it gets", but very different from one another --some flaky, some creamy, some nutty, etc.
Adam from A Life Worth Eating has a nice report on five croissants in Paris. Look it up.
Otherwise, my map of bakeries is as good a place to start as any (on the left hand side at www.julotlespinceaux.com). My favs include le Moulin de la Vierge, Fleur d'Oranger, Ladurée, Des Gateaux et du Pain, Pichard, Bosson. But then again, I don't eat bread products anymore, so I guess I should just stop writing.
I read Adam's report as suggested and it is delightful. On my most recent visit to Paris, I can't say I had the best croissant in Paris since my research hasn't been extensive like Adam's. All I can say is that I found the best croissant I've ever tasted in my life. It was a butter croissant from Au Petit Versailles du Marais, Rue Tiron, in the 4th very close to the St. Paul Metro. Honestly, just thinking about it almost brings me to tears. As an added bonus, this place looks like it's been there forever, with beautiful vintage exterior and interior decorations. I hope this is useful to someone on an upcoming visit!
Adam focused on croissants aux amandes which, as he discusses, can be just leftover croissants stuffed and rebaked with frangipane or other almond fillings and toppings. For me, the real test of a bakery is the plain croissant au beurre.
At OneMoreBites' suggestion, I just went over to the Petit Versailles du Marais. I just arrived in Paris a few hours ago and was doing my immediate food shopping in that area. (My family's apartment is nearby.)
The croissant at PVdM was very good, but not perfect. It was beautifully flakey but a bit too moist inside, and the bottom was too greasy. The latter problem could be too much butter (yes, that's possible even with croissants!). More likely it was because they were proofed at too high a temperature. This causes some of the butter to melt from the flour and go to the bottom of the croissant, where it stays during baking.
The PVdM was certainly good enough to be worth a return visit. The baker could have had a bad day or a substitute. The local bakery that used to be my favorite is the Levain du Marais. Unfortunately, the ownership changed a few years ago. Two new owners, one at each branch. While still ok for a neighborhood bakery, neither the bread nor the croissants are as good as they were. Adam did not like their almond croissant at a all.
As Souphie said, there are different tastes in croissants. The place I send people to for what I consider a consistently great, plain croissant is Pierre Hermé on rue Bonaparte, near St. Sulpice. He used to do a fine almond croissant, too. Now (or at least last April) he was substituting a berry version that I found intolerably oversweet.