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Mar 22, 2011 04:26 PM

Bakeries, Patisseries, etc open bright and early.

As an early riser with an aggressive eating and sight seeing agenda all of my breakfasts on the upcoming trip to Paris will be between 7-8am - we don't want anything heavy as lunches/dinners will take care of that - what we want are places serving great croissants, baguettes, brioche, canelle, brest, kugelhopf, eclairs, brioche, and the like that are open early so we can get to the museums by the time they open.

We're staying in the 19th with a metro stop less than 0.25km away but as avid runners walking will be welcomed.

Any recommendations are appreciated.

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  1. Most open early and will be open in time, but very few have places to sit and eat as they are shops that sell bread and cakes. If you are simply picking up stuff then fine, but if you want to sit and have a coffee and eat then it may be better to pop into a Cafe/Bar for a coffee, maybe not gourmet food but it is what a lot of Parisians do.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PhilD

      We'll be grabbing and going. I rather figured what you said was true, however - its just that aside from the Ladurees and Hermes of the world most of those places don't list hours on the website.


    2. Not sure how far you're prepared to run, but I would consider running to this place: Gerard Mulot in the 6th on Rue de Seine - open every morning at 6:45 a.m, except Wednesdays (closed all day). Best croissants and pain au chocolat I have ever eaten. Closest metro, odeon. We went every day, sometimes, twice, on our recent trip. No coffee - just patisserie.

      4 Replies
      1. re: sochow

        On the list! Thanks.

        Running will be before going out for the day - I meant it more in terms of the fact that walking for quality goods is not a problem at all.

        1. re: uhockey

          I'm quite fond of the croissants at Des Gateaux et du Pain in the 15th, but the shop doesn't open until 8 (but at 8, everything will be exquisitely warm). Nearer to you, though, I'm a fan of Le Grenier de Pain in the 18th. To my tastes, the baguette deservedly won first prize. Also, I would encourage you to review the "best bakery" list on, which is quite comprehensive.

          1. re: Nancy S.

            I meant to add that I believe Le Grenier a Pain opens at 7:30. By the way, at what time are you making your dinner reservations?

            1. re: Nancy S.

              Most dinner reservations are going to be 8-9ish. Gagnaire is 7:30 - the earliest of the ones made so far,


      2. uhockey, dude, you have picked good eateries, which shows you are an homme de goût. May I allow myself to offer a suggestion you had not asked for.
        Try not to do too much. A holiday in Paris should not be an endurance test. In order to enjoy your croissants and your museums and the whole Paris experience, you must take time.
        Going from the 19th - way north of Paris - down to the 15th for a recommended croissant then rushing back to the center to skate (how else can you do it?) through museums is missing the essence of Paris.
        If both breakfast and museums are important to you, have you considered the weekly "nocturne" late hours at the major museums? Whenver I go to the Louvre, I always go on a nocture. It is practically deserted.
        Then in the morning take your time, sit down at a café near chez toi and enjoy - I repeat enjoy - your café and your croissants. If you must swallow your café and croissants and rush through museums, ce n'est pas la peine.
        If you can't see and do everything, don't see and do everything. Save some experience for your next trip. You'll always have Paris and Paris will always have you. :-)

        27 Replies
        1. re: Parigi


          I wish I could somehow program this into the psyche of so many people.

          (by the way, you can't see and do slow down and enjoy it.)

          1. re: Parigi

            Parigi--the wise voice of reason--you really need to write a book--do you have a blog?
            Your sage advise is always in the back of my mind whenever I am in Paris and other parts of France. You rock!

            1. re: Parigi

              Thank you for the tip - I know we'll be hectic and busy and I appreciate this approach. :-)

              We bought the Paris pass - as such we'll be doing museums morning and night - I already looked into the extended hours and everything. Sitting down to enjoy breakfast is fine - we'll then head to the museum, leave for lunch, then go back since we have unlimited enter/exit privilages.

              I always plan overly aggressive and always end up cancelling some meals or side-trips - IMO it is better to be overprepared and scale back.

              Thanks though, really, I appreciate it.


              1. re: uhockey

                Glad you are so gracious about my tangential recs...
                And in the 19th, don't miss all the good and hip eateries and cafés and wine bars on rue rébeval. As a rule, a place can be hip or it can be good (have good food). Rarely both. The rue Rébeval area is a nice exception.

                1. re: uhockey

                  YES, get into the rhythm of daily life of true Parisian life like Parigi. Paris is not one big museum; the little leisurely daily things are also very special; afternoon tea at the Mosque, eating a sandwich Grecque on the benches of Pont des Art, coffee on a sidewalk cafe at the Marais, window shopping on the Saturday afternoon around St. Sulpice; wander up to the Butte Chaumont. The neighborhoods are truly special. Indoor is not always where it is at. The streets are the show.
                  Good croissants are everywhere in Paris. If you must be an early riser and go getter, most boulangeries will open by 8am. But as Phil D stated, they don't have seats or serve coffee. More for take home to their apartment/office or eat on the go. One might cramp into the 3 seat counter at Mulot. The salons de the such as Laduree are for the leisure morning person, 9am or after. Fancy patisseries such as P. Herme even later. A compromise are sit down branches of Paul or Le Pain Quotidien (the one on Marche St. Honore is nice), decent croissants, etc.

                  1. re: PBSF

                    See, now this is one of those suggestions I don't like - don't get me wrong, I understand where you are coming from, but it is hard to gauge what someone else enjoys. My sister is a masters level art student and both of us have traveled to Paris before on school trips (admittedly long before I'd developed my palate.) We honestly don't desire to live like a local while we are there - we live like locals here in Ohio. Sure we want to mingle with the local populace and see the lifestyle - but not sitting on a bench, or "leisurely" things - I'm just not the sort (here, there, or anywhere) to sit at a cafe and watch the world pass.

                    Again, I understand why people make these recommendations, but I tend to look at vacations as a greatest hits album rather than a complete composition.

                    We have nine days there - I assure you there will be "down time" - but I don't plan for "down time" - it is the time that happens between the things we enjoy.


                    1. re: uhockey

                      Of course, people travel differently. It is just one person's perspective. That is what these forums are for. Most shops, museums, business, etc, in Paris, like most cities, cater to how locals live. Their business hours are set for that, therefore, if one wants to sit at Laduree or buy croissant at P Herme at 7am, it is not going to happen. For that early hour as suggested hit the boulangeries or compromise on the quality and sit at Paul or have coffee and croissant at a standup bar.

                      1. re: PBSF

                        Completely understood - though I don't need to sit - I'm okay grabbing things and wandering to our destination, or grabbing things and finding a park until our destination opens.

                        Really, I thank you for the honesty and the responses - the purpose of this thread was determining whether there were specific spots worth going out of the way for that early in the morning. :-)


                        1. re: uhockey

                          Another place, perhaps near you in the 19th, is Véronique Mauclerc. The breads there are spectacular, specifically the sour dough types. We took a tour of the bakery in September. The baker is quite charming. The bakery does sell croissants and some other breakfast items, but they are not baked in house. Also in the 19th is La Boulang’Eury. I've not been there, but the baker did win 3rd prize for best baguette in 2009. I believe both open at 8. Also, note the closing days of the places you plan to visit, as this varies among them.

                          1. re: uhockey

                            No offense taken; we have thick skin on this board. I am one of those that can't travel far for croissant in the mornings, always just stumble down to the best in my neighborhood, Le Moulin de la Vierge in the 14e. Really decadent croissant d’amande, the twice-baked kind. An earlier poster, Nancy S. recommended Des Gateaux et du Pain which is really good but even the 10 minute morning walk to the 15e is too much for me. One can find good croissants and other breakfast pastries all over Paris. Make sure to buy croissant au beurre as there are places that still sell croissant ordinaire which uses margarines. In the center of the city and opened by 7 or 7:30, try the following:
                            In the 1e are Julien and Gosselin (also branch in the 7e near the Musee D’Orsay)
                            2e are Au Panetier and Stohrer one of the most beautiful old patisserie in Paris; also good kugelhopf
                            Malineau in 4e
                            Kayser and Boulangerie de Monge in the 5e
                            Gerard Mulot 6e
                            Pain d’Epis and Millet in the 7e
                            Millet 7e
                            Delmontel, 9e
                            All of the above bakes very good breakfast pastries. If you googled them, you will probably find their exact hours. Even if a boulangerie opens at 7, it will only have a few items available at that early hour. If you can be more precise on some of your sightseeings and what metro stop you are at in the 19e, I am sure you will get many more good recommendations that are near them.

                              1. re: PBSF

                                For what it's worth (to uhockey), we've had breakfast at one of the 15-or-so Eric Kayser boulangeries. They served coffee to go & to stay, with a few tables at which to sit. I never paid attention to the others we've passed, but maybe it's the rule rather than the exception....?

                                1. re: boredough

                                  They were on the list - interesting that a "chain" maintains such high quality from most of the reports I've read.


                                  1. re: uhockey

                                    You should note, though, that not all Kayser's have the same quality. In fact, I would say that I have notice a significant decline in quality (and finesse) in the past 10 or so years. For me, it's an ok place if convenience trumps.

                                    1. re: Nancy S.

                                      I definitely agree about the standard not being the same in all of Kayser outlets. Most of the breads (especially his baquettes and campagne) and savory tarts are better at his r Monge flagship. And I have never gotten a decent financier at the Gallerie Lafayette Gourmet. But overall, the standards are pretty good. Same goes with the Paul chain, whose croissants and pastry can't compare to the best of Paris but would be better than most of the bakeries in San Francisco; and they are truly welcome in airports.
                                      Like Paul, many of Kayser's outlet do open very early.

                                      1. re: PBSF

                                        I would agree that Paul is better than what's generally available here (in NYC), but in Paris, I prefer to travel for the best (or, at least, better).

                                        1. re: PBSF

                                          The Kayser in 1er, Rue Danielle Casanova has a bright and cheerful cafe but the quality of the croissants was very poor (made me wonder if they were leftovers from a day ago!) Prior to that, had only been going to the branch in st germain which is miles better. Was quite horrified at the difference in quality.

                                  2. re: PBSF

                                    Great, you mentioned Moulin a la Vierge in the 14th, on Rue Vercingetorix, the home of my favorite tarte tatin in the city. Tough to diet in this place. How does Parigi manage to stay so slim and lovely.

                              2. re: uhockey

                                "I tend to look at vacations as a greatest hits album rather than a complete composition"

                                It is more like randomly spotlighting a materpiece painting and carefully averting one's eye from all other details. Le Déjeuner without herbe. Moulin de la Galette without, actually without Moulin de la Galette. The Miss-More-Than-Hit album.

                                1. re: Parigi

                                  We shall agree to disagree on this topic, I cannot fathom traveling to Paris and sitting in a cafe "like a local" for 2 hours. It simply seems like 2 hours during which I could be seeing more of the Louvre.


                                  1. re: uhockey

                                    My husband would prefer to linger at cafes while I prefer to endlessly walk among the neighborhoods, though we both enjoy galleries and museums. We compromise by having a lingering aperitif before dinner (from a bit after 7 to a bit before 9). Also, I would disagree about the general state of croissants in Paris. I don't think you can find an excellent product everywhere. Just like the baguettes, a truly great specimen is somewhat scarce (in the same way that a truly great cupcake or slice of pie in New York is unusual).

                                    1. re: Nancy S.

                                      "I prefer to endlessly walk among the neighborhoods, though we both enjoy galleries and museums"

                                      This defines my sister and I - hence the mileage I put on my feet each visit to NYC.

                                      I really look forward to seeing the Paris shops, neighborhoods, etc between meals and museums.


                            1. re: uhockey

                              Another tip, I learned from Suphie on my last visit is that you can purchase your breakfast pastry at one place and take it into most cafes to enjoy with your coffee there. He can advise if there are any cafes that don't allow this.

                              and if you are in the area, Boulangerie Monge has some great breakfast pastries. Neither croissant nor brioche, just delicious. ;)

                              1. re: ChefJune

                                I thought the Paris Brest at Seurre on the rue des Martyrs was excellent and I'm sure other pastries there are too. A canelé or kugelhopf from Pierre Hermé would be a useful snack to pick up and carry in one's jacket pocket. Definitely try out the Louvre on a Wednesday or Friday night, even if it's only just after usual closing times. Simply a much more pleasant time to go.

                                  1. re: Parigi

                                    Sad to hear it. We only went once but it was old-fashioned and, in that sense, unusual.

                          2. I'll climb on my hobby horse and suggest the hotel breakfast. One of the luxuries we enjoy in Paris is rolling over and calling downstairs for room service breakfast. Good croissants, excellent OJ and coffee. Not hideously expensive, it allows us to shower and dress and hit the streets ready for action as early as we want. With tip, it usually costs us around 22€ a day.

                            1. Vendermeersh's Kugelhofp is one breakfast bread that Parisians really do cross town to buy. Only on Saturday and Sunday mornings (you might call to verify rumors of Friday also) can you pick up arguably the best Kugelhofp in Paris, in several sizes from individual to large.

                              I sneaked out early one Sunday morning and brought one back to our hotel room. My husband thanked me profusely, but went on to say that this kind of pastry wasn't his favorite...and proceeded to wolf way more than his share. I told him that next time, he could brave the depths of the 12th at dawn!

                              Vandermeersch 278, avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris, France Tel. +33 (0)1 43 47 21 66. Métro: Porte Dorée Hours: Wed. to Sun. 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. BUT their famed KUGELHOFP ONLY ON WEEKENDS.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mangeur

                                We've got 2 Sats and 2 Suns - Ready/Willing/Able to brave it.