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Salon de thé for breakfast (Paris)

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I'll be in Paris mid March and am looking for salon de thé's to have a nice breakfast. And by nice I mean pretty surroundings and good croissants. I'm really out for the best croissants, I know a lot of great boulangeries for really good croissants (Hermé, Blé Sucré, Le Triomphe, Des Gateaux et du Pain etc) but I'd like to sit down with a cup of coffee too.

How good are croissants (and pain au chocolat) at Ladurée? They have nice tearooms.

I know that croissants is Paris are probably good at any corner cafe but I'm not looking for good, I'd like exceptional :)

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  1. Do not know where you are staying but here are two in the 5th. Original branch of Kayser is on Rue Monge just up from Place Maubert, not fussy but lovely coffee and Kayser stuff with decent seating.
    On the circle off St Michel just at Jardins Luxembourg there is a Dallayou with an upstairs dining room that is fussy with great service and lovely pastries/croissants.

    1. A quick revealed this previous thread that seems to answer the same question: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/831741

      5 Replies
      1. re: PhilD

        Thanks PhilD, I read that too. It's the thing with most of the suggestions that when the place is nice and coffee good then the pastries are "decent". It's not bad but since I'm in Paris for 3 morning only then I'd like more than decent :)

        Delucacheesemonger, I'm in 11th near Bastille but don't mind to travel even very early in the morning. Thanks a lot, I'll add Dalloyau to my list too.

        1. re: spiidi

          If you are near Bastille, then you are close to my Fav, Jacques Genin on Rue Turenne at the Republic end of the street. Case closed.

          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            I love Genin for pastries, but I didn't think he sold croissants and other breakfast selections. Also, he doesn't open until 11am.

            1. re: Nancy S.

              My bad, doing it far too often.

          2. re: spiidi

            The problem is that very few places that make and sell good pastries etc also sell coffee, and fewer have anywhere to sit - that's not how the French do it. If you want the best pastry buy it at a bakery and then eat it in a cafe - most will let you bring in a couple of croissants. Also the few that do have seating etc won't open early - Genin for example opens at 11:00. A tea shop will have good cakes and good tea but it is more an afternoon thing and often more focussed on the tea rather than the pastry. Remember much of the patisserie sold in Paris is taken home or taken to friends as agift when visiting so that is how the retail model is set-up.

        2. Laduree has slipped. The macaroons are still decent, but it's a chain and feels like it: overpriced, tourist stuff.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Busk

            Also the reception and staff in Laduree just aren't "nice". I stopped buying anything there some years ago. I still once in a while stick my tongue in the cavity and go in, only to turn on my heel and walk out. Life is short and my money is mine to spend where I get pleasure from doing so.

          2. A croissant is a croissant is a croissant... the difference between a high-class pâtisserie one and the one served at your local café is so minimal that it's hardly worth fussing over.

            Pain au chocolat is a different story... THE best can be found at Bread & Roses on the rue Fleurus in the 6th.

            If you want grand surroundings, Angelina on the rue de Rivoli across from les Tuileries is probably your best bet... opens at 7:30am.

            For sheer convenience and superior pastries, Carette on the place des Vosges... if all else fails or if the weather allows taking advantage of the terrace, Café Français on the place Bastille @ the rue St-Antoine.. both are walkable from most parts of the 11th... there's also a Dalloyau on the boulevard Beaumarchais @ the place Bastille but it probably doesn't start sit-down service until 10 or 11am.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Parnassien

              Only if the local cafe serves onesmade with butter - many do not.

              1. re: PhilD

                Croissants au beurre are pretty standard in most cafés in Paris... but if you don't say the magic words "des croissants au beurre" when ordering, the waiter will bring you the ordinary non-buttery version

                1. re: Parnassien

                  Thanks everyone!

                  Delucacheesemonger, unfortunately Genin opens at 11am, so this will be my afternoon delight.

                  PhilD, agree, that makes it so hard to find a nice breakfast place since I don't want to eat in my hotel room and mid March can still be a bit cold for a park bench early in the morning.

                  Parnassien, I disagree with croissant being a croissant being a croissant. It's like saying that chocolate is chocolate is chocolate. I don't mind fussing a bit if it gets me a really good croissant :)

                  Are croissants good at Angelina? Isn't it as touristy as Laduree?

                  I've heard a lot good about Bread & Roses but it's not that inviting for me with it's modern American feel, Angelina surroundings will make me feel much more Paris :)

                  1. re: spiidi

                    "Are croissants good at Angelina? Isn't it as touristy as Ladurée?"

                    Actually I find Angelina more touristy than Ladurée. We go to Angelina for the cliché (but very good) chocolat chaud.
                    The problem is that breakfast is not that important in France, and cafés carry croissants as an after-thought. Often they run out of them early in the morning and tell you it's ok to go next door to get one from the bakery and bring it back to have with your crème.

                    Salons de thé do indeed have a nicer atmosphere, but they are not a morning medium at all.

                    "Parnassien, I disagree with croissant being a croissant being a croissant. It's like saying that chocolate is chocolate is chocolate. I don't mind fussing a bit if it gets me a really good croissant :)"

                    Spiidi, I totally agree with you. I am very lucky to live in within short walking distance to several award-winning bakeries. The croissants from Le Grenier à pain, Au Levain d'Antan, Delmontel, Landemaine are not equal and the difference is not minimal.

                    1. re: spiidi

                      Almost every place in Paris is touristy... 60 million of you a year vs 2.2 million of us Parisiens... Angelina is an institution that both locals and tourists appreciate... and you will probably also like Carette on the place des Vosges... the setting is glorious

                      Don't want to quibble but Bread & Roses is aiming for a British, not American feel... but it is on the same street where Gertrude Stein used to live so there may be an American ghost or two lingering from the 1920s...if you get a seat by the window or on the terrace, you will hardly notice the decor... again, the setting is quintessentially parisien... just a stone's throw from the Luxembourg gardens... and, like I said, the pain au chocolat is the best in Paris

                      I've spent my life eating croissants... and for the life of me, I can't tell the difference from one to another... all are delicious, especially when still warm from the baker's oven ... or when you ask the waiter to put it in the oven for a minute before serving it :)

                      1. re: Parnassien

                        I also disagree about the difference between good and bad Croisaants but i do find the search for "the best" to be rather odd. IMO it is easy to find very good croissants right across Paris and you don't need to travel. But there are good and bad in most areas so it is wise to taste a few in the neighbourhood -- however I agree that the difference betwen good and very good is margininal at best.

                        That said I still remember one from a small bakery in Levallois-Perret which was between the car park and my doctors surgery that was so good it made visits counter productive: after the usual lecture on weight i would stop in for a bag of croissants for the journey home.

                        1. re: PhilD

                          That's the thing, I'm not really looking for the best, just a combination of nice cafe + someones suggestion that there you can get really good croissants. That doesn't seem too easy to find.

                          Currently I'm opting for taking few croissant from a boulangerie and hoping that a nice smile will get me away with eating them at a cafe :)

                          1. re: spiidi

                            Many cafés do accept "imported" croissants, esp when they run out of theirs.
                            Good coffee is much harder to find than good croissants. I personally have not heard of searching for a café for its croissant. It is sort of looking for a restaurant for its nice teacups. :-)