A couple of months ago, I wrote about my favorite restaurants and bars in Paris. Given that I had too many favorites to list, I decided to split up the post and make a Part 2, in which I share my favorite boulangeries, pâtisseries, and overall dessert places in town. For those with a huge sweet tooth, this one’s for you! C’est parti! 🙂
My Favorite Places to Eat and Drink in Paris (Part 2)
Du Pain et des Idées (Canal St Martin/Gare de l’Est, 10ème arr.)— To be honest, any boulangerie in Paris (let alone all of France) is a solid choice to get your daily baguettes and viennoisseries to take home. However, Du Pain et des Idées stands out as my absolute favorite in town, its shop a historic beauty since 1875. It has won bakery awards for several years, and I always get their pistachio-chocolate or red berry escargots (similar to a pain aux raisins), which are hefty at 4€ each, but absolutely worth it. A return to Du Pain is a must!
Admittedly, I’m not a huge coffee drinker, so I didn’t frequent a lot of cafes when I was in France. But a few did stand out to me to share:
1. Angelina (Place Vendôme, 1er arr.)— Granted, this is more of an upscale tea room instead of your cozy, local café. Not to forget a tourist attraction. However, a pop inside for their famous hot chocolate is obligatory, as its thick and earthy taste makes you feel like you’re drinking ganache! The interior is also a golden beauty, as if you’re a 19th-century aristocrat enjoying a fancy afternoon tea (or hot chocolate). The food and drink aren’t cheap, but for the experience, it’s worth it!
2. Ten Belles (Canal St. Martin/Gare de l’Est, 10ème arr.)— I’ll be upfront and say that I did not appreciate the service during my visits here. Service aside, though, I really enjoy the lattes and dessert selections it has, including an incredible lemon cake that I still dream about today. The café draws a notable Anglophone crowd, including hipsters and students, and for a calm afternoon in a quieter part of town, Ten Belles is the perfect choice.
Chocolates galore (July 2014)
Joséphine Vannier (Marais, 3ème arr.)— Tucked off to the side of the Place des Vosges, this small chocolate shop is easy to miss. But upon stepping inside, you’re hit with impressive chocolate sculptures of the Eiffel Tower and other Parisian landmarks. It’s a high-end chocolaterie with innovative flavors like chili, matcha, and redcurrant. My host mother during my Paris study abroad days recommended Joséphine Vannier to me, and in turn, I recommend it to you!
With “pâtisserie” being such a broad term for all kinds of desserts (éclairs, Opéras, macarons), I had to break them down by category to organize them all:
1. Fauchon (Madeleine, 8ème arr.)— Located in the same square as the l’église de la Madeleine, Fauchon is all about its gourmet éclairs, and its vast display of just about any flavor you can imagine will leave even the most-decisive person undecided. I’m a huge fan of Florian Bellanger (pastry chef/co-owner) and his craft, so a pilgrimage here is a must. Éclairs are a heavy 6€ each, but with flavors like salted caramel or even the simple chocolate, the cost is nothing compared to the pure heaven you taste.
2. Ladurée (Champs-Élysées, 8ème arr.)— Are you team Ladurée or Pierre Hermé? After trying both, I’m personally a fan of the former. I find Ladurée’s selections to be more expansive, including seasonal flavors that rotate every few months. I once had a peach-flavored macaron, and it was as fruity and ripe as a peach itself. If you don’t want to wait in line at the Champs-Élysées location (especially if you don’t desire to sit down in the tea room), you can visit the other, less-crowded branches in town to take some macarons to-go.
3. La Pâtisserie des Rêves (Courcelles, 17ème arr.)— I remember this pâtisserie used to be located on rue du Bac (at the Musée d’Orsay), but it appears it has since relocated. Like with Joséphine Vannier, my host mother had recommended this to me, and it certainly did not disappoint! Each dessert displayed at the shop is a delicate art piece in itself– honestly, they’re way too pretty to eat! You can’t go wrong with any of them, and given that they’re not cheap, choose wisely!
4. Odette (Saint -Michel/Odéon, 5ème arr.)— To be fair, I’m not the biggest fan of cream puffs, but I really loved Odette’s while wandering the bohemian Left Bank. They’re bite-size, but made extremely-well: there’s a slight crunch from the outer layer, which gives way to the explosion of silky cream inside– you could say that I never had a good cream puff until Odette! The praline and caramel puffs are solid, and for the non-cream puff lover, Odette will change your mind.
Favorite…ice cream shop
Glace Bachir (Beaubourg, 3ème arr.)— I went to Glace Bachir when it first just opened, about five years ago. The place wasn’t packed at the time, but now I’ve heard it’s quite popular– and well-deservingly so! What I really enjoyed was how many flavors I could fit into a cup; there were no limits, and for a set price, that’s what I call a good deal! This shop specializes in Lebanese-style ice cream, and I will say that the pistachio and rose flavors were my favorite. If you’re ever near the Centre Pompidou, definitely stop by for a scoop (or 10)!
Crêpes are the ultimate street food in Paris: you’ll see hundreds of stalls at just about every corner, with vendors making and selling them within minutes. These thin pancakes are usually sweet (with the savory versions called galettes), but for the sake of this post, I’ll list my favorite crêpe and galette places in town:
1. Framboise (Faubourg St-Honoré, 8ème arr.)— Unlike your usual, takeaway crêpe stand, Framboise is a sit-down, dine-in affair. That said, the crêpes will be more expensive than if you were to order elsewhere. All the same, the spot offers an international spin on their menu, with flavors inspired by Mexican, Thai, and Nordic cuisines. I got their Scandinavian-inspired galette, with smoked salmon and a surprisingly-crispy batter despite the weight of ingredients inside and on top of it. Honestly, the raspberry (framboise) crêpe for dessert was lackluster, but for the savory side, Framboise hits home.
2. Au P’tit Grec (Sorbonne/Panthéon, 5ème arr.)— This is a popular spot that attracts visitors, locals, and nearby university students for lunch and dinner. It’s important to get here before they open at 11h, because there will always be a line out the door if you arrive any later! Their galettes are hefty, all the while being very affordable at about 5-6€. I especially love their honey-goat cheese galette, which is the perfect marriage of sweet and savory, not to forget very filling despite being vegetarian. Highly recommended!
3. Random crêpe stand (Montmartre, 18ème arr.)— For the life of me, I cannot remember exactly where this stand is, as it’s lumped in with the dozens of others in Montmartre. Any case, I came to this crêpe stand with a friend after bar-hopping– my friend wanted a crêpe, and although I wasn’t craving one, I ended up getting an incredible strawberry-marron (chestnut paste) that hit all the spots. The owner/crêpe-maker didn’t speak much English nor even French, but somehow, we chatted with him, and it was this exchange of food and conversation that made this random crêpe stand such a memorable one.
**Life pro tip** If you’re ever unsure what kind of crêpe to get, you cannot go wrong with either Nutella-banana or strawberry-marron!
What are some of your favorite places to eat in Paris (if you’ve been)? Let me know, and bonne journée! 🙂