Paris isn’t just the city of love, it’s a patisseries paradise. I’ve just returned from a trip to the French capital and it struck me how new pastry chefs are showing the old establishment a thing or two. Here is my top 10 of where to indulge in the city that does it best.
1/ Le Meurice
228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
For a fruitful experience in Paris, Cedric Grolet is one chef you can’t miss. Famed for his sculpted fruits and innovative rubik’s cube, Cedric has brought a new energy to the global patisseries scene. What looks like one of your five-a-day is actually a petit gateaux with an impeccably thin chocolate shell filled with layers, such as jelly and ganache. As well as travelling the world to share his secrets, Cedric is head Patissier at Le Meurice. Consider afternoon tea, but book in advance for a tantalising experience.
Our Pick: Hazelnut Noisette
67 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris
Look out for Karamel Paris, the hidden gem owned by Nicolas Haelewyn. His lemon tart was voted the best in Paris and I can add my vote to that tally. Beautiful pastry, layers of lemon cake, a touch of caramel and the ultimate lemon cream. To top it off, I also had a taste of the divine pear tart. Nicolas has a simple, slightly rustic style that focuses on flavour and texture, not to mention paying tribute to caramel, the confectionery of his childhood.
Our Pick: Lemon Tart
10 Place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris
Jerome Chaucesse is the executive pastry chef at the newly re-opened Hotel de Crillon — one of Paris’s most esteemed hotels. With sweetness being my forte and having forked out 60 euros for afternoon tea, comprised of traditional savoury sandwiches, which I endured to get to the good stuff, I welcomed the unlimited cakes and pastries. I am ashamed to admit that I also tasted several of Jerome’s petit gateaux, which I also enjoyed very much. Cassis Concorde could not go without a mention; a spin on the classic meringue and chocolate but with the inclusion of blackcurrant, all shaped like a pillow and embossed with gold, it had me dreaming.
Our Pick: Cassis Concorde
75 Avenue des Champs Élysées, 75008 Paris
Claire Heitzler is executive pastry chef at Paris’s most famed macaron and teahouse Ladurée. With a global stamp, their macarons are up there with the best. For me, you can’t beat the Religious Rose Strawberry, a perfectly shaped choux pastry balanced with light, refreshing flavours of strawberry and rose. Venture down the Champs Elysees for your sweet fix.
Our Pick: Religious Rose Strawberry
5/ Ute in Paris
67 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris
Ute Biefang may not be a pastry chef, but she might be your new best friend after you join one of her patisseries tours in Paris. Forget the stress of navigating your way around Paris; Ute designs a schedule based on your tastes to ensure you don’t miss out on the patisseries highlights of Paris.
32 Rue Notre Dame des Victoires, 75002 Paris
Christophe Adam has gone international with his Parisian treasure L’Eclair de Genie, having opened stores in Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, Russia and Canada. Most pastry chefs struggle to bake one perfect éclair, let alone thousands, so it’s this perfection that makes him stand out. The balance of flavour and texture in his Lemon Yuzu Meringue was perfect, but you also can’t pass up one of his classic caramels next time you pay a visit.
Our Pick: Lemon Yuzu Meringue
7/ 86 Champs
86 Avenue des Champs Élysées Paris
Pierre Herme, need I say more? A collaboration with L’Occitane has resulted in a beautiful patisserie counter and a small seating area where you can sample some of Pierre’s famous macarons. With new flavours being released seasonally, they are undeniably the best macarons in Paris. After relishing the vibrant Mandarin and one of his classics, Ispahan (pictured top left), which includes rose, lychee and raspberry, I left on a high.
Our Pick: Ispahan
60 Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, 75010 Paris
A leading figure on the patisseries scene, Christophe Michalak has several shops as well as a pastry training school, Michalak’s Master Class, which hosts one-day classes. Christophe has a very retro style, which is reflected throughout his pastry stores. Christophe’s ‘Mon Coeur’ has layers of yuzu, milk chocolate and dark chocolate, and it really was my sweetheart! Don’t leave without trying his quirky ‘Hamburger’ — it’s not how you know it.
Our Pick: Mon Coeur
112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris
Julien Alvarez is one of the humblest pastry chefs and has recently become the new executive pastry chef at Le Bristol Paris. Book an afternoon tea or if you fancy the ultimate dining experience (and you have deep pockets) book into Epicure, the hotel’s three Michelin star restaurant. I taste tested desserts that Julien is planning to add to the menu and there’s never been a better time to pay your first visit — or return for another.
Our Pick: Black Truffle Dessert
23bis Rue des Rosiers, 75004 / 137 Avenue Parmentier, 75010 Paris
Yann Couvreur now has three stores under his belt and each one is true to form — stylish, innovative and fresh. His pièce de resistance, Millefeuille à la vanille de Madagascar, was my choice of the day. Made to order, this delight is assembled before your eyes to allow for the softest crème patisserie to melt in your mouth. With only fifty made per day, be sure to arrive early.
Our Pick: Millefeuille à la vanille de Madagascar