French Pastries and 10 Top Patisseries in Paris

Pastry Case at Sihra

The pastries.  That's my answer to about any question one asks me about Paris.  "Why did you go to culinary school in Paris?"  "Why do you visit Paris during every trip you make to Europe?"  "What's the first thing you do when you get to Paris?"  "What's your favorite thing about Paris/France?" "What does France do better than Italy?" The last question got me in trouble with a few Sicilians.  My answer to all of these questions is the same — the pastries.

My very first trip to Paris, 13 years ago, had me gawking at every pastry window, thinking you needed magical powers to make such perfect little gems. I lived, studied pastries in Paris and worked in a Paris patisserie, so you would think the magic of these windows had disappeared. Not so, they still stop me in my tracks and have me gazing at them like most girls gaze at the windows of Dior, Chanel, Louis Vutton, and Tiffany's. My most recent trip to Paris, this summer, was not very different than my first, I'm still peeping into pastry windows.

One thing on my travel "bucket" list is to attend the Meilleur Ouvriers de France (Best Craftsman in Paris) pastry competition.  The competition is fierce, exhausting, and takes every iota of your will and tenacity.  Those that "win" (achieve a predetermined score) are known as one of the best pastry chefs in all of France.  The winners show off the blue, white and red collar on their chefs' jackets for the rest of their lives, identifying them among the elite of French pastry chefs. Although I've yet to be able to see it live (I do realize it's practically impossible to view it unless you're already an MOF), today I will be able to see it on film.  The documentary Kings of Pastry comes to the San Francisco Bay Area today. 

In my giddiness and as a pre-celebration of sorts, I thought I'd share my list of ten top patisseries in Paris.  They're beyond the obvious Pierre Herme and LaDuree, and the grand maisons of Lenotre, and Fauchon.  These pastry chefs make pastries that look like jewels and taste like ecstasy.  Along with the list, you can take a virtual peak into the vetrines of Paris patisseries.

 

You, too, can learn the art to creating French pastries and many secrets of the French patissier! Join me in Provence for a French Pastry Culinary Vacation!

Details here: Pastry-Making Vacation in Provence

 

Sugar and Chocolate Showpieces Sugar and Chocolate Showpieces by Chef Nicolas Bernardé – MOF 2004

 

Ten Top Patisseries in Paris:

Laurent Duchene – 2 rue Wurtz – 13th arr. – Metro: Glacière
Won the MOF title in 1997  – This small neighborhood patisserie makes some of the best pastries in the city.

Pain de Sucre – 14 rue Rambuteau – 3rd arr. – Metro: Rambuteau
My Suggestions:  Millefeuille, Etat de Choc (state of chocolate), and of course their famous marshmellows (guimauves) .

Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki – 35 rue de Vaugirard – 6th arr. – Metro: Rennes and 3 other locations in Paris.  My Suggestions: Any of the domed pastries, Matcha Eclair, Tart au Citron

Hugo & Victor – 40 boulevard Raspail – 7th arr. – Metro: Sevres-Babylone
This patisserie opened at the beginning of 2010.  Instead of haute-cuisine, think haute-pastry.  Everything is exquisite, but the triangular-shaped tarts make me think of American pie. My suggestions: Caramel millefeuille (Victor), and anything chocolate, caramel, or vanilla – the three "featured" flavors.

Carl Marletti – 51 rue Censier – 5th arr. – Metro: Censier-Daubenton
All his pastries look too good to eat, but eat them anyway. He’s a master at pate a choux; éclairs, religeuse.  I also recommend the Dome Noir, Dome Blanc, and the L'Orizaba.

Arnaud Delmontel – 57 rue Damremont – 18th arr. – Metro: Lamark-Caulaincourt
Vibrantly colored pastries. My suggestions: Mara des Bois, Adagio

Patisserie de l’Eglise – 10 rue du Jourdain – 20th arr. – Metro: Jourdain
Named the best patissier and chocolatier of 2010 by Gault-Millau Guide

Patisserie des Reves – 93 rue du Bac – 7th arr. – Metro: Sevres-Babylone
Pastry shop of dreams lives up to its name. My Suggestions:  The tarts and gateaux of the season, but especially the Tart au Citron and the Tart Tatin.

Arnaud Larher – 53 rue Caulaincourt – 18th arr. – Metro: Lamarck-Caulaincourt
Won the MOF title in 2007.  Make sure to also try the macarons and chocolates boutique at 57 rue Damremont.

Gerard Mulot – 76 rue de Seine – 6th arr. – Metro: Mabillon
When I lived in Paris, my apartment was right across the street from this patisserie.  I gawked/examined/tasted most of chef Mulot’s creations.  My favorites are the tarts citron, orange and chocolat and the Troubadour (a caramel mousse sensation).  My favorite macaron flavors are orange-cannelle, nougat, and citron.

 

Entremet Passionata Entremet Passionata

 

Box of Chocolate Macarons Box of Chocolate Macarons from Jean-Paul Hevin

 

Chocolate Pastry from LaDuree
Plaisir Sucre – Chocolate and Hazelnut Pastry from LaDuree

 

French Pastries
Pastry Case Featuring a Snail Macaron

 

Pastry Case at Laurent Duchene
Pastry Window of Laurent Duchene

 

Strawberry Fraisier
Strawberry Fraisier

 

Saint Honore Pastry
Saint Honore

 

Pastry Case at Aoki
Pastries at Sadaharu Aoki

 

Heavenly Chocolate pastry
Called Heavenly Chocolate and it is

 

Light Lemon Tart
Light Lemon Tart

 

Macaron Tower at LaDuree
LaDuree Macaron Tower

 

If you still have a sweet tooth after these photos, you can go to my Flickr page to check out even more Paris Pastries in Photos

 

Other Posts on Paris and French pastries:

Paris Pastries Binge 2011 – Pierre Herme

Paris Pastries Binge 2011 – Some of the Best Pastry Shops in the City 

Paris Walks for Food Lovers: Rue de Seine and Rue Bonaparte

Easter Chocolates in Paris Windows

Chocolate Eclairs: My Mom and Learning How to Make Them

Journey Through the Pastries of Paris – Part 1

Journey Through the Pastries of Paris – Part 2

A French Fraisier to Celebrate My First Blog Birthday

Meyer Lemon Tart Topped with Lightened Lemon Cream 

Cooking Classes for the Culinary Traveler in Paris

L'Epicuriste – Dining in Paris

 

 

 


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Comments

  1. Paula
    October 16th

    What fun photos!!!!

  2. Gigi Spinazze
    October 17th

    Hi, just found you, lucky me! I was searching for thester to see Kings of Pastry. I live in Saratoga, Ca. Can you help? Must in be in San Francisco somewhere or closer????
    Thanks,
    Gigi

  3. Kathy
    October 17th

    Gigi – I’m glad you found me! Right now the only screening in the SF Bay Area is in Larkspur at The Lark. There is a planned screening in San Francisco but the date is “TBD.” I drove from the East Bay to see it. It was well worth it. It’s a great look into how much work goes into competing in the MOF. Also, if you love pastries and learning about how they’re made/assembled, this is a great film.
    Here’s the link from the Kings of Pastry website showing all the screening locations and dates:
    http://kingsofpastry.com/screenings/

  4. Corinne @ Gourmantic
    October 18th

    You are killing me with this post! I want one of each. And now Mr G is looking over my shoulder…
    How did you manage to photograph Sadaharu Aoki’s patisseries? We had to be very discreet!

  5. Kathy
    October 18th

    Corinne – I was killing myself putting this together. I’m ready to go back today.
    At Aoki’s I just asked to take the picture, and they said ok! I couldn’t be discreet because my friend and I were the only two there at the time (it was the patisserie on rue Vaugirard). We had also bought several pastries, so maybe that had something to do with it. I was shocked they said yes, also.

  6. Jen Laceda
    October 19th

    Pastries are my weakness – especially the French kind! I love Gerard Mulot! His millefeuilles are to-die for! I will have to bookmark this for my next trip to Paris!

  7. Adam
    October 23rd

    How about Des Gateaux et du Pain and Jean-Paul Hevin? Fine to leave off Pierre Herme and Laduree, since they’re already so well known. btw – If you like in-shop photos, check the Sept. 10th post on my blog for an insane number of Pain de Sucre shots. I didn’t want to be evil and post a link to it here, of course.

  8. Kathy
    October 23rd

    Adam – Two more great Paris patisseries – thanks for the comment. I stop at Jean-Paul Hevin every time I’m in Paris. I do think of him more as a chocolatier than patissier, but he has some of the best chocolate pastries and chocolate macarons (the macarons above are from Jean-Paul Hevin).
    Here’s the link to Adam’s post:
    http://www.parispatisseries.com/2010/09/10/patisserie-pain-de-sucre/

  9. Esme
    December 15th

    You have some great choices. Gerald Mulot is my all time favorite patisserie-so much so that I bring back croissants and pastries from his shop each time I go. Pain de Sucre is also quite good-I did not try anything at Hugo and Victor-everything was behind glass. I could not get a good look at them. I like seeing rows and rows of pastries not just one.
    Tarte citron is my absolute favorite-of course, chocolate eclairs and who can resist the strawberry frasier.
    I also like Poulaine for a simple apple tart-I know it is a boulangerie but those tarts are as tarts should be.

  10. Angel
    January 10th

    I’m seriously considering a career change, I have been pondering becoming a Pastry Chef for the past year or so. I have looked into Le Cordon Blue in Paris but not sure if that is the best school there! Suggestions?

  11. Kathy
    January 10th

    Angel – Here are a two blog sites that might also be very helpful:
    Jesssica’s Dinner Party – She is currently a pastry student at Le Cordon Bleu and blogs about it.
    http://www.jessicasdinnerparty.com/
    Paris Patisseries – Adam analyzes pastries in Paris, one pastry at a time.
    http://www.parispatisseries.com/

  12. Bill Pearson
    March 13th

    Excellent photos, my vote is for Laurent Duchêne.
    http://goodfoodshops.blogspot.com

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