The ultimate French dilemma:
Just surrender to the fact that there is much more to eat in Paris than you will have time.
Even if you’re not a sweets person in the US (like me), it’s a whole other story in Europe. I heard it’s because in Europe they tend to have lower sugar, but higher fat content (yay?). Portion sizes are luckily smaller, but when you answer the siren call of at least one patisserie a day it tends to even out.
There are certainly better patisseries (pastry shops) and boulangeries (bread bakeries) than others, but usually a mediocre place in Paris is better than most in the US. For serious patisserie palates, consider purchasing super foodie David Lebovitz’s Paris Pastry app ($5), which includes personal reviews of 300+ shops.
For the most amazing truffles, venture to Jean Charles Rochoux. The mini squares have been rated by some as “the world’s best truffle.” The dark bittersweet cubes are made with fresh cream, so you “have” to eat them within 7 days of purchase (um – ok … but only because you insist!). The tiny shop is packed with chocolates. An awesome bonus is they are more than happy to provide samples of everything (take advantage! as long as you eventually buy stuff). Overall, not cheap, but the chocolates are special and worth it. Address: 16 Rue d’Assas 75006 Paris, France
I would be remiss to omit Laduree in a post about French sweets. Locations in several parts of the city, plus the airport, the macarons (note, not macaroon!) are delicious and flavors inventive. In the larger stores they also serve more adventurous desserts than the traditional macaron.
From PopSugar: A macaron is a meringue-based cookie made with almond flour, egg whites, and granulated and powdered sugar, then filled with buttercream or fruit spread. The delicate treat has a crunchy exterior, and a weightless interior with a soft ending that’s almost nougatlike in its chewiness. (More on the difference between a macaron and macaroon)
If you find yourself on the streets of Paris with a sweet hankering, but no particular recommendation at hand … best advice is our Nguyening mantra “Smoke, Lines, and Locals.” Just last week a line of locals led me to a random shop in the Marais where I had a fresh-out-of-the-oven pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) – buttery heaven! (Well, to be honest, my friends and I didn’t even have a sweet hankering. We were even on our way to a lunch reservation. But we couldn’t resist stopping in when we saw a line out the door for this place!)
And in case you need more temptation …
This place is near the Sacre Coeur (and they serve tasty brunch). Below are a strawberry heart, lemon tart, chocolate eclair, and the shopkeeper threw in a chocolate heart.
Below is a strawberry tart with custard filling and pistachio bits, and next to it is a traditional French pastry called a Paris Brest. It is a puff pastry filled with praline cream. It was created to honor the Paris-Brest cycling race, hence the wheel shape.
Let us know if you have favorite patisseries and boulangeries so we can try them our next trip to Paris!