Deciding on where to go for your sugar fix while in Paris is just as hard as deciding on which museums to visit or which restaurants to try before leaving the City of Light. It takes time to taste your way through all the éclairs and macarons to find the very best this city has to offer. Each brand has their specialties and where to find the very best mille-feuille might not be where to have the best tarte aux framboise. Pastries in Paris can be a science, but after indulging in anything sweet nonstop over several months, I now know where to go to satisfy my never-ending dessert cravings.
Calling something “the best pastry in Paris” is quite gutsy, but this caramel tart from Sadaharu AOKI might just be the sweet that makes me utter those words for the very first time. With the most perfect caramel, heavenly milk chocolate and a crunchy pastry bottom many people have described this as the ultimate elevated Twix-bar. If you are a fan of caramel, this pastry is like a little piece of heaven and will probably change your life forever. Yes, it’s that good.
I have never been a big fan of éclairs. But then L’Éclair de Génie happened. Pastry chef Christophe Adams has made me a éclair believer with his amazing attention to detail and exceptional presentation. Each éclair looks more like a little piece of art and they are almost too pretty to eat. But please do anyways, because these little treats are some of the best pastries in Paris. Perfectly creamy with constantly changing flavors to choose from. My favorite flavors? Their salted caramel and vanilla pecan.
Even though I am in Paris I can’t help myself from stopping by Comme à Lisbonne, while in the Marais neighborhood, for a delicious Portuguese treat. They serve one thing and one thing only, the Portuguese nata pastry. If you are lucky, the adorable owners have just put out a tray with newly baked pastries straight out of the oven. The smell will make your knees weak and after that first bite (don’t forget the cinnamon on top!), you will want to buy a box to take with you home.
Delicious lemon curd, soft meringue and a crisp pastry bottom in the perfect size to eat while on the go. Can’t get much better than that, right? Parisian pastries can sometimes be a little bit tricky to eat while on the go, but the lemon meringue tart from Un Dimache à Paris is not just incredibly tasty but also very easy to bring along on picnics. With the gorgeous Luxembourg gardens not far from the shop, this tends to happen to me quite often.
Of course it’s almost impossible to come to Paris nowadays without tasting a single macaron. And yes, you can always head over to Ladurée or Pierre Hermé for your macaron-fix, but I prefer to stop by Café Pouchkine for these little treats. Café Pouchkine does macarons like you’ve never had them before. They are bigger in size and come with more filling, which will make Ladurée’s macarons seem as dry as cardboard paper. The caramel-chocolate and cassis flavors are not to be missed.
There is no question about it, Pierre Hermé know what they are doing when it comes to both pastries and those famous macarons, but after sampling almost everything in the store I have now found my Pierre Hermé favorite, the 2000 Feuilles. It’s one of the best versions of the traditional “mille-feuille” I’ve ever had. Packed with nutty flavors, heavenly mousseline and just the right amount of paper-thin pastry, this creation is a must for anyone who is a fan of praline.
The cutest, and tastiest, cream puffs (choux à la crème in French) are made by Odette in Paris. You will find their picture perfect little shop in the 5th arrondissement, not far from the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral. Get them to go or sit down in their cute little salon. They are light as air, filled with different cream fillings and decorated in colors according to the flavors. I can never leave without picking up a caramel, pistachio, praline and lemon cream puff.
The famous pastry chef Jacques Genin is known for many different things and his caramels are definitely one of them. Your wallet will take a hit but I promise that it will be worth it. With flavors like macadamia nuts, passion fruit-mango, coffee, vanilla or simply “nature”, you can't help but buying more than one box. If you have a little bit of extra time on your hands, I recommend sitting down in the beautiful salon to enjoy your caramels over a cup of hot chocolate together with other pastries.
You can find a lot of delicious ice cream in Paris, but for me Pozzetto will always serve the very best. Even though we are talking about the French capital here, I prefer my ice cream to be made the Italian way. And that’s exactly how they do it at Pozzetto. Their Nocciola (hazelnut flavor) tastes just like the one I have in Italy each year, their Gianduja (a mixture of chocolate and hazelnut) is to die for and I can dream about their Affogato before I go to sleep. The charming Italian speaking staff is a little bonus.