In a country known for its breath-taking array of cheeses, it can be hard to know where to find the best or how to narrow down the selection. Luckily, Paris is home to some of the world’s best cheesemongers and affineurs, those talented men and women who find the most promising cheeses and age them to perfection in their cellars before helping you decide what will go with your favourite Bordeaux. Below you will find my favourites and the most recently discovered cheese shops in Paris.
A favourite of Eric Frechon and Patricia Wells, Claire Griffon’s fromagerie in the 7th combines modernity and tradition with a touch of elegance. Griffon has a weakness for aged chèvre and her selection of tangy crottins is one of the best. Her playful creations, like mimolette-pistachio “eggs” or le Damier Rose–a checkerboard of roquefort and Reims biscuits from her native Champagne–are whimsical without being gimmicky. Try the chèvre marinated in silky olive oil and herbs.
“There is a cheese for every mood,” says Marie-Anne Cantin. You’re likely to find one that suits yours from among the 200 in this pocket-sized shop in the 7th arrondissement. The daughter of Christian Cantin, founder of the Guilde des Fromagers, Marie-Anne ages small-batch cheeses from rural France in five on-site cellars. Try an old Comté, fruity with age, or a lovely Roquefort, creamy and tangy and delicious on pain d’épices. Marie-Anne and her husband also offer cheese tastings and pairing workshops.
47 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris, France 97-99 rue Saint Antoine, 75004 Paris 2 Rue de Lourmel, 75015 Paris fromageslaurentdubois.fr
Although Laurent Dubois comes from a family of cheesemongers, this Maître Ouvrier has crafted his own unique “universe” in his three Paris shops. There’s a touch of fantasy in his in-house creations like the Camembert stuffed with Calvados-soaked apples and mascarpone or millefeuilles of Roquefort and quince. Part of his signature includes ageing cheeses a little longer than customary. Try an extra-old Comté or Sainte Maure de Touraine (I heard L’Astrance restaurant is buying their old Comté from Laurent Dubois…).
Marie Quatrehomme’s bustling shop on the rue de Sèvres is a must-visit. Awarded Maître Ouvrier de France in 2000, she was the first woman to win this coveted title. Famous for her Beaufort and Saint Marcellin (as well as impeccable customer service), Marie Quatrehomme achieves such quality through slow ageing at cool temperatures. It also doesn’t hurt that she takes the time to get to know her producers individually. The fresh goat-cheese-and-pesto “mousse” is another highlight.
Beneath his neat, modern shop in the 16th arrondissement, Michel Fouchereau ages 70% of his carefully selected cheeses in two temperature-controlled cellars. This Maître Ouvrier de France spends his free time on the look-out for exceptional small producers and works closely with the best to deliver consistent, high-quality products. In addition to French classics like the divine Abbaye de Citeaux, a creamy, semi-soft cheese with a fresh earthy flavour, Michel Fouchereau stocks a wide selection of foreign cheeses and home-made dairy desserts, like chocolate mousse.
In addition to classics like Comté, Asiago and Cheddar, Hisada carries cheeses with a distinctly Japanese touch, including chèvre with wasabi or yuzu and an airy buffalo mozzarella wrapped in a cherry leaf. Whisky-aged Parmigiano Reggiano or chèvre aged with red wine and cinnamon are intriguing twists on old favourites. Head to the second-floor salon de fromagerie for an all-you-can-eat (in 90 minutes) cheese buffet, grilled Mont d’Or or home-made cheesecake. Be sure to try the cheese macarons as well.
Perched on rue Damremont, this tiny shop is crowded with an amazing selection of over 100 raw-milk cheeses from small producers selected by Virginie herself. A third-generation fromagère, she gives particular attention to seasonal cheeses. Arrange for a visit to the ageing cellars and a cheese tasting for the full experience. The vacherin de chèvre and bleu de Termignon are not to be missed.
La Ferme de Saint Hubert
36 Rue de Rochechouart, 75009 Paris
This friendly shop in the 9th arrondissement is known for cheeses from the mountain regions of France. A few novelties like Tomme de Savoie macerated in grape pomace or Brie veined with truffle add some intrigue to the over 200 cheeses available. If the choice is too much, just ask Paulette or Henry to show you around the Camembert, Reblochon and Beaufort for which their shop is famous. Choose from an eclectic selection of bread, honey and fruit spreads to compose your next apéro.
multiple locations around Paris (In the images – 17 Rue des Belles Feuilles, 75116) androuet.com
With seven Androuet locations around Paris, you’re never far from good cheese. Don’t be deterred by this cheese “chain”; Androuet’s selection has earned it a place among the best since 1909. A team of cheesemongers curates a selection ranging from the best French goat cheese, Brie and Camembert to Italian mozzarella and English Stilton. This is the place to go for all your cheese-related recipes, too: cheesecake, fondue and soufflé are only the beginning. Androuet is spreading the good cheese word with shop openings in London and Stockholm.
A Left Bank institution since 1978, the La Grande Epicérie is a reference for foodies native to Paris or just passing through. After a long period of renovation, the Bon Marché’s gourmet food market is better than ever, offering a wonderfully curated selection of meats, fish, bread, fruits and vegetables, condiments, pastries and, of course, cheese. Choose from over 140 French and European cheeses, some of them aged in-house and on display in a glass-walled cave behind the counter. If you’re looking for hard-to-find items from far-flung places, you’re almost certain to find it here.
Traditional cheese-making tools adorn this little shop on the lively rue de Bretagne, where fruit sellers vie for space with bakeries and butchers. House specialities include Etivaz, Calvados-aged Camembert, Ossau Iraty and a Brie with figs. In winter and spring, look for fresh goose eggs piled next to the saucisson (it’s made with cheese, too). Jouannault’s award-winning cheese platters can be custom-made to fit any event or budget.
La Fromagerie de Paris
229 rue de Charenton 75012 Paris
Another Meilleur Ouvrier de France and defender of the French cheese-making tradition, Eric Lefebvre has been serving up exquisite cheeses with his wife for 20 years in their boutique in the 12th arrondissement. His favourites are from Savoie, Normandy and Auvergne, especially the Salers. The shop is still something of a hidden treasure.
51 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris
Perhaps the most “famous” of cheese shops in Paris, Barthélemy is a favourite of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Catherine Deneuve. The light and airy Fontainbleau, a cheese mousse made from cow’s milk, is a house speciality. Did I mention this old-fashioned little shop is a supplier to the Elysée?