One of the best meals in Barcelona ever.
Paris is the place to go for the world’s best pastry. With so many prestigious pâtissiers present in the capital, choosing where to indulge can be a challenge. Classic addresses like La Durée, Fauchon or Lenôtre still have their place on any best-of list, but they are being joined by a new wave of chefs who are putting their own twist on traditional pastry. From Christophe Michalak’s quirky retro chocolates to Mori Yoshida’s elegant réligieuses, the next generation of pâtissiers promises to delight more than just the palate. Whether they live up to the reputation set by previous masters is a matter of taste. Here are a few of my favourite addresses.
La Tarte Tropézienne ( 3 Rue de Montfaucon 75006 Paris).
The famous Tarte Tropézienne, a sandwich of fluffy cream and sponge cake rounds topped off with chunky sugar crystals, is no longer reserved for southerners and beach-bound Parisians. The newest La Tarte Tropézienne shop is now just a metro ride away in the 6th arrondissement.
Aux Merveilleux de Fred (94 Rue Saint-Dominique 75007 ; 29 rue de l’Annonciation 75016; 129 bis rue Saint-Charles 75015 Paris).
Aux Merveilleux de Fred takes its name from a decadent group of bons vivants who emerged immediately following the French Revolution. Les Incroyables et Les Merveilleuses favoured provocative dress, indulgent dining and a titillating social life. Frédéric Vaucamps takes a cue from them in his quest for delight: his cream-dipped meringues are decadent little marvels indeed. Six varieties are baked daily and hand-assembled right in the shop.
Pierre Hermé ( Flagship store at 72 Rue Bonaparte 75006 + many other boutiques around Paris).
Once called the “Picasso of pastry,” Pierre Hermé is a master of his art and an essential starting point for anyone curious to taste the best of the sweet side.
Sadaharu Aoki (35 Rue de Vaugirard 75007; 56 Boulevard de Port-Royal 75005; 25 Rue Pérignon 7015; 40 Boulevard Haussmann 75009, Paris).
Less is more, as they say, and that goes for pastry too. One of the world’s best pastry chefs, Sadaharu Aoki brings a Japanese sensibility to French classics, keeping things simple but using uncommon flavours. Macha plays a starring role: glazing éclairs, filling mille-feuilles and infusing macarons with vibrant green tea flavour. Yuzu, red bean and sesame revive old standbys like tartes, feuilletés and fondants.
Mori Yoshida (65 avenue de Breteuil 75007 Paris).
More proof that Japanese pastry chefs are right up there with the French, young chef Mori Yoshida is among the best. Try the strawberry shortcake—it’s divine.
Pâtisserie Ciel (3 rue Monge 75005 Paris).
The speciality here is “angel cake,” a light-as-air blend of French and Japanese pastry traditions.
Gérard Mulot (76 Rue de Seine 75006; 93 Rue de la Glacière 75013; 6 rue du pas de la Mule 75003, Paris).
An institution in Saint Germain des Près since 1975, Gérard Mullot is one of my favourite places for fruit tarts—pears, peaches or figs, any will do. In addition to pastries, macarons and chocolates, you can also stop by for a sandwich or hot dish from the takeaway bakery-café.
Christophe Michalak ( 60 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière 75010).
Creativity is on the menu here. That’s no surprise, considering Michalak’s Plaza Athenée pedigree. He brings a designer’s eye to pastry, presenting traditional desserts with imagination. First and foremost a pastry school, the Faubourg Poissonnières location does offer a limited selection of takeaway items: two cheesecake verrine options (try the pear and praline), chocolates in fun retro shapes like a VHS cassette, and a cake of the day made with the freshest ingredients. If you want to know his secrets, sign up for a Masterclass.
La Pâtisserie des Rêves (93 Rue du Bac 75006;111 Rue de Longchamp 7016; 19 Rue Poncelet 75017, Paris).
Considered a major influence on contemporary culinary tradition, both in France and abroad, Philippe Conticini knows how to keep us dreaming. If you’re wondering, he’s the man behind those verrines that changed the way we eat classic sweet and savory dishes. Despite his many awards and celebrity status, Conticini is not pretentious about his talent: his work at La Pâtisserie des Rêves is all about making good taste accessible to all, even the youngest gourmets in training. This dreamy pastry shop has all the classics, with a touch of something extra that puts them over the top. The Saint Honoré is everything a pastry should be: crispy, crunchy, creamy, airy. The éclairs aren’t just glazed with chocolate—they’re lovingly rolled up in it! And the Paris Brest? You’ll have to sink your teeth into it to find out the secret at its center.
Café Pouchkine (64 Boulevard Haussmann 75008 Paris ).
This temple to Franco-Russian cuisine dedicates a corner of the 18th century-inspired café to the elaborate creations of pâtissier Emmanuel Ryon. For something a little different than the average éclair, try the traditional Russian cake with honey, Medovick .
L’Éclair de Génie (14 Rue Pavée 75004; 53 rue de Passy 75016, Paris).
These are no ordinary éclairs. Christophe Adam features ingenious creations with flavours like Iranian pistachio (with a hint of orange), caramel popcorn and citron yuzu. As for the chocolate truffles with such filling like yuzu or salted caramel, they are to die for!
La Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac (2 rue de Chaillot 75016; 24 Rue Paul Bert 75011, Paris).
Something of a celebrity thanks to his appearances on French cooking shows like “Yes chef !” and “Get Chef’d”, Cyril Lignac is following other big names—think Alain Ducasse—into pastry. With the support of Benoit Couvrand of Fauchon fame, Lignac is adding his personal touch to classic pastries. It’s nothing fancy; simplicity reigns and seasonal fruits are priority.
Toraya (10 Rue St-Florentin 75001 Paris).
One of the oldest pastry shops from Japan opened its branch in Paris in 1980. Here you can have various premium Japanese teas, snacks, desserts or take away such traditional sweets like traditional rice mochi cake filled with azuki bean paste.
Angelina (226 Rue de Rivoli 75001; 108 rue du Bac 75007 ,Paris)
Famous for the Mont Blanc, an impressive mound of meringue and chantilly wrapped in chestnut cream, this Rue de Rivoli institution has just opened a new take-away shop on the Left Bank.
Jean-François Piège (In front of Thoumieux restaurant, 79 Rue Saint-Dominique )
Save room for this Michelin-starred chef’s upcoming foray into the pastry, which will open in December. Everything will be made on-demand insight of the counter. With so many prestigious chefs opening pastry shops in Paris these days, it will be difficult to decide where to go first!