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Macarons in all the colours of the rainbow, gleaming raspberry tartlets and chocolate éclairs: your mouth is guaranteed to water just looking through the window of the average Parisian patisserie. Making pastries is a true art here – many pastry chefs train for two years before they get to practice their craft.
The domains of the baker and the pastry chef are kept strictly apart in France. You go to the boulangerie for bread and to one of the numerous pâtisseries for cakes and treats. They are always of excellent quality and it’s pretty much impossible to go wrong. But Paris wouldn’t be Paris if it didn’t have some very special places. The biggest challenge is to choose one.
Pierre Hermé is a phenomenon. A true celebrity, this French chef is famous for his innovative approach to traditional French delicacies. His mille-feuille is legendary, as are his macarons. Monsieur Hermé combines everyday flavours such as vanilla with more exotic fare, like green olives. Or how does a macaron with a crème brûlée flavour sound? Hermé has various shops in Paris, the largest of which is in the 1st arrondissement at 4 rue Cambon. The sparkling ultra-modern interior is far from what you would expect and the ladies behind the counter wear stiletto heels.
4 rue Cambon, Paris
The first shop by Ladurée which is now represented around the world, opened its doors on rue Royale in Paris in 1862. You can drink thé or café here accompanied by one of the countless delicacies, each of which is as elegant as the belle-époque interior of glittering chandeliers and pastel colours in a light green hue. The cream filling of minuscule lemon tartlets will melt on your tongue while your eyes are seduced by perfect vanilla éclairs, chocolate biscuits and religieuses au café. Some of the treats are so beautifully made it seems a shame to eat them. A case in point is the Saint-Honoré Rose Framboise, a creation of puff pastry, whipped cream, fondant and, of course, raspberries.
16 rue Royale
The patisserie of Philippe Conticini has no equal. As its name indicates, La Pâtisserie des Rêves is a dream come true for a sweet tooth. This shop has shelves full of delicacies against a backdrop of pink, green and orange. Conticini showcases his creations under glass bells. These pastries are just for show – once you’ve made your choice, order from the shop personnel and you will get a fresh product from the cooled storage. Don’t miss the Grand Cru: made from layers of Venezuelan chocolate, it is a morsel to die for. Order two right away – you won’t be sorry.
93 rue du Bac, Paris