Confectionery in Paris | France

the food

Paris is a distinct destination for those with a sweet tooth, and has an array of pastry shops to discover, each more tempting than the next. From hazelnut Paris-Brest pralines to sumptuous chocolate éclairs, from simple Madeleines to ornate, cream-filled Saint-Honores, there really is something for everyone.

However, you won’t find croissants in most of these places. The classic French breakfast roll is not a patisserie, but rather a flaky pastry, a member of the Austrian-inspired “Vienna bread” category that swept Paris in the 19th century and has been the bread-making specialty ever since. Pastries, by definition, are not made from leavened dough and are far more delicate than even the airiest of chocolates.

From classic department stores to one-of-a-kind pastry places specializing in just one or two types of cake, here are the must-try pastry shops for any visitor to the French capital.

After founding the contemporary Bakery Liberté in 2013, Benoit Castel has continued the path of “liberating” French pastries from their notoriety in his eponymous shops, which break with tradition in more ways than one. Marrying the idea of a café and the idea of a pastry shop, Castel offers visitors the rare Parisian space where you can hunt for sweets on site.

Offerings range from simple travel cakes like almond flour donuts and madeleines to modern plays on classics like decadent savory or a lemon “tart” that features nine perfectly made dollops of buttermilk arranged across a square shortbread biscuit – one of the house’s specialties.

Oversized cream puffs are filled with coffee or chocolate; Seasonal offerings such as Tarte Tatin or Clafoutis make the most of fresh fruit.

Once an employee of his now arch-rival Ladurée, Pierre Hermé had risen to become the invaluable Macron king of Paris. Its offerings range from classics like chocolate and caramel to seasonal offerings inspired from elsewhere. Strawberries are paired with Japanese wasabi, pistachios, and sour cherries with a hint of cinnamon.

What Pierre Hermé did for macarons, Gilles Marshall made the humble but delicious travel cake that is Madeleine. The shell-shaped cake is supposed to have its origins in the eastern French region of Lorraine at the time of the exile of deposed Polish King Stanislas I. During a state dinner, during which the pastry chef walked out. After a dispute with the court jester (you can’t really make this stuff up), a young woman working in the kitchen prepared it. This simple butter cake that has become a favorite all over France ever since.

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