Fine French Patisseries, Pastries And Cakes Are The Parisian Affordable Luxury



In recent years, Paris has been witness to the trend of mono-product pastry boutiques. One of the great pastry shops that are doing this remarkably well are the Pouchkinette shops which specialize in cream puff pastries that come in fanciful flavors as thought up by their head pastry chef the "world's best" Julien Alvarez, such as rose petal, coffee and of course Tahitian vanilla. They also offer an array of divine French pastries as well as the best chocolate macaron in the city. Speaking of macarons, Laduree is still on the cutting edge and have just this year opened their boutique dedicated to that delicacy alone. But the pioneer in this mono-product strategy remains Aux Merveilleux which is a meringue, cream, chocolate flake cake-confection that must be tasted in order to be understood. Their lone shop in Passy has now duplicated around the city and can be found in the Marais and also near the Eiffel Tower.

French chefs are a competitive bunch, always striving for excellence and evolution. This couldn’t be more true for French pastry chefs. The friendly rivalry between top pastry chefs in Paris has always been present but in recent years it has become even more heightened. One of the greatest challenges for French Pastry Chef looking to stand out in Paris is to create a signature patisserie, or two, that requires you to make the pilgrimage to that particular shop in order to get it.

Pastry chefs who have succeeded in this are Christophe Michalak, now with several boutiques around Paris; Carl Marletti whose shop at the base of rue Mouffetard is so popular his full-sized cakes must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance; Sebastien Gaudard whose native Loire Valley roots has translated into fine pastries that are like eating chantilly lace; Gerard Mulot whose classic St. Germain des Pres location, now being overseen by his young new replacement Fabien Rouillard,  promises to maintain the tradition of their signature Amaryllis fine patisserie cake; and Aki Boulanger which, in good Japanese fashion, not only has mastered the skill of fine French pastry-making but added their own Japanese twist to the recipes. And if a good ol' layter cake with extra-whipped buttercream frosting is what your tastebuds dictate, look no farther than the 18th arrondissement where you'll find the newly opened Love & Cakes. 

Not on this list this time are the stalwarts (because they are on everybody’s best lists and therefore easy to find for yourself): Pierre Herme, voted the best pastry chef last year; Lenotre whose boutiques are still the bastion of classic French pastries such as the Millefeuille, the Opéra and the Fraisier; Dalloyau which stays with its classics and has been providing fine delectables to Parisians since the days of Louis XIV and Hugo & Victor whose shops continue to offer standout fine French pastries. Another young fine pastry entrepreneur, Cyril Lignac, has also expanded since I first wrote about him back in 2012, with two more shops opening recently. Pain de Sucre is another fabulous pastry shop just near the Centre Pompidou with original cakes that look almost too beautiful to eat. And for the sheer pleasure of making your walk around the prettiest parts of St. Germain des Pres sweeter, be sure to stop in at La Maison du Chou on the Place Furstenberg.

So, happy pastry hunting.The one really gratifying thing about French pastries, besides biting into one, is that they remain a thoroughly affordable Parisian luxury.

 

*When Lenôtre passed away in 2009, the French President at the time said, "He succeeded in raising...patisserie to the rank of an art." 


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7th Arondissement - Eiffel Tower
Aux Merveilleux de Fred
Photo courtesy of Aux Merveilleux


The Aux Merveilleux shops deserve to be credited as one of the very first (if not the very first) fine pastry shops in Paris who dared to offer one product and one product only. The Aux Merveilleux cakes are a tradition in French pastry that...  Read More


9
1er Arrondissement
Aki Boulanger
Photo courtesy of Aki Boulanger


This is a self-described franco-japanese pastry shop and bakery. The items here are reminiscent of what you find in Tokyo - meaning they are wonderfully japanized cakes and fine pastries such as matcha-flavored pastries and the classic doruyaki...  Read More


8
1er Arrondissement


Laduree does a lot of things very well, especially fine pastries. But few things in the world equal their mastery of le macaron. A dozen or so are emblematic and will always be there for you. While other flavors, like chef Claire Heitzler's...  Read More


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18ème Arrondissement
Love And Cakes
Photo courtesy of Love And Cakes


Searching for real buttercream frosting in Paris can be a challenge. In fact, after years of looking for the real thing (since Sugar Plum closed) you could say you just had to be satisfied with sugar icing in its place. But now, since late...  Read More


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5th Arondissement - Latin Quarte


This patisserie in the idyllic and old Latin Quarter of Paris will become as much a reason to visit this neighborhood as the nearby rue Mouffetard and the Arenes de Lutece. Every once in awhile a pastry chef comes along who has a hand so light...  Read More


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6th Arrondissement - Rive Gauche


Since embarking on his entrepreneurial endeavors, this pastry chef extraordinaire has been popping all over Paris. One of his newer shops is in the beautiful neighborhood of Place St. Sulpice. One of the best things about visiting the shop and...  Read More




He was voted France's best pastry chef in 2012 and ever since, his pastry shops in Paris have taken off. This location is particularly charming given that it is just across the street from the Tuileries and the Louvre Museum. The pastry shop...  Read More


3
6ème Arrondissement


For 40+ years Chef Patissier Gerard Mulot got up and made the day's pastries all from scratch here at this location. Late in 2016 he decided to retire and handed these tight, successful reins to the young Fabien Rouillard, also a Chef Patissier....  Read More


2
1er Arrondissement


A specialty shop of the very popular and Moscow-originated Cafe Pouchkine, this is where you go to get your cream puff fix. These aren't just any cream puffs, though. They are conceived of by Julien Alvarez, the pastry chef who has under his...  Read More


1
9ème Arrondissement


This is the pioneer patisserie in Paris that launched their no-gluten menu of fine French pastries. When they did that, several years ago, no one in this town was doing it yet. Since then, a number of their pastries have become cult classics and...  Read More


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Meet Paige Donner

Paige first arrived in Paris as a young bride in the early 90s, having uprooted herself from her native California.

Paige's latest novel, I'll Take Paris, is available on Kindle and Amazon....  More About Paige

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