Window shopping for cake is my favourite pastime and I adore admiring French patisseries. Paris’s Left Bank is packed with patisseries and chocolatiers so it’s heaven for cake voyeurs and baking addicts. Carrie Bradshaw may have tirelessly admired shoes whereas for me it’s choux.
Left Bank resident and friend Hilda took me on a walking tour around the Rue du Bac and surrounding neighbourhood. It has become a pastry magnet in the past ten years and you can visit most of the biggest names in French patisserie within a walkable area.
A walking tour of Paris patisseries
Now obviously it would have been nutritionally irresponsible for me to try ALL of these in one trip. I limited myself to some Eric Kayser pistachio cake and some Christophe Adam eclairs and merely drooled over the rest. But I have so many delicacies to work my way through it’s a great excuse to take my family back to Paris. Frankly I could hop on Eurostar every weekend for six months and only scratch the surface.
So meanwhile at home I’ll have to follow these French patisseries on social media. Or console myself with visiting the best bakeries in London whilst working my way through the Bake Off Creme de la Creme cook book.
In no particular order, here are the places Hilda showed me and a few others nearby also worth pointing out. Some of these businesses have branches elsewhere in Paris but the Left Bank is a great place to explore lots of Paris patisseries within a short distance.
If you know someone who would enjoy these recommendations then do please share this post!
[L’innovation… dans le goût et les ingrédients] Notre maison compte dans ses gènes celui de l’innovation : cela ne se limite pas aux processus et aux boutiques, mais concerne aussi les produits et le goût ! Peut-être avez vous remarqué de nouveaux ingrédients dans nos sandwiches, salades et gourmandises : graines de chia, baies de Goji, chou Kale… autant de produits sains qui correspondent aux attentes de chacun en matière d’alimentation. [Innovation… in taste and ingredients] Our House has in its genes the innovation: this is not limited to processes and to the shops, but also concerns the products and taste! You may have noticed new ingredients in our sandwiches, salads and sweets: Chia seeds, Goji berries, Kale cabbage… so many healthy products that meets everyone expectations of food.#kayser #maisonkayser #erickayser #healthy
1. Maison Kayser
Envie de fraises ? #dalloyau #fraisier A photo posted by DALLOYAU Paris Official (@dalloyauparis) on
It seems unfair when Angelina produce a vast array of amazing cakes that it’s their hot chocolate that gets all the attention. Having tried one I could see why. Made from three kinds of African cocoas from Ivory Coast, Ghana and Niger, it’s no exaggeration to say you can almost stand the spoon up in it. Their chestnut mont blancs are another speciality. Established in 1903, both Marcel Proust and Coco Chanel were frequent visitors to Angelina’s original Belle Epoque Louvre salon but this quieter branch on Rue du Bac is one of nine alternatives around Paris.
Surprise au 27 rue de Varenne La boutique est parée de couleurs pour Pâques et la collection Tanabata ! ? #jacquesgenin #pâques #pâques2016 #chocolat #chocolatier #chocolats #chocolates #chocolate #tanabata #tanabatafestival #easter #easteregg #easter2016 #paris #ruedevarenne #ruedubac #paris7 #merchandising #visualmerchandising #vitrines #vitrine #windowdisplay A photo posted by Jacques Genin (@jacquesgenin) on
4. Jacques Genin
#easter 2016 Nous serons ouvert lundi de pâques aux mêmes horaires que d’habitude. #clairedamon #chocolate #chocolat A photo posted by des gâteaux et du pain (@desgateauxetdupain) on
5. Des Gateaux et Du Pain
Claire Damon’s sleek modern premises feel more like a fashion store than a bakery. Trained by Pierre Hermé, over the past ten years she’s established herself as a favourite of on the Paris patisserie trail and a role model attracting more women to the profession.
Les kits sont à l’honneur ce mois-ci à @lagrandeepicerie : prenez le temps de préparer quelques douceurs pour toute la famille ce week-end ! Our event “C’est vous le chef” goes on: take time to enjoy cooking for your familly this weekend! #LaGrandeEpicerie #CestVousLeChef #MaisonDeLaChantilly A photo posted by La Grande Epicerie de Paris (@lagrandeepicerie) on
6. La Grande Epicerie de Paris
La Grande Epicerie de Paris is the food hall arm of department store Bon Marché (no connection to the low cost fashion chain in the UK). Similar in scale to Harvey Nichols’ or Fortnum and Mason food halls, La Grande Epicerie was a fusion of upmarket grocery store and gift shop stocking foodie gifts from many big name French brands.
7. Hugo & Victor
Headed by award winning pastry chef Hugues Pouget, Hugo & Victor describes itself as “a universe of its own”. Their star flavours of chocolate, vanilla and caramel are sold all year round whereas other flavours are sold when “in season” for a true gourmet experience.
8. La Patisserie des Reves
With their iconic glass dome displays, La Patisserie des Reves is a visually memorable experience.
9. Chocolat Chapon
11. L’Eclair de Genie
My favourite eclairs! I saw this lemon yuzu eclair on Facebook recently and knew I had to get back to L’Eclair de Genie to try one. The salt caramel one on the right was an old favourite I’d tried last year. Christophe Adam has several branches of L’Eclair de Genie and also makes eclair shaped tarts topped with fruit. I will have to try those out next time.
Thank You @judithraenyc for this beautiful photograph of our bread rolls! #painpoilane #judithraephotography #bread #rolls #photography A photo posted by Poilane (Page Officielle) (@painpoilane) on
There was uproar in the UK when Poilâne’s loaves of rustic bread went on sale for £4 a piece but it’s a travesty anyone compare their wares with the sliced white variety. Poilâne make the ultimate sourdough bread using sea salt from the Guerande and the best wheat from their suppliers. I keep a loaf in the freezer and toast it a slice at a time for a treat with homemade soup.
13. Pierre Hermé
Also famous for his macarons, Pierre Hermé is another 21st century pastry chef to have become a global phenomenon and was described by Vogue magazine as “the Picasso of Pastry.”
A photo posted by LADUREE PARIS OFFICIEL (@maisonladuree) on
Picture Kerstin Dunst as Marie Antoinette in Sofia Coppola’s movie and that’s a good description of the atmosphere at Ladurée. They’re best known for macarons and choux pastry religeuses and an elegant destination for afternoon tea. The Rue Bonaparte corner shop branch with iconic eau de nil frontage is a must see. I wrote a post about the Laduree window displays in 2012.
Iridescent colours and intense flavours, Pierre Marcolini’s macarons are generous, light and delicious! Regram @blanccoco_food #PierreMarcolini #Macaron A photo posted by Pierre Marcolini (@pierremarcolini) on
15. Pierre Marcolini
An haute chocolatier born in Belgium, Pierre Marcolini was crowned World Pastry Champion in 1995 and now has branches around the world. His range includes macarons as well as chocolates.
Thank you Jenn ?? Posted by @jennyeesf – LE THE VERT Matcha and salted caramel tart (cut so you can see the layers). At @sadaharuaoki, they put an Asian twist on French pastries. I wouldn’t think to put green tea and caramel together but it works. Caramel was a little overpowering but I can’t complain because it’s so good. #jennyeeParis #paris6 A photo posted by pâtisserie Sadaharu AOKI paris (@sadaharuaoki) on
16. Sadaharu Aoki
A Japanese pastry chef firmly entrenched on the Paris patisserie scene for twenty years.
And just one more…
One of my favourites I sadly could not track down on Instagram or any social media at all for that matter – but it’s well worth a trip to…
17. Georges Larnicol
Maison du Georges Larnicol is somewhere I originally discovered and wrote about their St Malo branch back in 2010 but was later delighted to discover they had shops all over France.
It’s my favourite chocolate shop ever with endless displays of truffles, bars, biscuits and macarons. I feel like Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka’s garden when I walk into this place. They have a very satisfying self service display in the manner of old fashioned Woolworths’ pick and mix and I frequently leave with about 5 different bags. The kouign amann Breton pastries and chocolate seagulls’ eggs are my favourites.
132 Boulevard Saint-Germain
We were guests of Eurocamp to review Maisons-Laffitte campsite on this trip. Huge thanks to my friend Hilda for guiding me around her neighbourhood!