The Best Sweets in Paris

When it comes to pâtisseries and candy shops in Paris, a ranking of ten just isn’t enough. Here are some of the best spots in the capital you (and your belly) won’t want to miss.

22 Rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris, France
After glowing stints at Fauchon and Le Bon Marché, pastry chef and author Sébastien Gaudard opened his own pâtisserie on rue des Martyrs, just south of Pigalle, 9 months ago; the speed of his ascent into the annals of traditional pastry-making left him and his team of 14 stunned. But it’s no surprise he achieved such wild success so quickly - he doesn’t just revisit pastry classics, he brings them back to life giving new vigor to everything from the Paris-Brest and Mont Blanc to Tarte au Citron, macarons and divine chocolates. His shop feels like an old school candy store with jars full of French bonbons and cases full of indulgent desserts. It’s a stunning pastry shop with stellar sweets well worth the detour for those staying (or living, like myself) on the other side of the city. In the summer, try a carton of their homemade ice cream. click on the link below for more photos!
226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Yes, Angelina on the Rue de Rivoli (around the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre) is a tourist spot, but it is still one of the best places in Paris for hot chocolate. Their menu of pastries and other small dishes is good, but don’t miss out on the hot chocolate. It is also a fun place to people watch, as there is a mixture of tourists, diplomats and government workers, and grandes dames who frequent the cafe to get their sweet tooth fix. Sit as table 11 (3rd from the back against the mirror) and you’ll sit where Coco Chanel took her hot chocolate nearly every day.
47 Rue de l'Abbé Grégoire
With the opening of this salon-de-thé meets pâtisserie in August, the left bank got a lot more interesting. Graduates of Ferrandi cooking school, Charlotte Siles and Guillaume Gil sought to create a contemporary environment where gourmands of every age could protract the experience of tucking into a time-tested French treat - no need to rush out the door after purchasing that tarte au citron, you can cozy up with a book (or laptop, as it were) and enjoy your sinful snack with an espresso or cup of tea. When it came to designing the space, the couple took cues from Charlotte’s itinerant childhood, hewing to exotic decorative pieces, unique furnishings and a vibrant color palette to accent the white walls. That alone sets it apart from most tea salons. But the duo took it a step further, offering a market-fresh savory menu for lunch and brunch that is out of this world. So while most of what reigns cool in Paris is still situated rive droite, Colorova’s masterful mix of haute pâtisserie and design makes for one worthy reason to cross the river.
21 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France
The French are well known for their delicate baguettes, the ricH butter croissants, and sweet and colorful macaroons. Macaroons or in French ‘le macaron,’ are small round meringue like cookies, made of sugar and eggs, stuffed with light cream or crushed almond cream. There are endless bakeries in Paris, and so many patisseries that sell and serve macaroons but my favorite one was Ladurée, which became a prestigious brand name for macaroons. My most visited Ladurée was the one on 21 Rue Boneparte, a cute cornered patisserie with a colorful magical and tempting gift shop next door.
34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, France
Situated a block from the Canal St-Martin in the 10th arrondissement, Du Pain et des Idées is your favorite corner bakery—only better. The owner, Christophe Vasseur, was named best boulanger in Paris in 2008, and for good reason. From hearth breads to viennoiseries, everything is crafted to perfection. If you’re discerning about your bread, don’t leave without a slab of the signature loaf, the pain des amis—masterfully crusted on the outside and airy and fluffy on the inside, just waiting to be buttered. But Vasseur’s masterpiece is the chocolate-pistachio escargot pastry, a snail-shaped treat with pistachio paste slathered in between layers of puff pastry and punctuated with dark chocolate chips. This isn’t an optional stop along your Paris visit—it’s a must. But be aware: The shop is open only Monday to Friday.
16 Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris, France
Even after six years in Paris, I still find myself overwhelmed by the heaps of flaky pastries and dainty, multi-layer desserts that line bakery windows. These local joints on each block reel in passersby with the potent scent of butter and chocolate and the abiding hope of scoring a straight-from-the-oven baguette ‘tradition’, making it difficult to discern at first glance the mediocre shops from the stellar ones worth the visit. As varied and enticing as the local pastry shops are, so too are the internationally celebrated hautes pâtisseries (but not all of them are created equal!). There’s fiery debate over which shop has the best macarons - Ladurée or Pierre Hermé - but I think the sample must be made far larger. Café Pouchkine has been a sweets destination in Russia since 1999 with a particular focus on merging local and French influences. In Paris, the shop is situated on the ground floor of the Printemps department store, ornate in its design and decor which were influenced by 18th century Russian royalty. From the moment they set up shop in Paris, they were apt to compete among the French greats. Tweaks to French classics, including the use of some Russian ingredients, is stock in trade here and the result is a positively heady mix of sights and flavors. For serious French macaron fans, don’t miss Pouchkine’s divine interpretation.
72 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France
The great macaron debate may forever wage on, but from the first time I tucked into a small box of Pierre Hermé's diminutive cookies, perfectly crisp on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth soft on the inside, I knew I’d remain loyal to his interpretation. Perhaps best known for his unique flavors—foie gras and chocolate, lemon and fennel, vanilla and basil, among many others—it’s his Ispahan croissant, with rose almond paste and crushed raspberry flakes, that really keeps me going back.
93 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris, France
I had my misgivings about La Patisserie des Rêves (literally, the pastry shop of dreams). Widely hyped since its opening in 2009, Philippe Conticini’s whimsical space breaks with traditional codes both in decor and dessert. I had seen photos of his immaculate creations enclosed in temperature-controlled glass domes suspended from the ceiling like protected jewels and I wasn’t convinced I’d appreciate the experience. The shop initially felt impersonal but I was willing to give it a chance during a food tour with Context Travel. One bite of the tarte au citron- perfectly tart - and I joined the ranks of Conticini fanatics. While you’ll be tempted by mostly everything tucked neatly into pristine bell jars, you shold head to the viennoiserie shelf and pick up a Kouign Aman, the best outside of Brittany.
36 Rue Laffitte, 75009 Paris, France
I’ve tried many chocolates and candies in Paris—some stellar and unforgettable—but the only confiseur and chocolatier that makes me smile when I think about it is Fouquet. Aside from the impressive selection of candied fruits, dragées, and chocolates, I’m most taken by the store’s modesty. Perhaps it’s a result of its history as the oldest candy shop in Paris or its clear dedication to the business (the current owner, Frédéric Chambeau, left his position as an engineer to take over the company with his sister, Catherine Vaz). Either way, you won’t find contrived friendliness or affectation here—just a warm welcome and a veritable passion for sweets. I’m always torn between the croquants (crunchy chocolates) and the marshmallows (pictured), which are the latest additions to the Fouquet menu. Make a trip here not only to show your friends that you know more French sweets than the macaroon, but also because everything it does—from the preparation to the packaging—is exquisite.
24 Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris, France
Here at the très chic Boulangerie Fauchon, on the Place de la Madeleine in the heart of Paris, the loaves can look almost too good to eat. In French, the idiomatic equivalent for ‘window-shopping’ is “leche-vitrine,” which literally means ‘window-licking'—appropriate for staring in the storefront of a bakery on a cold February day!
42 Rue Jacob, 75006 Paris, France
The last time Paris ran out of bread, there was a revolution. Now the price of baguettes and the days bakeries close are monitored to ensure affordable, fresh bread is available in every neighborhood every day of the week. Pôilane is popular for its remarkable country loafs (pain de campagne) and Du Pain et des Idées for their baguettes. Gerard Mulot and Blé Sucré are particularly famous for viennoiseries which include croissants, pain au chocolat and apple turnovers that locals usually enjoy over breakfast. Pâtisseries with tantalizing names like Pâtisserie des Rêves (the dream pastry shop) or the friendly Joséphine, display traditional eclairs, tarts and macarons next tempting desserts that look almost too pretty to eat.
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