The ultimate guide to the best pastries in Paris.
Many of the world’s most famous desserts originated from France, and we think simply being in Paris is the perfect excuse to indulge. Whether you’re looking for a midday snack or an after-dinner treat, here are 12 of the finest sweets Paris has to offer and where to find them.
Macaron – Pierre Hermé
Famous French pastry chef Pierre Hermé opened his first bakery in 1998 selling various sweets, but he’s primarily known for his meringue-based sandwich cookies, or macarons. Of the countless macaron brands in Paris, this is the one most preferred by locals. Hermé is often referred to as a “pastry provocateur,” due to his unique flavor combinations like Mogador (milk chocolate and passion fruit) and Alto (gingerbread and caramel). You can find multiple bakery locations throughout Paris, so make sure to check one out before you leave for home.
Mont-Blanc – Angelina
Opened in 1903 by confectioner Anton Rumplemayer, Angelina is an Art Nouveau café where Coco Chanel used to frequent. High society French women often used to host events in the elegant space, sharing various delectable treats. Today, it’s one of the best places to satisfy your sweet tooth with the signature Mont-Blanc, a chestnut-flavored tart resembling the mountain it’s named after, with a fine dusting of powdered sugar on top. The coveted recipe hasn’t changed since its inception in the early 20th century, citing its popularity and prestige.
Paris-Brest – Stohrer
51 Rue Montorgueil, 75002 Paris, France
Founded by the pastry chef for King Louis XV in 1730, Stohrer is a certified historical monument as the oldest pâtisserie in Paris. Inside, you’ll find intricate chandeliers and murals painted by Paul Baudry, whose work is also on display in the Opera Garnier. Once the initial shock of the beautiful interior wears off, you can begin the search for the perfect Paris-Brest. The praline cream filled choux pastry is traditionally shaped like wheel, as it was named after a bike race route that spans from Paris to Brest. The shop sells small, individual-sized versions perfect for solo travelers who don’t want to miss out on the soft, flaky dough and crunchy caramelized hazelnuts of Stohrer’s legendary Paris-Brest.
Croissant – Cedric Grolet
35 Av. de l'Opéra, 75002 Paris, France
Winner of the World’s Best Pastry Chef award in 2017, it’s no wonder the croissants at Cédric Grolet Opéra are regarded as some of the best in Paris. Even locals join the queue for a taste of the warm, buttery deliciousness. Good croissants are the epitome of the French pastry: layers upon layers of melt-in-your-mouth dough, so simple yet so notoriously difficult to master. Cédric Grolet certainly rose to the occasion, with Insta-worthy croissants that might taste even better than they look – if you can believe it.
Escargot Chocolat Pistache – Du Pains et des Idées
34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, France
Housed in a historic building dating back to 1875 with antique décor and an intricately painted glass ceiling, Du Pain et des Idées started as the passion project of international award-winning baker, Christophe Vasseur. The shop is known for its Escargot Chocolat Pistache, swirls of airy dough filled with pistachio cream and bits of chocolate (don’t worry – the escargot part of the name comes from the shape, rather than the ingredients). This cleverly named pastry is sure to become your new favorite treat after just one bite of the heavenly chocolate pistachio flavor combination.
Millefeuille – Carl Marletti
51 Rue Censier, 75005 Paris, France
At Carl Marletti, even the classics are revamped in new and ingenious ways. Every pastry here is an outright work of art, with perfectly balanced flavors so you can taste it all in a single bite. The star of the show here is undoubtedly the millefeuille, featuring layers of light and refreshing Madagascar vanilla cream between caramelized puff pastry perfection. This airy, buttery treat translating to “one thousand layers” is a truly gourmet dessert.
Chocolat chaud – Carette
Opened in 1927, Carette is a favorite among tourists and locals alike, with an art deco interior, giving the place an old school brasserie kind of vibe. The tearoom is right across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, perfect for sitting out on the terrace with a sweet snack or two. Parisian hot chocolate, or chocolat chaud, is made by melting dark chocolate into boiling cream, making it much thicker, creamier, and richer than other variations. Carette’s chocolat chaud in particular has become a viral sensation, served with a heaping bowl of fresh whipped cream on the side. Despite the steep price, Parisian hot chocolate is one of those things you just have to try once, and Carette is the place to do it.
Éclair – Jacques Genin
133 Rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris, France
Pastry chef and chocolatier Jacques Genin may be known for his chocolates and caramels, but don’t overlook the éclairs; his are some of the best in town. One of the most classic French pastries, éclairs are elongated choux dough pastries full of various types of custard and coated with flavored icing. The pastries come in countless different flavors from the typical chocolate, caramel, and coffee, to the more imaginative mango and matcha. It may not be hard to find good éclairs in Paris, but it’s certainly not easy to find any as great as the ones at Jacques Genin.
Profiterole – La Closerie des Lilas
171 Bd du Montparnasse, 75006 Paris, France
Referred to as the “Hemingway Bar,” due to the author’s tendency to hole up in a quiet corner to write, La Closerie des Lilas is a gourmet restaurant with a rich history. Since its opening, the bar has been a famous meeting place for artists due to its classy ambiance and greenery. In conjunction with its esteemed past, the restaurant is also the best place in Paris to get profiteroles (balls of choux pastry, filled with light cream and dipped in chocolate). Here, the dish comes with 3 large cream puffs covered in a chocolate sauce and lightly dusted with powdered sugar: inarguably the best way to end a delicious meal.
Pain au chocolat – Laurent Duchene
2 Rue Wurtz, 75013 Paris, France
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Laurent Duchene puts equal emphasis on presentation as he does taste, resulting in delicious treats that would not be amiss in the Louvre. Fresh ingredients and indisputable passion are what helped this pâtissier become l’Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (one of the best craftsmen in France), an extraordinarily huge honor, especially when awarded at just 30 years old. Knowledge of his expertise has made Laurent Duchene’s shop exceedingly popular, so you’ll definitely want to arrive early in the day if you’re trying to snag a croissant before they’re sold out. While everything here is world-class, the chocolate croissants are in a league of their own. More rectangular than their plain counterparts, pain au chocolat consist of flaky layers of yeast-leavened dough, complete with softened sticks of chocolate in the middle. The classic pastries are an absolute must-try in Paris, and Laurent Duchene is the place to go.
Madeleine – Pâtisserie Gilles Marchal
9 Rue Ravignan, 75018 Paris, France
Best known for their exquisitely flavored madeleines, Pâtisserie Gilles Marchal is dessert heaven for lovers of the soft, buttery sponge cookies. Raspberry, lemon zest, and salted butter caramel are just a few of the 40 different madeleine varieties found throughout the year, and we don’t blame you if you’re tempted to try them all. Marchal is often considered the maestro of madeleines, and one bite of the treat is sure to have you nodding in agreement.
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Sésame Citron Vert – Boulangerie Utopie
20 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011 Paris, France
Voted Best Bakery in France in 2016, Boulangerie Utopie boasts unique and inventive recipes, featuring creative new specials every weekend. The current local favorite is the Sésame Citron Vert, a lime sesame tart not dissimilar to the popular lemon poppyseed flavor combination. Sweet and sour meld together with a delightfully crunchy shortbread base under a dome of black sesame mouse topped with lime confit. Boulangerie Utopie is the place to try fun new foods just like this fresh and innovative pastry that’s sure to delight your tastebuds.