While there are plenty of savory dishes to enjoy while in Paris – steak frites, anyone? – for me, Paris will always be about the sweets. From macarons to mille-feuille, sugary confections are everywhere in the City of Lights. And, since Paris is an eminently walkable city, you always have this excuse in your back pocket: I walked a lot today; I deserve an éclair.
As an avid reader of travel and expat blogs, many of them Paris-based, I had compiled quite the list of sweet spots I wanted to visit on this trip to Paris. While I couldn’t fit in all of them, I did manage to have more than my share of sweets while there. Here, then, a few favorites.
L’Éclair de Génie:
Of all the places high atop my “must visit” pastry shop list, L’Éclair de Génie was the clear number one. It seems like, for the past year or so, every time I’ve seen someone post about going to Paris on Instagram, a picture of these ubiquitous éclairs showed up on their feeds. Were these éclairs really worth the hype? Yes, oh yes.
Tucked away in Le Marais, the treats at L’Éclair de Génie are miniature works of art, topped with vibrant icings, fresh fruits, and gold-leafed candy. The best part is that they taste just as good as they look. The only downside here is the price; at five euro a piece, these éclairs are not the cheapest treat – but, in my opinion, they are totally worth every euro.
Getting there: 14 Rue Pavée, 75004 Paris, France (Métro: Saint-Paul)
Ask just about anyone in Paris, and I bet they would tell you this: Laduree may have the prettiest packaging, and it may be the shop that everyone knows about – but it doesn’t have the best macarons. As such, I figured it was time for me to expand my Parisian macaron knowledge.
There are a ton of macaron places I wanted to try in Paris, but I had to settle for just one on this trip, so I figured I would go with a classic: Pierre Hermé. There are branches located throughout the city, but I opted for the one located in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. And, though all the pastries at Pierre Hermé were ogle-worthy, I had to go with the classic macarons, my favorite flavor of which was the Miléna, a combination of fresh mint and red berries. Pro tip: take your macarons to the nearby Luxembourg Gardens and snack in the park.
Getting there: 72 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France (Métro: Saint-Sulpice)
I was on the fence about Angelina. On the one hand, it’s known to be touristy, crowded, and overpriced. But on the other hand…chocolat chaud.
Yes, I went to Angelina for the hot chocolate, just like everyone else does. It comes piping hot and crazy thick, and it feels incredibly indulgent (oh, and, delicious too). As for the rest of the food at Angelina? Meh. It’s unremarkable and skippable, in my opinion. But that hot chocolate is well worth making the trip and braving the crowds.
Getting there: 226 Rue Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France (Métro: Tuileries)
Confession: With drizzly skies and cool temperatures throughout my visit, it wasn’t exactly ice cream weather when I visited Paris. But do you think I would really let a little detail like the weather prevent me from sampling some gelato, particularly gelato that has been expertly sculpted into a photo-worthy flower shape by the folks at Amorino? Not a chance.
There are Amorino outposts all around the city, but I opted for the one close to my “home” on Rue Cler. I chose caramel with salted butter and Speculoos as my two flavors, which comprise a gelato match made in heaven in my humble opinion.
Getting there: 42 Rue Cler, 75007 Paris, France (Métro: École Militaire)
If you’re looking for a snack that’s indulgent yet won’t leave you in a sugar coma for the rest of the day, the miniature cream puffs at Odette just may be your best bet (if, of course, you have enough self-control to only eat one of them). There are plenty of flavors to choose from here, but the coffee cream puffs just may have been my favorite. Plus, Odette is right down the street from Notre Dame, so I grabbed my cream puffs and headed for the cathedral, parking on a bench in front to enjoy my snacks – a pretty magical way to enjoy a cream puff, if you ask me.
Getting there: 77 Rue Galande, 75005 Paris, France (Métro: Cluny – La Sorbonne)
Les Fées Patissières:
In terms of edible works of art, the tiny delights at Les Fées Patissières just might rival L’Éclair de Génie for beauty. The best way I can think of to describe these little guys are as cream puff cupcakes, which is convenient as I find both cream puffs and cupcakes to be pretty delicious on their own. I can’t tell you which favor here was my favorite, as I had a bit of trouble reading the labels and mostly chose my pastries on the theory of “which one looks the cutest?” (a solid strategy, to be honest). What I can tell you is this: be careful if you’re transporting these treats on the Métro, as they’re quite delicate.
Getting there: 21 Rue Rambuteau, 75004 Paris, France (Métro: Rambuteau)
If you are looking to dive deep into a sugar coma in Paris, I would highly recommend any – or all – of the places listed above. They may be calorie-laden, but if you want to indulge, there really is no better place than Paris.