Spending last fall in Paris, I knew I would have ample time to revisit all my favorite sweet spots plus discover plenty of new ones. And as a type A person determined to make the most of her time in the city, I kept a constantly updated note on my iPhone that tracked all the spots I wanted to try. Over the course of four-ish months, I wound up checking off a lot of the treats on my list – though, since it’s Paris, it goes without saying that there are a lot more left for later visits.
There are plenty of other eclairs in Paris, but I always wind up gravitating toward L’Éclair de Génie. For one, there’s a branch in one of my favorite neighborhoods (Le Marais, but of course). And for another, they’re just so damn pretty! Little, delicious works of art.
Whenever I’m abroad, there’s always one question I struggle with: what sort of gifts should I bring home? In Paris, I’ve found the ultimate answer: treats from Jacques Genin. While there are a million things to choose from (and all of them great), I’ve discovered that the number one showstopper are their pâte de fruits. The flavors are pure and pack a real punch, and my family always gobbles them up.
Though neither of us are morning people, a friend and I decided to make it a priority to grab a fancy breakfast at Angelina one day before heading into work (conveniently, our office was just around the corner). Angelina is touristy and pricey, and not everything on its menu is a hit (cough scrambled eggs cough), but I still find myself always enjoying the experience. One item there that is 100% worth the hype? The chocolat chaud. Paired with the pain perdu, it was a decadent morning, to say the least.
Just down the street from Angelina, I had another very elegant experience taking afternoon tea at Le Meurice. As afternoon teas go, it’s pretty standard, but a few things stand out: the room itself (the ceiling is gorgeous) and the fact that they bring out trays of fresh, literally just-from-the-oven madeleines. Oooh la la!
Of all the sweets in Paris, one of the most intriguing has to be Aux Merveilleux de Fred. Little meringues coated in whipped cream, merveilleux are airy, delicious, and picture perfect.
One of my favorite little luxuries in Paris? Grabbing an outdoor table at Odette (from which you can peer down the road and catch a glimpse of Notre Dame) and having a cream puff or two. Aren’t they adorable?
When I saw a picture of l’escargot chocolat pistache on Instagram, I knew I had to book it to Du Pain et Des Idées and score one for myself. And let me tell you: this was just as good as the ‘gram promised me it would be. The chocolate and pistachio combination is to die for. Plus isn’t Du Pain’s storefront just lovely?
One thing I’ve come to realize: though the ever ubiquitous macaron would seem to be the blogger’s best friend, I don’t actually care for macarons that much. Quelle nightmare! Of late I’ve concluded that, to me, most macarons taste exactly the same (like pure sugar). The one exception: salted caramel macarons, which are just about the only flavor I buy any longer. And to get them, head to the Pierres: Pierre Hermé and Pierre Marcolini, both of which whip up a mean salted caramel mac. Pierre Hermé is pictured below, and let me tell you, if you can manage to eat a salted caramel macaron while strolling through the Jardin du Luxembourg on the perfect autumn day, you pretty much are living the dream.
Fun fact: the first fancy schmancy Parisian pastry I ever had was at Fauchon, way back in the summer of 2006. I vividly remember getting off the Métro, guidebook clutched in hand, and making my way timidly into the shop: the éclairs were all miniature works of art (I couldn’t believe that one of them was frosted in blue and green), the salespeople intimidated me, and I had never felt so fancy in my life. Flash forward a decade, and I found myself living right near that very Fauchon (because life is funny like that, isn’t it?). And so, to celebrate my first day back in the city, I made my way to Fauchon and bought one veeeeery patriotic éclair. Vive la France indeed.
And there you have it: fall 2015, as told by pastries. I am already counting down the days – literally – until I can go back and discover even more sweet spots in “my” beloved Paris.