Paris Tips: 4 Favorite Splurge-Worthy Sweet Spots
By Theadora Brack
Feeling very much like a sweet voluptuous tart this week, I’ve decided to update my personal list of favorite splurge-worthy treats in Paris. I’ll also include a few tips, sweet spots, and flashbacks, too. So grab a spoon and a blindfold—let’s make a squeal!
Tip: You’ll find pâtisseries on practically every block in the city, so keep your head and be selective. I recommend starting your gastronomical quest with a little “window licking” (faire du lèche-vitrine) because sometimes it is possible to judge a joint by its cover—or window display. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a line snaking out the door. That’s always a good sign of the times!
The ultimate instant sugar blush—but what-the-hey? “We all have sins to confess!” That’s what she said. She being Catherine de Medici, whose Italian pastry master chefs introduced the macaron to France in the 16th century, and they’ve been a dessert staple in old Parigi ever since.
Long live the queen!
So where to go?
Since 1862, Ladurée has been donning pastels like no other. Belle Époch poster artist Jules Chéret outfitted their Saint-Germain tea salon at 21 Rue Bonaparte. Gone Baroque, putti make a dramatic fly-by, dressed as pastry chefs. Pack a hankie and comfortable shoes. The wait time in line is sometimes a full hour!
What’s New Pussycat? Every year Ladurée Chef Vincent Lemains rolls out a “flavor of the year,” along with a matching set of gift boxes.
Recently, the shop curled up with Hello Kitty and Lanvin artistic designer Alber Elbaz. According to Ladurée, Elbaz’s bubble gum-flavored macarons “not only make women beautiful but also prove that sweets and beauty can go hand in hand.” Mais oui!
Dear Sex and the City Fans, Carrie Bradshaw “ate here” during the season six finale. Also, Ladurée’s macaron pastel colors inspired the color schemes in Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette.” These little beauties make cameo appearances throughout the flick!
On the flip side, sparky new kid on the block Gérard Mulot at 76 Rue de Seine has been pouring on the pizazz with a vibrant palette since 1975. From the get-glow, Mulot’s shops, macaroons, and gift boxes have been bursting with his trademark set of fluorescent colors. Tours of the flagship and workshop at 93 Rue Glacière are offered. Contact the shop prior to your visit.
Let’s not forget also to mention Christophe Roussel’s chocolate-dipped macarons at the Chocolats and Macarons shop at 5 rue Tardieu. Located in Montmartre, the shop’s interior is bright and trippy, rocking a psychedelic color scheme in green, purple, pink, and orange.
Here I felt a groovitational pull and—in a fit of crave—I scored macarons by the dozen. Soon I was in the 5th Dimension, embracing the sugar rush, and singing “Let the Sunshine in” as I floated up, up and away to the “I love you” wall in the square behind the entrance to Metro Abbesses. Sometimes a nod to peace, love and understanding is infectious!
Tartes and Cakes
Again, Gérard Mulot Pâtisserie tops my list. Along with their macarons, you’ll find a mind-boggling array of tartes and cakes that are gastronomical works of art. With provocative names like “Magie Noir,” “Sortilège,” “Coeur Frivole,” and “Miroir Passion,” the sculpture-like sweets will seductively lure and tempt like sirens, so pace yourself!
After picking up your treats at Mulot, I suggest trekking to the Musée Rodin Sculpture Garden at 79, rue de Varenne. The walk should take you about 45 minutes, but with the architectural tours de force whizzing by, it will feel like fifteen.
With your Mulot sweets beside you in the Rose Garden, you’ll be able to delight your tongue while feasting your eyes on Rodin’s chocolaty bronzes and sugary marbles (a comparison that even the artist himself was aware of; he sometimes called them his “pâtisseries”). Oh, la la. You get the picture!
Tips for the road
Don’t leave Paris without tasting a tarte at Les Petits Mitrons. Located in Montmartre at 26 rue Lepic in Abbesses, the shop is just up the rue from the Moulin Rouge. You can’t beat Chef Samie Didda’s caramelized but light and fluffy bottoms! Single slices are available, too. His soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies are also to dive for, my friend. Looking for a picnic spot? The “I Love You” wall is just a hop, kiss and a jump away.
In the words of Julia Child, “Everything in moderation, including moderation!” Bon Appétit!