Paris Holds the Key to My Heart Part 3: Fresh Bread!
When you think of Paris, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? That’s right, bread! From baguettes to croissants, you are never more than a block away from fresh bread, the smell wafting from all of the wonderful boulangeries.
Today we’ll be checking out all of the delicious cafes, bakeries, and boulangeries I had the pleasure of visiting on my first trip to Paris. Of course, there are so many amazing places that I didn’t get the chance to enjoy, but from the tiny sample size that I did, I can tell that Paris is every carb-lover’s dream.
This delightful bakery down the street the Place de la Bastille monument serves up some of the lightest and flakiest chocolate croissants in town! This shop was my first food stop once I got to Paris and it did not disappoint! The interior is cozy and filled with the wonderful smell and warmth of bread, and all of the pastries are fresh and affordable! My party got some chocolate croissants, a baguette, and a quiche and were able to enjoy our breads at the storefront where some chairs and tables are set up. While I definitely liked the treats we got from Ble Sucre, I wouldn't say it's the top boulangerie that I visited. I would come back for the croissant, but if you're looking for a really good baguette, I'd suggest Utopie (discussed below!)
Pierre Herme is a delightful patisserie chain in Paris (and other countries) that offers a pretty wide variety of treats. Across the city you’ll find cafes, restaurants, and macaron shops by the name of Pierre Herme, so depending on what you’re looking to try, you may need to look for a specific shop since not all items are offered at each location. I didn’t try the restaurant food, but I did get to try their wonderful pastries and macarons! The location on rue Bonaparte in the Saint-Germain neighborhood conveniently has a patisserie and a macaron shop across the street from each other. The one flavor I think is a must-try from Pierre Herme is ispahan. Ispahan is a signature flavor offered by Pierre Herme that is a combination of rose, lychee, and raspberry and it. is. heavenly. The shops offer an ispahan croissant and an ispahan macaron flavor that both must be enjoyed! (if you enjoy these flavors, of course) At the cafe, I tried both their ispahan croissant and their chocolate-pistachio croissant. The ispahan was definitely the favorite. It had a light rose-flavored glaze and candied rose petals that added a nice floral taste that wasn't too overbearing and really enjoyable! The chocolate pistachio croissant was mostly a chocolate croissant topped with pistachio pieces, which was also yummy and had a light pistachio flavor as well! The one item that was a disappointment for me were their lattes. I tried their lattes on two different occasions from two different locations, and both were similarly mostly milk (I recognize that lattes are mostly milk) with little to no espresso flavor - so it mostly just tasted like steamed milk. The macarons though, are amazing. I love the unique and seasonal flavors they have like ispahan, mogador (chocolate and passion fruit), and chocolate and foie gras among their other inventive flavor combinations! And it definitely doesn’t hurt that their tin boxes are absolutely adorable.
If there was only one boulangerie that I could recommend, this would 100% be the one! And actually, this is the only place that I visited more than once on my trip! Like many of the boulangeries, this is a very small local shop, and its flavors and pastries are so popular they often run out before they close! But you’ll also want to avoid arriving too early in the morning because not all of their pastry options are available either, so really you’ll want to hit the sweet spot of a late morning arrival if you want your pick of treats. The one thing you’ll likely be able to get whatever be the time is the delicious charcoal baguettes. Their beautifully crafted baguettes have such a delightfully soft and light crumb with a yummy crust that isn’t too tough, but has a really nice bite. They also have many black sesame pastries, like roules and eclairs, which I desperately wanted to try but many of which weren’t ready since I had gotten to the bakery right at opening. I was able to try the black sesame roule though, and it was absolutely delicious! The sesame flavor was very strong and the pastry was not too sweet, so it hit the spot just right! My sister also purchased the matcha loaf and she was completely enamored with it, and though I didn’t try it, I’d definitely take her word for it.
Du Pain et des Idees
When you’re on a stakeout for iconic baked goods to try out while you’re trekking through Paris streets, you might find yourself crossing paths with Du Pain et des Idees. This bakery located along the Seine is popular for many pastries, one of which is the classic escargot. They’re very well known for their chocolate-pistachio escargot in particular. So of course this had to be the pastry that I got my hands on! This bakery is a cute little corner shop with a large picnic style bench on the outside so you can sit and enjoy your pastries, or you can take a short walk to the Seine and relax there (though I have to admit, the cleanliness along the Seine in this area was rather lacking). I'm a bit sad to say, for the hype I read about for the escargot pastries from this place, I was rather on the disappointed side. The pastry was definitely a good one, but it wasn't super stand-out and I actually didn't get any pistachio flavor from the pastry. It mostly just tasted like a sweet pastry to me. So if you're in the area and want to try it out, do! But I don't know if I'd make it a point to come here.
This bakery was one of my favorites to visit! I definitely have an affinity for Asian-inspired flavors which is why this place ranked so highly on my list of yummy boulangeries that I would most definitely revisit. They offered so many delicious matcha-flavored treats from breads to cakes to drinks. There were also a number of sakura-flavored pastries and red bean pastries to choose from as well, it was just so difficult to make a decision! Ultimately I opted for matcha opera cake and a matcha latte and the rest of my party got a matcha swiss roll cake slice and matcha cookie (we just love matcha so much-a!). The opera cake was delightful though a bit on the sweet side, but the matcha latte was nice and earthy and perfect for a chilly morning. Their matcha game is strong and this place is a perfect and delicious union of French and Japanese flavors and textures!
No matter what cafe or bakery you choose to visit, I think you'll be able to find some yummy gems to enjoy all across the city, and trying all of the different offerings is a wonderful and tasty adventure all on its own! If you've been to any of the places I mentioned above, do you agree or disagree with my takeaways? Or if you have a favorite spot not mentioned here, let me know, so I can build up my list for next time!