Perfect Parisian Patisseries

In a country where patisseries routinely combine sumptuous interiors, impeccable service and an artisan range of delicacies, it’s not surprising that Parisians expect something a little special. Luckily, they’re not disappointed. The city’s pastry chefs are some of the world’s finest, and the patisseries they work in are often exquisitely innovative.

Cafe au Lait Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Cafe au Lait

What to buy in a French Patisserie

The number of available cakes in any one patisserie is limited only by the imagination of the chef. That said, most high-end patisseries only offer a small selection of treats.

In France, only those establishments that employ a licensed ‘maître pâtissier’ (master pastry chef) may legally use the term ‘patisserie’. Most patisseries will offer variations on stock favourites such as éclairs, tartlets, macaroons, mille-feuille, and petits fours.

French Patisserie by Dustinpsmith on Flickr

A French Patisserie

How to behave in a French Patisserie

While patisseries are more relaxed and friendly than brasseries or restaurants, they still exude an air of sophistication. It’s wise to behave as if in a British restaurant rather than a British bakery. Nevertheless, for those who want to learn French in Paris patisseries can be good places to strike up conversations with locals.

Patisserie in Marais, Paris Photo: Don Ward on Flickr

Patisserie in Marais, Paris

Legendary patisserie chefs

The Godfather of the Parisian patisserie was the late Gaston Lenôtre. Lenôtre started an influential cookery school and opened a string of patisseries, such as the modernist offering found on the Avenue Victor Hugo.

Pierre Hermé is another influential chef that helped revolutionise the traditional French patisserie. He has a number of shops in Paris, all of which are clinically chic and intimidating expensive – one cake can cost £85. Head for number 4 Rue Cambon for an example of a typical Hermé establishment.

Jacques Genin spent years operating from his own tiny cake lab, but has since opened a public shop at 133 rue de Turenne. His chocolate tartlets and mille-feuille are particularly noteworthy. Other pastry masters worth keeping an eye out for include Carl Marletti, Jean-Paul Hevin and Sadaharu Aoki.

Pierre Hermé, Paris Photo:Yuichi Sakuraba on Flickr

Pierre Hermé, Paris

Traditionalist offerings

Ladurée at 75 Avenue des Champs Elysées is everything a traditional patisserie should be. Established more than one hundred years ago, the shop is all dark wood, good service and tasty cakes.

Patisserie Stohrer on 51 Rue Montorgueil is the city’s oldest patisserie. Its cakes are traditionalist to the point of almost being basic. The interior of the shop however, with its vast oil paintings in gilded frames, more than compensates for the cakes’ modest decorations.

Laduree Macarons By Josh Leo on Flickr

Macarons by Ladurée in Paris

Sampling the avant-garde

La Patisserie des Réves is the city’s most avant-garde patisserie. Situated at 93 Rue du Bac and 111 Rue de Longchamp, the shop displays just a single table of cakes. Each of these is a small work of art and is treated as such.

If you want to try out your French in the most delicious way, visiting one of these patisseries is an excellent place to start. Should visiting France for a long or short stay be on your to-do list, language courses abroad with ESL Languages are a great way to learn the national language.

Patisserie des Réves in Paris Photo: Edward Kimber on Flickr

Patisserie des Réves in Paris

This article is brought to you by ESL Language Travel who offer tailor-made language and educational programs in over two hundred destinations.

Photo credits: French Patisserie by Dustinpsmith, Cafe au Lait by Heatheronhertravels.com, Paris Patisserie by Don Ward, Pierre Herme by Yuichi Sakuraba, Laduree Macarons by Josh Leo, Patisserie des Reves by Edward Kimber

For more stories of sweet treats:

Sunday morning Greek coffee and glika – in Zakynthos
Cakes from Pasticceria Saliola – in Rome
Bratwurst and Sacher Torte – or what we ate in Salzburg

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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  • Reply
    July 8, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Having just returned from Paris for my first trip there, this post has brought back lots of (delicious!) memories 🙂

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      July 8, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      @Rebecca I’m planning a trip myself in December so will be touring some of these patisseries

  • Reply
    Barbara Weibel
    July 9, 2013 at 9:14 am

    h yes, French pastries. Just one more reason why I love France so much – especially the macarons!
    Barbara Weibel´s last blog post ..Bristol, England – It’s Gert Lush!

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      July 9, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      @Barbara I know that the Bristol Macarons can’t compare to those Laduree ones in your eyes!

  • Reply
    Mark H
    July 13, 2013 at 2:33 am

    Yum…is there anything better than French pastries??
    Mark H´s last blog post ..Vezelay: No Bones About It (France)

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      July 13, 2013 at 7:31 am

      @Mark Yes and it’s the ritual of sitting down in a beautiful patisserie and sipping a coffee with a beautiful edible work of art that’s so French

  • Reply
    Desiree Fawn
    July 15, 2013 at 1:12 am

    Yum! Everything looks just delicious! 🙂

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      July 15, 2013 at 7:37 am

      @Desiree Yes I’ll be in Paris this winter and hope to enjoy some of these delicious cakes too

  • Reply
    December 8, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Very good

  • Reply
    Jim Martin
    July 9, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Heather, I have been trying to find the Marais Patisserie that is in your photo. Would you know the street (Rue) it is on?

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