Everyone knows that Paris is home to amazing wine and cheese, and while we were looking forward to trying all of the Brie, Gruyere, Bordeaux and Champagne in the world during our trip, we were even more excited to taste Paris's world-famous pastries. Of course we first referenced David Lebovitz's blog before creating our list of must-hit stops, and after thorough research, we can confirm that the below are the seven best bakeries and chocolate shops in Paris--and perhaps the world (in our humblest opinion)! Our only regret is not having time to make it to Sadaharu Aoki--one of many reasons to travel back as soon as possible. From macarons to caramels to baguettes, we recommend stopping by all of these shops while you're in Paris. You really can't go wrong.
Laduree's macarons are world-famous for a reason. And even though New York City has two of its own Laduree locations, there's nothing like a visit to the original. We picked up a couple gifts for friends during our stop, and also grabbed the vanilla and caramel macarons to taste. The highlight was the incredibly thin and crisp outer shell, which gave way to a pillow-soft interior. The filling inside was also intensely flavorful. Two bites of these treats leave you more than satisfied.
They have 16 locations across Paris, so there's no excuse to skip out on delicious macarons!
Paris's other famous macaron maker, Pierre Herme, is the opposite of Laduree in many ways. Its shop is more modern, its flavors, like fig with foie gras, more experimental. And, unlike Laduree, Pierre Herme's macarons didn't have a crispy outer shell. While its softer, slightly soggy texture was disappointing, the taste more than delivered. We sampled Rose, Creme Brulee and a citrusy seasonal variety, and they all exploded with rich, smooth and delicate flavor with every bite. If you could combine Laduree's shell with Pierre Herme's filling, it would be a match in macaron heaven.
Pierre Herme also has 10 locations across Paris.
Moving on to chocolate, there's no better source than Jean-Charles Rochoux. The store itself is a temple dedicated to cocoa, with a heavenly sweet aroma all around, and chocolate molded, filled and displayed in every way imaginable. During our visit, we tasted the orange blossom and caramel chocolates, which were out of this world rich in flavor and texture. They also offer unique fillings like cigar tobacco and Maker's Mark bourbon, which we included in a gift box for our parents to try.
16 Rue d'Assas Paris, France 75006
When in Paris, you must pick up caramels. Henri Le Roux is the master of these candies, with several flavors, and even decadent caramel ice cream and sauce, on offer. Even if you never considered yourself a caramel lover, one bite of Henri Le Roux's will change your mind and have you craving more. With its soft, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture, and deep, complex flavor, a tin of these would make for a great gift or souvenir.
1 Rue de Bourbon le Chateau Paris, France 75006
24 Rue des Martyrs Paris, France 75009
When David Lebovitz declares something "The Best in Paris," you just have to listen. After reading on his blog that Ble Sucre has the best madeleines in Paris, we knew we had to visit. Not only were these madeleines insanely buttery and delicate, with an addicting crust of orange glaze, but the decadent kouign amann, perfectly chewy baguette, flaky pain au chocolate made with high-quality chocolat and buttery layers of their croissant rocked our worlds. We can confidently declare Ble Sucre the best bakery in Paris, and the croissants really are the best we've ever tasted in and out of the city. The location is a bit out of the way, but the rewards make it well worth your time.
7 Rue Antoine Vollon Paris, France 75012
We stopped by Poilane for one reason only: their signature Poilane Loaf, which is handcrafted with sourdough and stoneground wheat flour, and has a hearty texture that stands up well to just about anything, from butter and jam to sandwiching meats and cheeses. Their rustic apple tarts are also beautiful and reminiscent of a homemade apple pie.
8 Rue du Cherche-Midi Paris, France 75006
Last but not least, we can't forget to mention Maison Eric Kayser. It's now a chain with 17 stores across Paris, but they still produce high-quality baked goods. We sampled their amazingly creamy and delicate chocolate eclair and subtly sweet strawberry tart with the crispiest shortbread crust, as well as their famous pain aux cereales, which we enjoyed later that night with the best butter in the world from Le Buerre Bordier, a bottle of wine, and some meats and cheeses.
We picked up our smoked salt and Szechuan pepper Bordier butter from La Grande Epicerie, an enormous high-end food market that's a must-visit for any foodie traveling to Paris. Since Bordier is produced exclusively in Normandy, France by Jean-Yves Bordier, it's available in a limited number of shops around the world. It can even be difficult to find in France, and is not sold anywhere in the U.S., which is a shame because Bordier is hands-down the most complex, rich and luxurious butter in the world, and there's no going back to the American stuff after you've had a taste. A perfect match for a hearty slice of pain aux cereales.
And that's a wrap to our artery-clogging bakery and candy shop tour of Paris. Let us know if there's anything we missed--we're always open to suggestions for our next time!