Where to find the very BEST chocolate, pastry and bread in Paris—plus more delicious foodie finds. Also see Food Sources.
With more than 300 chocolatiers in Paris, we can be very finicky. Clearly the French know and love their chocolate, and so should you!
37, rue d’Assas, in the 6th Arrondissement.
Constant does a mean bûche de Noël (Yule log). He is famous for his chocolate tart and other delectable treats featuring unusual flavors—such as cardamom and frangipani flowers—in this small yet pristine shop.
Debauve & Gallais
30, rue des Sts.-Pères, in the 7th. 01 45 48 54 67.
A place to visit out of respect, considering it is the oldest chocolate shop in Paris, with a stunning interior designed by Napoleon’s architects. Marie Antoinette was a fan—so why shouldn’t you be?
72, rue Bonaparte, in the 6th. 01 43 54 47 77.
185, rue Vaugirard, in the 15th. 01 47 83 89 96.
4, rue Cambon, in the 1st.
At this tiny shop in the 6th, right near St. Sulpice, you’ll undoubtedly have to wait in line for a chance to buy Hermé’s gorgeous chocolates and pastries—but it is worth the hassle. He has another location in the 15th that is easier to navigate and has less of a line. Attendants in white gloves handle Hermé’s creations as if they were priceless jewelry. We are particularly impressed by the rose macaroon (we are not wild about macaroons, yet a taste of his made us convert instantly). It is somehow crunchy and creamy, yet not too sweet, and it actually tastes like a rose smells. He offers perfect chocolate and pastries as well—buy a sampling and sit at the newly renovated fountain in front of St. Sulpice and enjoy his artistry.
16, rue d’Assas, in the 6th. 01 42 84 29 45.
A small but artistic chocolate shop not far from Constant’s. Rochoux molds chocolate busts of Molière and other literary greats in such a delicate fashion that one can hardly imagine eating his masterpieces. But DO—as they are seriously delicious chocolate. Kids may enjoy the chocolate letters and Eiffel Towers, but this new-to-the-scene chocolate chef is worth hunting down.
108, blvd St.-Germain, in the 6th. 01 45 29 58 42.
As far as we’re concerned, Roger is by far the most creative and impressive chocolatier in business now in Paris. A visit to his store is a must-do. His signature boxes and bags in brilliant turquoise remind us of Tiffany’s—but his jewels are edible. He made a chocolate egg at Easter (Pâques) that looked exactly like a sunny-side-up egg, complete with the yolk and egg white. He also uses exotic flavors from the East, such as green tea and ginger, as some of the top chocolatiers do, but his plain chocolate blocks are sublime as well. You can’t go wrong here—it’s worth the wait. He has another location in the 16th (45, ave Victor Hugo).
Lesser-known chocolatiers are worth sampling—in the 7th, Patrice Chapon (69, rue du Bac) and Michel Chaudun (149, rue de l’Université). There are other wonderful chocolatiers in Paris, such as Pierre Marcolini, but he’s actually Belgian, and you are in France. La Maison du Chocolat is popular, but you can buy these in New York. And there’s Chocolatier Charpentier, in the 17th, which is just too far out unless you are staying in the area. With so much wonderful chocolate in Paris, you can be very choosy. Often chocolates are offered at great pastry shops such as Gérard Mulot. Pick some up when you are there, too—you’ll find them to be quite good.
Obviously, French chocolate makes an exquisite gift to take home to your friends and family—guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face. Apologies to the chocolatiers of Belgium and Switzerland: having tried them all, we say French is best!
You have to love a country that outlaws making bread by machine!
Bread and Roses
7, rue de Fleurus, in the 6th Arrondissement. 01 42 22 06 06.
This is Catherine Deneuve’s favorite for organic bread. The ten-flour bread is a specialty—ask for the Puissance Dix baguette.
Au Duc de la Chapelle
32, rue Tristan Tzara, in the 18th. 01 40 38 18 98.
Chef/Owner Anis Bouabsa won the Grand Prix de la Meilleure Baguette de Paris 2008, which means he supplied the Élysées Palace with bread each day of that year—this at only 28 years old. It is fitting, as Bouabsa is the son of Tunisian immigrants, just as Sarkozy is the son of immigrants.
39, rue des Martyrs, in the 9th. 01 48 78 29 33.
57, rue de Damrémont, in the 18th. 01 42 64 59 63.
25, rue de Levis, in the 17th. 01 42 27 15 45.
Check website for hours by location.
Supplier to the presidential palace Arnaud Delmontel impresses with wit and quality. Although he trained with a chain (Whole Foods), Delmontel still won the Best Baguette in Paris prize in 2007. Each boutique offers decadent French pastry and takeaway treats perfect for entertaining.
8 & 14, rue Monge, in the 5th.
Eric Kayser is probably the second-most-famous bread man in Paris and the most famous one still alive. He is credited with updating the classic flute, similar to a short baguette. He delivers not only a beautiful baguette but also 59 other specialized breads, including bread with seeds (poppy, sesame and more), bread with figs, bread with apricots—even chorizo bread. The whole-wheat baguette, La Monge, is his most popular.
His pastries are also to die for. If his bread is good enough for Alain Ducasse’s restaurants, it’s good enough for us. Some say his is the best croissant in Paris—we tried it recently and it is quite delicious. It’s crunchy on the outside and warm and rich on the inside, but we would venture to say that proximity to one’s hotel or apartment is of utmost importance when choosing a croissant. So have fun trying all of the bakeries in your neighborhood, and let us know what you find. Kayser has many other locations in Paris.
8, rue du Cherche-Midi, in the 6th. 01 45 48 42 59.
Poilâne is the most famous bakery in Paris—curious enough because this shop isn’t known for its baguette, the cornerstone of French food; rather, it’s the country loaf that is celebrated here. After the premature death of her father, Lionel, Apollonia Poilâne inherited the place in 2002, at the tender age of 17, when she was just beginning her studies at Harvard. Most everyone who visits here buys the miche—the round sourdough loaf that is perfect with a bowl of soup or toasted for sandwiches. You’ll find notes on menus throughout the city boasting that the kitchen uses only Poilâne bread. Still fired in a wood oven right below the store, which was originally opened by Apollonia’s grandfather.
If you miss Paris terribly once you are home, you can have some bread shipped to you.
231, rue Vaugirard, in the 15th. 01 43 06 14 82.
Pottier, who won second place in the baguette contest, supplies many of the best restaurants in Paris with their baguettes.
20, rue Jean-Nicot, in the 7th. 01 43 17 35 20.
Owned by Stéphane Secco, this bakery presents gorgeous breads and pastries in an artistic setting with the original 100-year-old decor. The brioche is good (we use ours for French toast in the mornings), as are the madeleines, the mille-feuille and the lemon tart.
If you come to Paris and don’t sample a lot of pastry—well, you just haven’t seen Paris!
La Bague de Kenza
106, rue St.-Maur, in the 11th.
01 43 14 93 15.
The top spot for Algerian and Moroccan pastries heavy on phyllo, honey and pistachios. Try a mix of offerings with mint tea in the tea salon next door.
85 bis, rue de Charenton, in the 12th. 01 43 07 75 21.
7 a.m.–8:30 p.m. Closed Wed and Thurs.
This is a definite neighborhood hangout, with locals addicted to their super-grainy baguette, the Bazinette. Others, however, come for Jacques Bazin’s flamboyant pastries, such as the square Choco-Orange (self-descriptive) or the scalloped Vulcano (a rosy confection of coconut mousse and cassis). Purists should select the more classic flan nature.
Boulangerie Jacky Milcent
52, rue du Bac, in the 7th. 01 45 48 98 23.
Visit rue du Bac’s unpretentious Boulangerie Jacky Milcent, winner of Best Galette des Rois in Paris in 2006. Galette des rois, or kings’ cake, is made especially for the Christian celebration of the Epiphany, usually on the first Sunday of the year. The cake—usually a puff-pastry round filled with almond paste—hides a small good-luck figurine somewhere inside. If you bite on the small charm, you luck out and get to be king or queen for the day.
75, rue St.-Honoré, in the 1st. 01 42 36 24 83.
Mon–Sat, 6:30 a.m.–8 p.m. See website for other locations.
The rue St.-Honoré branch of Boulangerie Julien balances frenetic traffic with placid luxury while serving up specialties such as the ultranoir Malicieux. Paris food guru Elodie Rouge sums it up: “Their name is to Viennese pastries what that of Hermès is to handbags.” So enjoy Chef Jean Noël Julien’s pain viennois au chocolat. Tastes as good as Hermès looks.
Sacha Finkelsztajn (pictured at right)
27, rue des Rosiers, in the 4th.
01 42 72 78 91.
Known for their cheery yellow window and the Yiddish and Russian specialties they’ve been selling for more than 50 years. When you are in the Marais stop in.
54, rue Caulaincourt, in the 18th, in Montmartre. 01 42 57 68 08.
Offers specialized crème brûlées and chocolate mousses—with a slightly different take on the classics, such as baba au rhum with chocolate liqueur.
76, rue de Seine (corner of rue Lobineau), in the 6th.
A place we cannot be objective about. In 2000 we were lucky enough to buy an apartment just across the street, and ever after at all times of day and night we could smell the delicious odor of bread baking—it drove us into the store on a daily basis. Wednesdays were dreaded as that is the day Mulot closes—and there is a yearly closing in mid-August, which also pained us. Japanese tourists flock to Mulot to take pictures of the store windows—which we could never understand until we went to Japan last year and discovered that there’s a Mulot in the Osaka train station, of all places! We were terribly jealous and upset, not understanding why we couldn’t have one in New York. Anyway, Mulot does everything well—breads, croissants, tarts, chocolates, quiches, ready-made salads and, of course, pastries. The line during the holidays goes out the door and around the corner and is something to behold. We advise trying everything at Mulot—and a quick stop in for breakfast is a must if you are staying nearby. There is another location in the 13th.
Pain de Sucre
14, rue Rambuteau, in the 3rd. 01 45 74 68 92.
10 a.m.–8 p.m. Closed Tues and Wed.
If you know guimauves are marshmallows, you know Pain de Sucre, whose elegant windows showcase vase after vase of them. Flavors range from the delicate (angelica or orange blossom) to the daring (Campari or pimiento). Duck in for whimsical pastries and inventive compotes. The bright orange packaging here is a stylish extra. Treat yourself to the perfect tarte au citron.
Pâtisserie de l’Église
10, rue du Jourdain, in the 20th. 01 46 36 66 08.
Laurent Demoncy’s Pâtisserie de l’Église looks deceptively homey. A glance inside, however, reveals some of Paris’s most famous patisserie. For your fanciest dinner, order Le Triollo, a sculpture of almond crème, crème légère, pistachio, ripe figs and mulberries. Also order a mille-feuille, just because. Just around the corner is their sister bakery, Boulangerie au 140.
Pâtisserie des Rêves
93, rue du Bac, in the 7th. 01 42 84 00 82.
Tues–Sat, 10 a.m.–8:30 p.m.
Pastry chef Philippe Conticini is drawing praise for his innovative presentation of classic pastries in shiny glass ovoids. The critics are right to rave, since these adaptations of the classics are wonderful. They’ve been greeted as a return to the flavors of yesteryear.
51, rue Montorgueil, in the 2nd. 01 42 33 38 20.
One of the oldest patisseries in Paris, dating back to 1730. The market street is wonderful, as are the authentic pastries, which include baba au rhum and tarte à l’orange.
Best Wine Shops
Au Verger de la Madeleine
4, blvd Malesherbes, in the 8th. 01 42 65 51 99. Can ship worldwide.
9, rue des Quatre Vents, in the 6th.
Charcuterie and organic wines served in a gorgeous old shop that looks as if it hasn’t changed in decades.
La Dernière Goutte
6, rue Bourbon le Château, in the 6th, near the St.-Germain-des-Prés metro stop.
01 40 46 84 47.
This American-owned store has a large selection of estate-bottled wines from the Côte du Rhone, Languedoc-Roussillon and Loire Valley regions. Free tastings on Saturdays. Very friendly service.
3, blvd de la Madeleine, in the 1st, near the Madeleine metro stop. 01 42 97 20 20.
This store has the largest wine collection in Europe, with 3,000 bottles from France and another 2,000 from around the world. Tasting bar and restaurant, too.
Legrand Filles et Fils
1, rue de la Banque, in the 2nd, near the Bourse metro stop.
01 42 60 07 12. Mon–Fri.
Old-fashioned shop offering fine wines and brandies, teas and bonbons. Housed within Galerie Vivienne. Wine tastings on Thursdays.