If you adore chocolate, French pastries and macarons then your trip to Paris isn’t complete until you’ve treated your taste buds to a tour of the chocolate shops and patisseries of Saint-Germain-de-Prés. More than a dozen of the sweetest Parisian establishments have set up shop in the chic 6th arrondissement – follow me to a few of them for a foray into Paris’ sweet spot…
First stop is Ladurée a pastel coloured, picture postcard of a shop where you’ll discover a bewildering array of macerons, meringues and chocolates. Ladurée is famous for inventing the double-sided macaron – two delicate almond meringue biscuits in an array of colours and filled with creamy ganache. Salted caramel, rose, orange blossom and violet are just some of the myriad of flavours. There’s a difference between Macarons and Macaroons – the latter are much heavier, made with coconut and sometimes dipped in chocolate – not the same at all. So now you know. There is a small tea-room attached to the shop where you can also indulge your French fancies.
21, Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris – Métro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés
For Londoners there’s a Ladurée in Covent Garden
Henri le Roux
I always thought toffee was toffee – until I tasted a Henri le Roux soft, velvety, melt-in-the-mouth, sent from heaven, caramel. These silky, salted, butter caramels knowns simply as CBS (caramel-beurre-salé) are simply sublime. On walking into the Henri le Roux boutique-style shop, his first in Paris, you’ll be dazzled by the bright jewel coloured caramels in exotic autumn flavours of Saffron, Pear, Orange, Jasmine and Ginger. Flavours change with the seasons which is a good excuse to check back and see what delights the Spring collection holds. Pop through to the chocolate side of the shop and you’ll be enveloped in the rich, bitter aroma of cocoa. Be warned you may never want to leave this shop.
1 Rue de Bourbon le Château – 75006 Paris – Métro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Mabillon or Odéon
Top Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini creates his chocolate from pure cocoa and travels the world in search of the best beans. Annual summer, winter and Christmas collections mean that Marcolini sounds more like an Italian designer than a Belgian chocolatier. More than 60 varieties displayed in neat rows of tempting deliciousness are a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Fillings include violet and Earl Grey tea and more exotic flavours such as Moroccan pink pepper berries or bergamot infusion with fresh lemon and lime zest. My favourite was the four spice – a dark chocolate infused with flavours of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger – all beautifully blended but each flavour standing out individually too. Chocolate covered marshmallows and macerons are available too and with Valentines Day coming up the white chocolate and raspberry hearts are sure to be best-sellers (hint!).
89, rue de Seine, 75006 Paris – Métro: Mabillon or Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Un Dimanche a Paris
Un Dimanche á Paris is a boutique chocolatier, patisserie, bar, restaurant and shop in-one – I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I walked in here! Tucked away in an ancient little passage off Boulevard St. Germain this uber cool concept store offers chocolates, macarons, and patisserie perfection. There are shelves laden with caramel sauces and jars of spicy little chocolate-covered pink peppercorns, chocolates as far as you can see and of course the exquisite pastries. Of the above shops this is the one place I’d like to go back and spend some ‘quality’ time. Have a little drool over some of their creations…
4-6-8 Cour du Commerce Saint André 75006 Paris – Métro: Mabillon, Odéon, Saint-Michel
So there you have it, some of the best Parisian Chocolatiers, Patisseries and confectioners all in one sweet little hub – and ladies if you’re looking for some eye-candy too you may even spy a certain Mr Beckham now that he’s signed for Saint Germain…
I hope I’ve tickled your taste buds and if you’d like to visit any of the shops mentioned I’ve added them to a handy little map. Just for you. Sweet.