Ah Paris. City of Light. Also, a city of amazing sweets. But to really experience the sweet side Paris, get off the beaten path and seek out some of the more unusual “sweet things” she has to offer. From pink pralines to exquisite marshmallows, you’ll be surprised at the range of tasty sweets that expends far beyond macarons! And hey, we all know how much I love to eat macarons in Paris…
When you’re tired of the run of the mill viennoiserie (croissants, pains au chocolat, pains au raisins) for breakfast, head to Lisbon. Well, not the one in Portugal but the next best thing – Comme à Lisbonne. Specialising in “Pasteis de Nata” (custard tarts) this tiny storefront in the Marais offers the authentic taste of Portugal right in the heart of Paris.
Just around the corner, head to Pain de Sucre for a taste of what seems to be an emerging trend in Paris – guimauve (marshmallows). Not your Jet-Puff variety these puffs of perfection are delicately flavoured and coloured and will chance your mind about marshmallows forever.
And since you’re closeby, get your fix of “praslines/ pralines” (roasted then caramelized almonds in various flavours) at Mazet. Founded in 1913 by Léon Mazet, the Maison recently opened their gorgeous Marais boutique in the rue des Archives. With exquisite décor and sublime packaging, these make lovely gifts.
If it’s “pralines” you are interested in, you can’t visit the Marais without stopping in at Maison Pralus, the home of the praluline – a brioche studded with gorgeous pink pralines. Unusual, unexpected, unmissable!
To satisfy serious chocolate cravings, head to the Left Bank to Pierre Marcolini’s store on the rue de Seine. Marcolini opened his first store in 1995 in Brussels after winning the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie in Lyon and now has stores all over the world. The store carries an impressive range of single-origin chocolates.
For a lesson in history with your chocolate fix, head to Debauve & Gallais, founded by Sulpice Debauve (a former chemist to French king Louis XVI who provided chocolates to Marie Antoinette prior to opening the boutique) in 1800. As purveyors to the French Court, the company received the royal warrant in 1819 and supplied Kings Louis XVIII, Charles X and Louis Philippe. Stepping back in the store is like stepping back in time.
Not far away, Patrick Roger offers a jaw-dropping experience – from giant 80kg chocolate sculptures to tiny elegant boxes of chocolates resembling jewels, Roger’s stores must be seen to be believed!
If you simply can’t resist Pierre Hermé, look beyond the macarons. I can’t tell you what to choose from his amazing selection of cakes, but I might suggest the Infiniment Vanille if it’s there. Sublime. If it’s something more classic you are after, look no further than Gérard Mulot’s Opéra cake.
Right Bank addresses
Comme à Lisbonne
37 Rue du Roi de Sicile
Tel: + 33 7 61 23 42 30
Open: Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 7pm
Pain de Sucre
14 Rue Rambuteau,
Tel: + 33 1 45 74 68 92
Open: Sunday – Monday and Thursday – Saturday 10am – 8pm
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
Les Confiseries Praslines Mazet
37 Rue des Archives
Tel: +33 1 44 05 18 08
35 rue Rambuteau
Tel.: +33 1 57 40 84 55
Left Bank addresses
89 Rue de Seine,
Tel: + 33 1 44 07 39 07
Debauve & Gallais
Various locations: http://debauve-et-gallais.fr/content/26-les-boutiques
Various locations: http://www.gerard-mulot.com/paris/evenement-gerard-mulot.php
Various locations: http://www.patrickroger.com/fr/boutiques.php
Various locations: http://www.pierreherme.com/storelocations
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** A version of this post originally appeared on the Bon Vivant travel blog.