The Best Pastries in Paris :: Top 38 Pâtisseries

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The Best Pastries in Paris :: Top 38 Pâtisseries

When you eat at least five pastries a day for months on end, only the greatest work can stand out. It’s been a haze of sugar, pâte sablée, fruit, chocolate and crème, but it’s through that gauntlet of gluttony that I am honored to present Paris Pâtisseries’ 38 Best Pastries in Paris for 2011.

Why 38? Because there were less than 39 and more than 37 exquisite pastries I’ve encountered in the last 2 years of binging. They’re but a small fraction of everything I’ve experienced. Some are the perfection of French classics. Others completely redefine the idea of those same timeless works. Many of the pieces in the following list push the envelope of imagination and originality. All these pastries are marvels of flavor; most are great works of texture, as well. I hope you have the chance to experience them for yourself.

PLEASE NOTE: This page has since been edited to remove several pastries no longer carried by the shops or which no longer meet all criteria for recommendations. It’s now technically a Top 32 ;)

Remember that you can follow all my adventures when you “like” Paris Pâtisseries on Facebook or when you sign up for email updates.

Tarte au Citron by Jacques Genin

Jacques Genin :: Tarte au Citron

Jacques Genin is the greatest classic pastry chef in Paris. The Tarte au Citron is his masterwork. It should be no surprise that the one cookbook he has written is about a single pastry – the Tarte au Citron and its many variations. Cradled by the most elegant and delicious lightly vanilled pâte sucrée imaginable, resides a lemon crème that deftly unites acidity, sweetness, smoothness and a half-dozen intangible facets of excellence. This pastry so vastly exceeds the quality of all other lemon tartes that it should be considered the genesis of the very idea of a “tarte au citron”. It is beyond perfect.

Pomme Tatin au Sirop d’Érable by Des Gâteaux et du Pain

Des Gâteaux et du Pain :: Pomme Tatin au Sirop d’Érable

This combination of pecans, apples, maple crème, pâte sucrée aux éclats de noix, and caramel-imbibed biscuit cuillere is nothing short of unbridled deliciousness. For that alone, the Pomme Tatin could make the list. What’s propelled it to the #2 spot is its hyper-extraordinary textural balance. Des Gâteaux’s chef pâtissière, Claire Damon, might well be peerless in her command of textures. This is the finest example of that genius.

Éclair au Chocolat by Jacques Genin

Jacques Genin :: Éclair au Chocolat

Monsieur Genin’s mastery of the éclair is virtually undisputed. Of all the pastry snobs and foodies I know who’ve had it, I can’t think of a single person who would suggest there might be another even half as good. Much like with his Tarte au Citron, once you’ve had it, the idea of sampling anyone else’s seems masochistic. I even had a reader who recently wrote to tell me that having this éclair, at my suggestion, was one of the 10 greatest food experiences of her life. Its magnificence cannot be overstated.

Tarte Caramel Salé by Sadaharu Aoki

Sadaharu Aoki :: Tarte Caramel Salé

For those of you familiar with Twix candy bars, imagine having one that’s approximately one billion times better. That’s the Tarte Caramel Salé. Buttery, crumbly crust cupping a gooey pool of salty caramel – all crowned with a swirling milk chocolate crème that’s been artfully dusted in cocoa. It’s going to change your life.

Gourmandises Constellation by Pierre Hermé

Pierre Hermé :: Gourmandises Constellation

For a month after the Constellation came out, I had it for breakfast almost every day. The cardamom-laced Mascarpone and Gariguette strawberries are plenty to make someone fall in love, but when combined with a thin layer of orange marmalade and then sandwiched between two layers of choux – each of which is covered in small sugar nibs and heavily toasted almond bits – it’s just magic.

Choux Pistache aux Fruits Rouges by Un Dimanche à Paris

Un Dimanche à Paris :: Choux Pistache aux Fruits Rouges

There’s just something about cocoa nib croustillant-covered choux holding a lightly sweetened and intensely flavored mélange of cherries, raspberries and more – all of which overflows with a pillowy-light pistachio Chantilly. It’s safe to say I’ve eaten this at least 100 times. And, no, I’m not exaggerating.

Baba au Rhum by Jacques Genin

Jacques Genin :: Baba au Rhum

The pastries you purchase in a shop are distinct from the plated pastries you’re served in a restaurant. While all of Jacques Genin’s work can be purchased to go, there’s one so new and special that – at least for the time being – it’s only available plated by Monsieur Genin himself. He prepares just a few each day. None of the other chefs at his pâtisserie are allowed to touch it yet. You just have to go in (shoot for between 1:30 and 3) and enjoy this amazing unity of a transcendent 30-year-old rum, Madagascan vanilla crèmes and pineapple. It might seem conspicuous that I’ve put three Jacques Genin pieces in the top 10 of this list, but once you’ve had them you’ll understand.

Macaron Fleur d’Oranger by Ladurée

Ladurée :: Macaron Fleur d'Oranger

The only way to describe these little ladies is to say that . . . it’s like eating springtime. Assuming you love floral tones, you’re almost guaranteed to be blown away by these. I wouldn’t hesitate buying a box of 12 of just this parfum by itself. They’re fantastic.

J’Adore la Fraise by Des Gâteaux et du Pain

Des Gâteaux et du Pain :: J'Adore La Fraise

Claire Damon’s original version of the J’Adore la Fraise (above) was a delicious celebration of strawberries. When she later replaced the white chocolate exterior with an unbelievably tender and impossibly perfect almond gâteau, it entered another dimension. As with her Pomme Tatin (at the #2 position above), it’s not only a delight for the taste buds but also one of the greatest textural marvels in Paris.

Marie Antoinette by Carl Marletti

Carl Marletti :: Marie Antoinette

For those of you familiar with Pierre Hermé’s Ispahan, the above will look conspicuously familiar: pink macaron shells sandwiching raspberries and rose creme. The key difference is the Marie Antoinette contains no litchi, but it does employ a sinfully sweet raspberry confit and a studding of candied violets. Those small changes make it a significant improvement over the already-delectable original. Among the first Parisian pastries I ever fell in love with, the Marie Antoinette is definitely one not to miss.

Macaron Réglisse by Un Dimanche à Paris

Un Dimanche à Paris :: Macaron Réglisse

I’d long been a lover of Ladurée’s macaron réglisse . . . until I discovered these from Un Dimanche à Paris. I’d literally buy boxes of them 4 or 5 days a week. It’s impossible to describe not only how exquisite the flavor was but also the texture. That interplay of the shell, crème and sugar granules was otherwordly. You might be wondering why I’m using the past tense in describing them. Sadly, it’s because they were discontinued. Loved by those who enjoy réglisse and avoided by all those who find réglisse/licorice more than a little off-putting, there wasn’t enough demand to keep it in the case. If you’re a réglisse lover and you stop by Un Dimanche à Paris, please be sure to ask if the Macaron Réglisse is coming back yet. Seriously. With enough people clamoring for it, I’ve been assured it can make a return.

Tutti Frutti by Café Pouchkine

Café Pouchkine :: Tutti Frutti

Café Pouchkine, as helmed by Emmanuel Ryon, makes some of the most beautiful pastries in Paris. They also happen to be among the most delectable. Both the eyes and the palate can be thoroughly amused with this mélange of dragon fruit, blueberries, kiwi, mango, and more – all of which cling to a delicate gelée engorged with liquid strawberry deliciousness. The gâteau base rounds out the fruit explosion and creates an incredibly elegant textural harmony.

Grand Cru by La Pâtisserie des Rêves

La Pâtisserie des Rêves :: Grand Cru

You might be thinking this looks like the most decadent chocolate dessert ever, and you might just be right. It’s layer after layer of fine Venezuelan chocolate preparations: glaçage, mousse, ganache, biscuit. Not only will you feel guilty with every bite, but you’ll be left inconsolable and wanting more when you’re done. Buy two. Fight through the shame and just love it.

Éclair au Sésame Noir by Sadaharu Aoki

Sadaharu Aoki :: Éclair au Sésame Noir

Filling an éclair with black sesame crème patissière will seem a little strange to some people and profoundly delicious to others. Riding a perfect line between sweet and savory, it’s like no other piece on the list. Even as I respect Monsieur Aoki’s Tarte Caramel Salé enough to put it at the #5 spot, this is actually my personal favorite piece from the master.

Macaron Coquelicot by Un Dimanche à Paris

Un Dimanche à Paris :: Macaron Coquelicot

After reading an article on Le Bonbon au Palais (the greatest candy shop in all of Paris), I became hopelessly addicted to their coquelicot (poppy flower) marshmallows. I’d go in almost every day for a pack of 8-12 of them. Then I’d wander back to my neighborhood, stopping by Un Dimanche à Paris, where I’d share a few marshmallows and other candies with the staff. Chef pâtissier, Quentin Bailly, took a bit of a shine to the marshmallow and said that he might be able to do something with coquelicot if he could find a nice natural extract. Several weeks later, the Macaron Coquelicot was in the case. It’s as intensely floral as it is insanely tasty. For any fan of other floral tones, such as rose, fleur d’oranger and violet, this is absolutely one macaron not to pass up.

Éclair au Caramel by Jacques Genin

Jacques Genin :: Éclair au Caramel

Last June, I went to a picnic organized by ParisbyMouth.com and brought some of Jacques Genin’s caramels to share with the crowd. I also brought a caramel éclair just for myself. Before I was able to eat it, one of the other attendees effused to me about how amazing Fauchon’s caramel éclair was. So I nonchalantly suggested we split the Genin éclair I’d brought along. The words hadn’t even come out of her mouth – I could just see it in her expression – before she shook her head and went, “Yeah, nevermind what I said about Fauchon’s. That’s incredible.” Monsieur Genin’s mastery of the classics is unequalled. Make sure you visit his shop; it’s part of a life well-lived.

Napoléon by Café Pouchkine

Café Pouchkine :: Napoleon

Defying the traditional form of the Napoléon, Monsieur Ryon has nonetheless crafted a masterpiece. The crackling simplicity of the exterior belies a gooey dreamy heart of textures and vanilla-imbued deliciousness. This is the kind of pastry you want to eat when no one’s looking – just so you can jam it into your face in less than a minute, then sigh at the memory of it all.

Tarte Vanille by Pierre Hermé

Pierre Hermé :: Tarte Vanille

Monsieur Hermé has crafted one of the greatest works of vanilla in the history of time. By blending Tahitian, Madagascan and Mexican pods, then pummeling our tastebuds with them through a layered series of the most sublime crèmes, he might well have ruined all future vanilla gelato and ice cream experiences you’ll ever have. It’s also quite a sweet piece, so get your insulin ready.

Or Noir by Café Pouchkine

Café Pouchkine :: Or Noir

Should you be the type of person who can only accept sarrasin honey-perfumed chocolate mousse, the Or Noir is for you. In concert with a nice almond biscuit, crousstillant of caramelized hazelnuts, light vanilla crème, and caramelized pecans, it’s a decadent taste sensation. It also happens to be a phenomenal series of meticulously executed textures. Your mouth will rarely be left so happy.

Le Merveilleux by Un Dimanche à Paris

Un Dimanche à Paris :: Le Merveilleux

Le Merveilleux is indeed un merveil (a marvel). That delicate meringue, smooth chocolate mousse, and gooey fleur d’oranger crème wait patiently to be devoured – all tucked beneath a sparkling coat of white chocolate. It quickly became one of the most popular pieces at Un Dimanche when it debuted earlier this past summer. Among the most original pieces in Paris these days, I enthusiastically recommend checking it out.

Macaron Violette by Sadaharu Aoki

Sadaharu Aoki :: Macaron Violette

I tend to prefer Monsieur Aoki for his tartes and petits gâteaux, but this macaron is too awesome to pass up. Not only is the shell done exceptionally well, but the violet deliciousness within is as transcendent as it is curiously translucent. Of the three floral macarons on the list, this is definitely the most potent. But if you love all-things-flowery, you’re going to be taken with this Macaron Violette.

Tarte Fine Porcelana by Pierre Hermé

Pierre Hermé :: Tarte Fine Porcelana

For those of you not familiar with the concept of Porcelana chocolate – it’s an albino Venezuelan Criollo. Put another way . . . it’s literally a dark chocolate that’s a white chocolate. Only through processing do the white beans take on a more conventional dark brown hue. Monsieur Hermé has done this ultra rare and precious bean justice by way of a thin beautifully tempered layer, riding atop a silky smooth ganache, which itself rests upon a very interesting and delightfully gritty cornmeal crust. It helps to be a bit of a choco-snob, in order to fully appreciate it, but it’s delicious no matter how much context you have for fine darks.

Macaron Fraise Coeur Pistache by Café Pouchkine

Café Pouchkine :: Macaron Fraise Coeur Pistache

Café Pouchkine is one of the few shops in Paris that actually flavors their macaron shells. Sure, virtually every shop does it for their chocolate macs, but almost every other macaron is just enhanced with food coloring. Chef pâtissier Emmanuel Ryon has taken a strawberry shell and filled it with among the finest pistachio crème preparations one could ask for. Even though there’s an inverted version of it (pistachio shell with a strawberry interior), this was my one true macaron love at Pouchkine – not to say I didn’t routinely buy others. If you love pistachio macs, make sure to snag at least a half dozen of these.

Tartelette Fraise-Coco by Un Dimanche à Paris

Un Dimanche à Paris :: Tartelette Fraise-Coco

In contrast to the preceding H&V piece, the Tartelette Fraise-Coco from Un Dimanche is a sticky-sweet sugary work of blissfully assaultive strawberry tones. Accented lightly by coconut and a mild tarte shell, its addictive qualities should not be underestimated. Best purchased before noon and savored with some hot chocolate at the counter of the shop, it’s an easy piece for anyone to enjoy.

Pistache-Fraise by Des Gâteaux et du Pain

Des Gâteaux et du Pain :: Pistache-Fraise

Seven alternating layers of pistachio dacquoise, pistachio crème onctueuse, pistachio mousseline and strawberry compoté really could not have gone wrong . . . especially not in the ever-capable hands of Claire Damon. If only the white chocolate on the sides could be a nice Vestri or Amedei pistacchi, I’d have placed this little lady in the top 15. That aside, it’s still fantastic.

Tarte au Chocolat by Jacques Genin

Jacques Genin :: Tarte au Chocolat

There’s an idealized notion I think many of us carry around about Parisian/French pastries. Not only do we want the tastes and textures to be superb, but we’d like them to transport us to some bygone era. Jacques Genin’s Tarte au Chocolat spirits me away to the 19th century environs of a long-lost Gustave Caillebotte painting. I’m otherwise almost at a loss for how to explain the experience of one of these. The shell is simply classic perfection, and the ganache is a silky-smooth, amer, florally-nuanced ode to the concept of . . . wow.

Saint-Honoré by La Pâtisserie des Rêves

La Pâtisserie des Rêves :: Saint-Honoré

Does it make sense to use the phrase “ornate simplicity”? Such a classic piece – but executed so beautifully in a series of golden and creamy forms and textures. Even if it tasted terrible, I’d want to put it on the list for aesthetics alone. Fortunately, the experience of eating one is so amazing that I could be blind and still pop it up here. Once you crack the sugar on one of those orbs and your mouth fills with its sinfully sublime crème, you’ll understand.

Macaron Caramel by Pain de Sucre

Pain de Sucre :: Macaron Caramel

These might be the most controversial little ones on the list. Some feel the textures of both the shell and caramel are a little too divergent from the standard. Then again, last Friday I had a reader tell me they were “a religious experience”, and I agree . . . wholeheartedly. The caramel within is reminiscent of Bit-O-Honey candies, and the chewy/gritty texture of the shell works a special magic to amplify the delights of the gooeyness within. I literally used to get sachets of these, eat until my stomach hurt, nap from the sugar crash they’d induce and then wake up to eat more. They are narcotic.

Moskito by Café Pouchkine

Café Pouchkine :: Moskito

Pouchkine’s Mosktio will make you think a pistachio marzipan factory just exploded in your mouth. Technically, it’s a sweet mix of pistachio biscuit moelleux, Bourbon vanilla crème onctueuse, and an almond/pistachio paste. But the afortmentioned image of the greatest nut-based industrial disaster is the net effect, and I can never get enough.

Tarte Tatin by Ladurée

Ladurée :: Tarte Tatin

There are actually quite a few great Tartes Tatin in Paris. Ladurée happens to be my top choice because it tastes great eaten cold-from-the-case, perhaps while lounging by the Louvre (as I often did) + tastes amazing when warmed up. Give it 15-20 minutes in a pre-heated 180 degree Celcius oven, and you’ll be in heaven. In other words, I love it as a breakfast and as an after-dinner dessert. Try to only buy it on days when it looks extra dark and sloppy (see above). Then prepare to be dazzled by what I can only describe as an orgy of butter, sugar and apples.

Macaron Amande by Art Macaron

Art Macaron :: Macaron Amande

One day I decided to buy a box of all the flavors at Art Macaron and consume them in a single sitting. Cause, really, why not? There were several excellent pieces in the mix, but the Amande here was the only one that instantly struck me as a masterpiece. It’s a super sweet and highly potent blast of concentrated almond flavor. Given how nice and laid-back the staff is, you’d never imagine a piece “just this side” of the addictiveness of crack dwells within their midst.

Croissant Ispahan by Pierre Hermé

Pierre Hermé :: Croissant Ispahan

Croissants are not technically pastry. They’re viennoiserie. However, when you glaze one, cover it in candied roses and fill it with a sweet litchi/rose/raspberry pâte, it definitely qualifies as more pastry than anything. These little guys can sell out quickly, but you also don’t want to buy one and eat it too early. They’re on the shelf at 10am, though still too warm to enjoy. Either purchase one and give it an hour to mellow-out, or stop by after 11am and hope there are still a couple left. They’re incredibly scrumtrulescent.

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Creating this list has been a labor of love. From gaining 30 pounds, during 2010, to losing it all and then gaining 35 back, as I continued my research this last year, it’s been no small undertaking. So please share this page with all your dessert-loving friends and family. That’s what this has all been about – hoping to bring the magic of Parisian pâtisseries to the world.
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Please keep in mind that Parisian pastries tend to be highly seasonal offerings. Slightly more than half of the work above is available year-round; the other half can be found at different points throughout the year.

Also remember that this list is meant to underscore what I believe to be the ultimate work, but there are hundreds of other great pieces at these same shops and more. Jean-Paul Hévin, Arnaud Delmontel, Lenôtre, Acide, Gerard Mulot, Arnaud Larher, Blé Sucré, Fauchon, Angelina, Laurent Duchene, Stohrer, Michel Cluizel, Dalloyau . . . they all have work I’ve enjoyed time-and-again. If you plan to spend a week or less in Paris, the Top 38 list above is a great guide. Should you have more time and the ability to explore, work your way through as much of the Top 38 as you can, and then check out some of the other shops I just mentioned ;)

If you’d like the addresses, websites and contact info for the best shops, look no further: Paris Pâtisseries’ 12 Best Pastry Shops in Paris

Want me to deliver fresh pastries straight to you? Then get regular email updates or follow Paris Patisseries on Facebook. You deserve the best of Paris.

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94 Responses to “ The Best Pastries in Paris :: Top 38 Pâtisseries ”

  1. Charlotte says:

    That was…amazing.
    I mean, I'm currently banging my head against the wall in frustration because I won't be able to try any of these any time soon – but I enjoyed reading about every pastry listed!

    I can't help but wonder why LPdR's Saint Honore made it on the list though – I remember you saying it was mediocre in a previous entry…

    • It's like how certain pastries from last year's list (which I shall leave unnamed) used to be better and then were worse this year. While they devolved, I felt that it had evolved. Though it's toward the end of the list, so it's foothold for 2012 is tenuous ;)

  2. mazza says:

    whow…..thank you again and again…..paris is so special…..wish i could be here for "ever"

  3. omer says:

    Hello Adam
    Thank you for your wonderful blog and this amazing list. I wanted to share with you the fact that a week ago my husband and I returned from a trip in Paris based on your blog. For 7 days we visited 10 out of 12 your recommended patisseries and we sampled 34 desserts and 18 macaroons , pralines croissant and more.
    It was an unforgettable experience that will stay with us for a long time.
    checking your new list, I counted only 11 desserts that i had the privileged to taste, probably i will need to come for another round :)
    But I must tell you that my favorite dessert, (the only one that we had to sample twice ) is not found in your list-
    theTart tatin from :
    " La Pâtissirie des Rêves "
    he was almost a religious experience for me.
    to make such a classic dessert ,do not get too smart with him, and still to achieve such a perfectness , delicate sweetness, apples that just melt in your mouth -wow amazing …. They were all great but this one (in my eyes ) obtain to the level of genius .
    Thank you again
    I'll keep tracking your blog
    and at some point I'll be back to visit
    Omer
    berin

    • Very cool. I'm glad my list was so helpful. LPdR's Tarte Tatin is certainly good . . . and based on your recommendation I will have to get it again as soon as I can. I remember feeling it was a little too sweet and that the texture of the base did not delight me . . . but times change. Much like how I added LPdR's Saint-Honore to the list after keeping it off last year, another taste of the Tarte Tatin could make me fall in love. And, indeed, I hope you get back to Paris soon so that you can sample even more of the shops!

  4. Anita M. says:

    You know what dear Adami I love this site and love you for what you are doing for us and this article is great :) going to Paris again in december definitely want to try some of those patiseries :)
    Love xx
    Anita

    • I hope you get to enjoy a bunch of them. I'm sad I'm not in Paris at the moment, but as soon as I return I'll be eating everything on the list in one day. Or maybe in the course of a week.

      • Anita says:

        Yeah they are great pieces I made a list of them and wrote down the adresses so it easy to visit, my boyfriend he can eat without gain a kilo, but me NO NO NO , but whatever I will forget the rules for a week :) gonna try some, I only visited Pain de Sucre from your list and went there several times during ours previous visit:)) especially in summer time, ummm those wild forrest strawberry , raspberry, blueberry mmm this is really mums and tried theirs macarons too : coffee and walnut are our faves and theirs Krac-krac long version of macarons was also good..

  5. simon says:

    Love your work! Thanks very much :)

  6. Somone says:

    I just read your post , it's incredible and makes me want to eat everything , but on one of the pastry shop you are just so wrong !! They made you believe things that are just fake !! Don't always trust what people tell you about "their" business !! a lot of them lie to make them look better !

    • Well, I know how most of the kitchens there work . . . so I know only perhaps 2 of the 12 shops mentioned here actually have the chef making the pastries. And there's at least one here where the famous chef behind it literally does nothing. But knowing these things does little to diminish my enjoyment of the final product.

  7. Abigail says:

    First impressions.

    1) Victor and Hugo? I hated Victor and Hugo LOL. Albeit I only went once and ate two things but both were totally underwhelming to me. To be honest it would have to be mighty impressive not to be an anti climax after you have browsed their museum like display, ordered from assistant in ridiculous uniform and then waited for them to fetch it and present it to you on a tray and then stick it down with little HV stickers and put it in a box. Such ceremony was then followed by the Victor Peche. Pastry topped with 3 peach slices, some cream, and a spangly choux with some peachy cream. ZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    2) Only 1 Pain de Sucree? I'd put the entire shop on here. I went there 4 times in 3 days. Another epherme, another petit paris, another passiflora, more guillmauves…. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm yeah.

    Irealise I am comparing a 3 day visit with a 1 year visit. I will read it more thoroughly later though. Thanks for sharing. As ever I am an adoring fan (who hates Hugo and Victor).

    Abigail

    • I often feel like one of those music fans who knows a little too much and starts to get into avante garde stuff or obscure classics. I know Hugo & Victor is not necessarily everyone's cup of tea, but they're my "Velvet Underground". And Pain de Sucre is great. They might well be more prominent in next year's list, which will, of course, be even bigger and more ridiculous than this one ;)

  8. Lea Harris says:

    This is Cake Porn of the highest quality; I'm drooling over my keyboard, not a pretty sight for a woman of my age :~}

    • I think it's perfectly acceptable to drool at any age … be it 1 month or 100 years. So you have nothing to be ashamed of. Glad you enjoyed the pastries!

      • Lea Harris says:

        Living in Edinburgh I don't get to Paris that often but I have sampled, scoffed and savoured Sadaharu Aoki, Pierre Herme and Ladurée. Perhaps I should organise an Edinburgh Cake Ladies jaunt for next year and we could go on a cakey expedition.

        • I think that's a brilliant idea. Most of the great shops opened in 2009 and 2010, so if you haven't been there recently, you'll be amazed to see La Patisserie des Reves, Hugo & Victor, Jacques Genin, Un DImanche a Paris, and Cafe Pouchkine.

  9. Cherry says:

    Great! Awesome! Yay! I just need a plane ticket and money and I am set to go to Paris~ Thank you for the list!

  10. Bravo – what a stunningly beautiful and informative post – just breathtaking. Thank you! I want them all and I want them now!!

  11. Cristina says:

    This list is sublime! I just returned from Paris and am lucky to have tried many of these. I only wish I'd known about Café Pouchkine and La Pâtisserie des Rêves. I'm glad that Hugo and Victor made the list (that Pistache!!!), though the Tarte Vanille from Pierre Hermé is the stuff that vanilla dreams are made of….. :-)

    • Yes, the Tarte Vanille from Herme is amazing. I bought it . . . frequently. I just bumped it down a little on the list, since people have sometimes said it is too sweet. And glad to hear you enjoy H&V approach to pistachios ;) I haven't even been out of Paris for a month, and I'm already excited to go back and expand this list into something even more ridiculous for 2012.

  12. InfinimentParis says:

    Brilliant loved it, dont agree but loved it!!
    I've had the oportunity to experience a lot of genin's work and his "tarte au citron" is not that exceptional. It's not that far from Hermé's or Marletti's if better at all. I find his "eclairs" way better and clearly above anyone else :) .
    Also a sad thing hugo chocolat did not make the list this year but i must say he had it coming lol. How could a man of such talent ruin such perfect piece :( why would he even change it? Oh well hoppe he corrects it for next year. Keep the great work :) !!

    • Looks like we at least agree on some things. I can understand a difference of opinion on lemon tartes; it really all comes down to personal preference. But, personally, I have a hard time eating others' and do actually believe Monsieur Genin's is inspired by God. Good to see you like the eclairs above all others though ;) And, yeah, I don't know why Hugues had to go and change the Hugo Chocolat. It was so much better when he used more tonka and lime; now it's just kind of an ordinary chocolate pastry.

      • Allyn Bryson says:

        Genin's tarte au citron is NOTHING like Marletti's in my opinion. I think both their pate sucree is wonderful, but the cream in Genin's is, indeed, resplendent. Not to say Marletti's isn't delicious. Just saying…

        No love for the Cylan?? I love that little guy. I think the J'adore Fraise would be SO much better if it had the textural complexity of the Cylan. Also, just saying…

  13. Hey Adam! Thank you for doing this! Everything looks amazing!

    • I'm just happy to share it all with the world. I always love hearing about people's adventures in Paris with the pastries . . . especially when they exploit a list like this to find something special. Stay tuned for more awesomeness in the months ahead, too. I have at least 5 in-kitchen sessions I've yet to unleash + super beautiful pastries that haven't been reviewed and didn't quite make this list.

  14. adel h says:

    i wish i have come across your blog for the past two trips to Paris then I wouldn't have missed out this wonderful list of sweets,ah!nvm, 3rd trip(don't know when) I'm going to hold tight to this list and hunt down those lovelies :)

    • Hopefully it will come in handy. I tried to be pretty descriptive of what's sweet, what's not sweet at all, what's overpoweringly floral, etc. so that folks will have a good sense of what might gross them out and what they might enjoy. It's a nice range to choose from.

  15. pensive says:

    I just showed this post to my Hubby by way of explaining why we shall only eat pastries for our entire time in Paris. Maybe now he understands.

    Thank you so very much. Amazing.

    • I think that sounds like a completely rational idea. Speaking from experience, you can do it for about 1 1/2 – 2 weeks before it starts to take a toll on your energy level. Also t keep in mind that all this stuff is basically made out of sugar, cream and gelatin, so it also digests a little different than normal solids ;) None of this should discourage you from a pure pastry diet. And make sure to go to Coutume for coffee: http://www.parispatisseries.com/2011/10/19/coutum...

  16. Hélène Cossette says:

    Thank you Adam for your spectacular work! Your list has convinced my husband to give another try to Genin's work. We had the Mille Feuilles and he found it too dry, not enough cream. We'll go back to Paris in March. First thing to put in my luggage will be a copy of your list!

    • Yeah, the millefeuille is probably my least favorite thing he sells . . . by far. Try a mango caramel, a macadamia caramel and a chocolate eclair. Those are the three things pretty much everyone agrees are perfect. If you have more room, then get the lemon tarte, baba au rhum, caramel eclair and maybe some pates de fruits and a slice of his flan. Chocolates are great, too . . . anet, relglisse (lait), tonka (noir), and basilic are my favorites.

      • RandyB says:

        I am surprised by both comments on Genin's millefeuille. I'm not sure what "too dry, not enough cream" means. The typical pastry shop millefeuille has been sitting in the case long enough for the pâte feuilletée to have lost its crispness as it infuses with moisture from the filling. It is also typically so overstuffed with goo that the pastry gets lost even if it is fresh enough to retain some crispness.

        In contrast, the Genin millefeuille is assembled to order so the pastry is light and flakey, as pâte feuilletée should be. The sales people even discourage buying them to go, lest they lose this quality. The filling is delicious and plentiful, but not overwhelming.

        Admittedly, it is an unusually long time since my last visit to Paris and Genin. I hope this is simply a difference in taste and not a change in the preparation. I will find out in a few weeks.

        • My problem with the millefeuille vanille there is that Monsieur Genin uses quite a bit of Madagascan vanilla, which is not my favorite variety. I prefer Tahitian or a blend or origins. It's all one's preference though. I also like a little more character to the feuilletage, whether having it lightly caramelized or maybe with a wee bit of beurre de noisette woven in (not that he would ever do that), as one of my other favorites does. That said, the texture of Monsieur Genin's is sublime, and it's also the most beautiful of them all.

  17. Leila Arfa says:

    Another hello from Edinburgh! Oh my sweet goodness – the delectability is presque too good to be true! Was already looking forward to our Paris trip next weekend. Now I'm positively salivating!

  18. Elizabeth says:

    This looks like an astonishing list, and I appreciate all the dedication that went into compiling it! I've spotted more than a dozen pastries that I will be sure to try! Hopefully, all the pâtisseries will be sufficiently far from our home, so that walking to and fro will help offset the sweet treats!

  19. m@myviewfromparis says:

    Holy sugar Adam. I am just back from Jacques Genin's shop. I bought a tarte au citron and an eclair chocolat, as well as one of the little mix bags next to the register. Walking home I started dipping into that little bag and immediately decided you are right, Genin is no joke. Everything just kind of melted in my mouth in the most delicious and wonderful way, and not like any other chocolates or caramels that I have ever had before. Still to taste the pastries! I am in Paris until May so I will do my best to work through this list, though it is always hard for me to try something that is not dark chocolate or fruit or some combination therein. Thank you again!

    • Yeah, those little assortment bags are pretty addictive – full of high quality goodies. I know what you mean about milk chocolate, but Monsieur Genin even does a beautiful job with that (his réglisse milk chocolates, in particular, are pretty amazing). I hope you love the eclair and lemon tarte :) Let me know what you think.

  20. m@myviewfromparis says:

    I did love both. What I loved best was his tarte shell, not too sweet, not too crumbly, really perfect. It was definitely the best tarte au citron I have had, but it could have been even a little more tart for me. I have stopped buying them actually because I'm usually so disappointed but I would buy this one again and will have to try the chocolate. And I never buy eclairs because I don't love them, but this one was different. I literally took a bite, then stopped and just stared at it for a second. The filling is like my grandmother's chocolate pudding, the pastry is soft, again not too sweet, and really just a vehicle for getting the perfect quality chocolate filling and glaze into my mouth. So yes, I was happy. Many thanks.

  21. Kristin says:

    i have to place my vote for best Eclair au chocolat. A pastry loving Parisian friend took me to Patisserie Stohrer on the rue Montorgueil this summer for their version, and I have to say, it was by far the best one I've ever had. Next time I'm their I will have to try Jacques Genin's and compare the two…

    • Stohrer always a good time, too. I'll be interested what you think of the difference between the two. Also try his caramel eclair, cause it's pretty great . . . and so many of his other pastries and candies, too. I'm hopelessly addicted.

  22. Patricia Petersen says:

    Hi! I'll be in Paris tomorrow and I'm already going crazy. I've actually printed your list and I'm trying to choose just a few from them, cause I'm only staying for 4 days. I've narrowed it down to 17, and that's it!!!! I'm looking foward to it, thank you so much for this amazing list. And great photography!. I'm a pastry chef and a photographer also, trying to work with both of them together, as you do – beautifully. Amazing!

    • Sounds like you've planned a very fun time! If you go to Jacques Genin's, be sure to also get some caramels (especially the mango one), some pates de fruits and some chocolates. And just be forewarned that a lot of the pieces on the list are seasonal, so they might not all be around . . . but most will. Let me know how it all turns out!

  23. That was the most amazing and beautiful collection of confections I have seen to date! A virtual encyclopedia of information on the best desserts ever! Thank you for posting and the wonderful descriptive comments. I think I just gained 10 lbs.! I also posted your article on my Facebook page since it is so fabulous!

    • Thanks, John. I love sharing all the goodies with everyone! I also am in the midst of losing the 35lbs. I gained over there, so it's helpful when others take that on via osmosis through their computer screens.

  24. Jael says:

    This just gave me goosebumps and I was breathless for awhile in awe and amazement that such delicacies exist(ed) today. I am more than thankful that you gave more reasons to love baking. These are inspirations. Maybe more than that. I would be looking back again on this site whenever I feel down, and I am so sure it will lift my spirits again as it did today. Thank you for this list. More power.

  25. Thank you for sacrificing your body to bring us this info!

  26. flyer9018 says:

    I live one block from Le Bonbon au Palais and I agree. Hands down, it is the best and loveliest candy shop in Paris. That said, I'm a huge fan of the floral flavors, so I can't wait to try some of your finds here. Thank you so much for the list!

    • You are so lucky to live so close to Georges' shop! I would go there everyday if I could. The marshmallows, the prune-stuffed prunes, the white chocolate/almond candies, the quince pate de fruit, the cassissines . . . there's so much amazingness there! If you like floral, definitely try the coqeulicot, violet and fleur d'oranger macarons I mentioned in this piece. Also visit Carl Marletti's shop for a Lily Valley pastry. And try their Feijoa pastry at Cafe Pouchkine, which I believe uses hibiscus. There's so much tastiness all over the place!

  27. [...] if not dangerous for your blood sugar levels. But my second thought was: I just found my next 38 discoveries. GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("LangId", [...]

  28. [...] preparation in all of Paris. The totality of the piece is sublime and why I put it at #23 on my Top 38 Best Pastries in Paris [...]

  29. Pamela B says:

    We were so excited to go to Paris for the first time and try some of the best pastries in the city – Jacques Genin's Tarte au Citron is truly a mindblowing experience. Lovely, complex, tangy, sweet and amazing. Thanks for the recommendation – can't wait to go back!!!

  30. [...] a reason this little guy is at #20 on my Top 38 Best Pastries list. I’d likely have put it higher, were it not for the even more impressive chocolate éclair [...]

  31. foodstotrybeforeyoudie says:

    Thanks so much for putting this together. It's an incredible list. I'm off to Paris next year and my only patisserie plans were Ladurée and Pierre Hermé – this has really opened my eyes.

  32. That's exactly why I do what I do and why I made the list! So many people know Ladurée and Pierre Hermé, but there's so much more out there. They've been around longer, so they get more attention. The newest shops, though more amazing, just haven't received enough press attention and word-of-mouth publicity yet. I hope you have an even more awesome trip now :)

  33. Donne Roma says:

    I want a Saint-Honoré cake! It looks delicious!

  34. Soffea says:

    To find oneself amidst the enormous selection of boulangeries & patisseries in Paris is indeed similar to being a mosquito in a nudist beach: where to even begin?! Thank you for this list – to come up with top 38 I presume you've consumed at least ten times more. Even my sweet tooth self doubt I possess such resilience! My husband & I vow to try every single one in this list (and more!) before we leave end of next month. We've only had seven so far & none has disappoint. Jacques Genin was a great discovery – is it obvious we didn't stop just at the pastry counter?? The caramel alone warrants multiple trips!

  35. [...] to justify making them. But we’re going to remedy that today. These macarons, #13 on my list of The 38 Best Pastries in Paris, need to come back now … and forever. So let me first describe to you exactly how amazing they [...]

  36. mary ellen smith says:

    Any chance you have a Paris map with these mapped out, metro stops and all?

  37. [...] the most perfect realization of macarons’ potential. To put it in perspective, when I drafted my Top 38 Best Pastries in Paris list, I put Jacques Genin’s Éclair au Chocolat at the #4 position – a pastry so magnificent I [...]

  38. [...] the aftermath. I would have licked the plate clean, had people not been watching. Number nine on my Top 38 Best Pastries in Paris list, you just don’t understand how good it [...]

  39. Great job Adam! Really appreciate it!

  40. Therese says:

    All I can say, is that it's truly a joy to read through your experience and enthusiasm for French Pastries!

  41. Bárbara Spínola says:

    ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS! If I could, I would jump into the screen and marvel myself, just like Alice in Wonderland!! Thank you for these beautiful photos!!

  42. This post is incredible!!!!!!!!

  43. Fiona says:

    Adam, your website is amazing. I have lost over 100 pounds this last year and was going to try to stay "sensible" while in Paris next week, walking up the furnicular steps to the Sacre Coeur every morning and avoiding the pattisseries where possible. Now, I am thinking a walk down the hill to Cafe Pouchkine is a much better idea. If you can't indulge when in Paris, when can you ever indulge?

    • I agree. It's only a week, so there's no way to gain more than a few pounds, even if you ate every single thing you wanted. Plus, if you lost 100lbs. in a year, then it'll take you what … 2 weeks, at most, to lose anything you gain in Paris.I gained about 35lbs. in my last six month Parisian stay. I lost it in 6 months, and now I'm headed back to gain it again. Definitely gotta take advantage of the unequaled French food. No sense being sensible.

  44. terrific post mouthwatering masterpieces

  45. [...] have been staring at this site with equal parts anticipation and anxiety. So many pastries. So little [...]

  46. [...] I think it’s time to go to Paris. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  47. Kesie says:

    I love your blog so much, I already become a big fan of your blog. Hopefully one day I can go tasting every single one that you recommend . Thank you so much for sharing all the fabulous pastries . Can't wait to read more. By the way, I've got to read the Pierre Herme's Pastries book and he writes about Croissant Isphan's recipe that I am really interested to make some of it : )

  48. [...] (including the black sesame eclair) are rated as one of the top few pastries to try in Paris by Adam. Aoki excels in making French pastries and if I’m not wrong, he is probably one of the few [...]

  49. Steve says:

    Hello. I have just taken down a Genin chocolate eclair. AMAZING! when i turned up they were sold out but fortunately they brought some more down within 10 minutes. Just headed back home now as my girlfriend is cooking us a meal in apartment in Latin Quarter. For desert we have some awesome 14 month old Roquefort from Androuet on Rue Moufettart, and also your No 1 Tarte au Citron from that man Genin again! Thank you so much for this website, never would have found it otherwise. It was a bit of a mission from Notre Damne up through the Marais to find the shop but now we are reaping the benefits. P.S might be hitting Pierre Herme on saturday also

    • Glad it lived up to my hype. If you have time to get back to his shop, get some caramels and chocolates, too! And excellent choice of Androuet as your cheese shop. They have a cheese there called "La Boulette d'Avesnes" that blows my mind, but really anything in the shop is pretty amazing. Hope the lemon/lime tarte is also awesome + hope you enjoy Pierre Herme, if you get by there, too!

  50. Steve says:

    Made it to Pierre Herme, sorry for the belated report. Opted for the Tarte Vanille. Excellent!
    That area of Paris is a bit of a picnic goldmine with the cheese shop Barthelemey and the bakery Poilane all within about 2/3 roads of each other. I'd reccomend it to anyone.
    Didnt make it back to Genin's shop in the Marais, but pretty sure when we had lunch in Tour D'argent on last day they served us both a couple of chocs and caramels with our coffees that looked very familiar to the ones we saw on display in there before.
    Again thanks so much for website, really added a whole extra dimension to an amazing trip to Paris

  51. [...] Since entering the EU (European Union) our horizons have been expanded to include pastries from the Continent, look at this list from Paris. [...]

  52. Cristina says:

    Do any of these shops mail pastries overseas? (to America?)

  53. currierose says:

    Okay. So it's obvious you've been living the dream. But I'm confused… Do you actually live in Paris or do you travel there a lot? I'm so jealous either way.

    I have a little dream of getting a work visa, working part time at a bakery and writing a book (which will become a best seller) in Paris…. Oh and meeting a handsome stranger to spend evenings gorging ourselves, laughing and dancing beneath the Eiffel Tower with…. Don't know how I'll ever make it happen, but I'm so motivated now by the super yummy pics on your blog.

    Have a great day!
    Currie

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