01 of 05
Seeking Delicious Croissants or Eclairs? Head to These Purveyors
If there’s one thing the French do exceptionally well, it’s pastries (patisseries), and Paris harbors some of the most talented pastry chefs in the country. Whether it’s a chocolate éclair, lemon tart, macaron, or simple buttery croissant you crave, these delicious and often beautiful concoctions will satisfy even the most discerning sweet tooth. Take note: If it's bread you're after, consult our guide to the best Paris bakeries. It's a bit of a truism that the best patissiers (pastry makers) are not necessarily the most exceptional bread bakers, and vice versa, but, well, it tends to also be true (with a few notable exceptions)!
Also make sure to consult our mouth-watering guide on identifying and ordering typical French bakery and patisserie items-- and avoid being overwhelmed by the delicious panoply of items in the display cases.
SEE NEXT: Top Spots for Croissants, Pain au Chocolat & Other ViennoiseriesContinue to 2 of 5 below.
02 of 05
Top Spots for Croissants, Pain au Chocolat & Other Viennoiseries
The croissant is the quintessential French pastry, and finding the best one is no easy feat. Luckily, the Concours du Meilleur Croissant au Beurre AOC Charantes-Poitou makes it easy, with an annual competition electing the best butter croissant of the year.
The 2015 winner for the Paris region was Benjamin Turquier, a baker who makes mouth-watering pastries and viennoiseries at his two locations in Paris' centrally located 3rd arrondissement. He was given top ranking for his all-butter croissant last year, but many of his other creations, from pain au chocolat to pain au raisin, are also reputed to be outstanding.
134 rue de Turenne & 59 rue de Saintonge, (both 3rd arrondissement)
Metro: République, (lines 3, 5, 8, 9 et 11) or Filles du Calvaire (line 8)
More top-notch croissants and pastries
If you’re looking for excellent croissant, pain au chocolat, or apricot tart closer to the area where you'll be staying in the French capital, you’re in luck – many of... the croissants and other pastries given top accolades in national competitions are made at Parisian patisseries. Here are a few that we especially recommend:
Le Grenier à Pain des Abbessess
38 Rue des Abbesses, 18th arrondissement
Metro: Abbesses, Blanche or Pigalle
Hours: Every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays: 7:30am-8pm
Tel: +33 (0)1 46 06 41 81
Visit the official website for more store locations
This bakery’s stunning, intricately decorated cakes are a must, and while you’re there, make sure you also pick up a baguette – head baker Djibril Bodian won the award for best baguette in 2010, breaking that aforementioned rule.
Read related: Best Bakeries (Boulangeries) in Paris
2 rue Wurtz, 13th arrondissement; 238 rue de la Convention, 15th arrondissement
Metro: (first location: Corvisart or Glaciere; second location: Convention
This prized baker won the best croissant prize for the Paris region in 2013, and is also coveted for his world-class chocolate eclairs, pain au chocolats, and cakes of diverse varieties. An all-around favorite, his two bakeries are well worth the trip down to the somewhat remote 13th and 15th arrondissements.
134 rue de Turenne, 3rd arrondissement
Hours: Monday to Friday 7:30am-8:30pm, Saturday 7am-2pm
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 78 04 72
Falling into the top 10 in many yearly rankings of the city's best patisseries, the oddly-named 134 RdT is anything but obscure. Besides coming in second for its croissants, it won second place for its baguette in 2009. It's located on Rue de Turenne not far from Benjamin Turquier's shop-- making a comparative taste-test a real (and recommended) possibility for an entertaining gourmet morning or afternoon.
8 Boulevard de la Liberté, Les Lilas
Metro: Mairie des Lilas (Line 11)
Tel: +33 (0)1 48 97 84 06
Winner of the 2009 slot for top croissant in Paris, this humble bakery just north of Paris' city limits in the town of Lilas remains one of the very best for a buttery, crescent-shaped delight. Considering that its other pastries, viennoiseries and cakes are also delicious, it's well worth the slightly long metro ride.
Boulangerie L’Essentiel Mouffetard
2 rue Mouffetard, 5th arrondissement
Metro: Place Monge or Cardinal Lemoine
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 8am-9:30pm
Tel: +33 (0)1 56 81 86 64
The award-winning Boulangerie L’Essentiel Mouffetard is always worth a visit during a tour of the Latin Quarter. After you’ve picked up your flaky croissants, admire (and fill up on) the chocolate éclairs, layered cakes and other goodies spectacularly presented in glass cases.
SEE NEXT: Best Macarons & CakesContinue to 3 of 5 below.
03 of 05
For Mouth-Watering Macarons & Traditional French Cakes
If you're craving a macaron-- a French-style pastry that's gained enormous popularity in recent years, check out our guide to the best macarons in Paris, including Ladureé and Pierre Hermé. These highly prized Parisian patissiers also make an exceptional range of cakes, tarts and other traditional sweet delicacies, all made with top-notch ingredients.
On the cakes front, Jean-Paul Hevin (one of the city's finest chocolate makers) also peddles some of the capital's most delicious cakes, and the upstairs tearoom is a perfect spot for a sweet-toothed break. He also concocts some amazing macarons (pictured above), with the chocolate varieties especially standing out.
SEE NEXT: Cakes & Pastries From Around the WorldContinue to 4 of 5 below.
04 of 05
For Cakes & Pastries From Around the World
In addition to housing countless award-winning patisseries offering up traditionally French-style baked goods, the capital is also home to some excellent bakers with expertise in cakes and pastry from other cultural traditions. These are our favorites.
La Bague de Kenza
If you’ve grown tired of traditional French pastries (while unlikely, this can happen), stop by this patisserie specializing in Algerian confectionary delights. Dozens of beautiful platters line the shop's tables, piled high with pastries made primarily with nuts, dates, figs, honey, or pistachio. Flavored with rose water, orange blossom, vanilla and other delicious essences, these palm-sized cakes are good enough to order by the handful. Simply point at the ones that look appealing if you don’t know the names – you’ll surely be happy with any choice you make.
Address: 106, Rue Saint-Maur, 11th arrondissement
Metro: Rue Saint-Maur or Parmentier
Hours: Monday to Sunday : 9:00-10:00, Friday : 13h30 - 21h (2:30-9pm in the... summer)
Tel: +33 (0)1 43 14 93 15
See the official website for more store locations.
Patisserie Sadaharu AOKI: Japanese Specialties
With training in Japan as well as France, Sadaharu Aoki creates pastries that combine traditional French design and a Japanese eye for detail and simplicity. Aoki says that when he sees customers enjoying his pastries, he thinks, “Good, but I can do even better!” This search for greatness comes through in Aoki’s exquisite creations, where macha green tea, wasabi and black sesame turn ordinary cakes and puff pastries into a wondrous treat for your taste buds. You’ll also find classic French pastries here, like the much-recommended salted caramel tart.
Address: 35 rue de Vaugirard, 6th arrondissement
Metro: Rennes, Saint-Placide or Notre-Dame-des-Champs
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 9am-7pm, Sunday 10am-6pm
Tel: + 33 (0)1 45 44 48 90
See the official website for more store locations.
SEE NEXT: Gourmet Shops & Markets to Peruse for Fantastic PatisseriesContinue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Gourmet Shops & Markets to Peruse for Fantastic Patisseries
In addition to the traditional independent patisseries that (thankfully) still take up most of the market for excellent pastry in Paris, you can also find some excellent examples in gourmet food shops around the city.
Some of the best pastries and cakes--including varieties from around the world-- can be found in dedicated stands and corners at gourmet food shops and markets such as Lafayette Gourmet and the Grande Epicerie at the Bon Marche Department Store. A warning, though: you should never come for a shopping spree at one of these gourmet markets on an empty stomach!
L'Eclair de Genie (pictured above) opened a corner shop in 2012 at Lafayette Gourmet and has made a reputation for itself as one of the city's foremost purveyors of gourmet eclairs, with innovative recipes and versions you won't find anywhere else. They also specialize in other chocolate-based treats.
The brainchild of pastry chef Christophe Adam, the eclair shop also has standalone locations around Paris,... so if you're a fan of the delicate, elongated puff pastry filled with pastry cream or ganache and topped with delicate icing, make sure to beeline for one of Adam's shops.