Ladurée, the famous Parisian creators of the double-decker macaron, has four shops in London that sell macarons, and lots of them. These tiny sweet treats come in a huge rainbow of colors and flavors and are all beautifully-presented in pretty boxes.
Queen Catherine de' Medici brought the macaron to France from Italy in the 16th century, and bakers enjoyed recreating them for the public.
Ladurée was founded in 1862 in Paris by Louis-Ernest Ladurée. When his bakery burned down in 1871 he reopened his business as a pastry shop and painted it in the celadon green that is still part of the company's recognizable branding.
The double-decker idea came courtesy of his grandson, Pierre Desfontaines, who had the idea in 1930 to stick two macaron shells together with a ganache filling.
He also opened a tearoom which gave women the opportunity to meet friends away from home and it became a huge success.
In 1993, Ladurée was taken over by The Groupe Holder, a company that owns the PAUL bakery chain in France. This was when the international expansion started being considered and after initial expansion to more shops and tearooms in Paris, Ladurée arrived in London in 2005.
There are now four branches in London and the largest tearoom is at Harrods. Do note, not all of the London locations has a tearoom.
Ladurée at Harrods
Ladurée at Harrods is the most iconic of the London venues. There are sumptuous interiors and al fresco dining too. The restaurant is on Hans Road so there isn't as much traffic as the front of the department store and it's a lovely place for a pot of tea and a macaron tasting with friends.
The restaurant is lovely and it also offers an haute cuisine lunch menu and an afternoon tea menu with a selection of finger sandwiches, mini viennoiseries, and pastries.
87-135 Brompton Road
London SW1X 7XL
Tel: 020 3155 0111
Ladurée at Burlington Arcade
Burlington Arcade does not have a tearoom but is a wonderful location at the opening to the arcade from Piccadilly. (It does have a few tables outside the shop, in the arcade, depending on the season.) This upmarket covered shopping arcade has Beadles (uniformed security guards) on duty dressed in traditional uniforms including top hats and tail coats. They are there to uphold the unique laws within the arcade (no whistling, for example) but the arcade is open to the public and is a beautiful place to visit.
71-72 Burlington Arcade
London W1J 0QX
Tel: 020 7491 9155
Ladurée at Covent Garden
The Covent Garden Ladurée is the patisserie's first stand-alone tea salon in the capital. It serves savory snacks and champagne as well as sweet treats and those signature macarons.
1 The Market, Royal Opera House
London WC2E 8RA
Tel: 020 7240 0706
Ladurée at Cornhill
This was the fourth branch of Ladurée to open in London and Ladurée Cornhill does not have a tearoom. It does sell the rainbow of macarons plus some other pastries and sweet treats, and the Ladurée home and beauty products.
London EC3V 3ND
Tel: 020 7283 5727
Official Website: www.laduree.fr