Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog at www.eyepreferparis.com.
Drinking hot chocolate in Paris is a very special experience, much different than the sad instant powdery mixes in the U.S. In Paris, it’s pure, straight-up chocolate, almost like drinking a hot, melted chocolate bar.
Here are our top choices:
Comme a la Maison
This postage stamp-sized café hidden in a courtyard in the Marais makes a smooth, velvety, not overly thick hot chocolate that packs a lot of punch. Hand prepared by the owner, Kathy, when you order, the drink is flavored with some interesting spices that give it a distinct taste. Served in a big white pitcher, it pours two to three cups, so you might even want to share it. The café also has a light food menu with yummy homemade desserts.
Comme a la Maison
Village St. Paul/ Court Vert
9 rue St. Paul, 4th arr.
Metro: St. Paul
Open 12PM to 6PM, Tuesday to Sunday
Jean Paul Hevin Chocolate Bar
One of the city’s finest chocolatiers, Jean Paul Hevin, has recently opened a chocolate bar upstairs from his rue St. Honoré boutique. The sleek, chic café/bar has a menu with many variations of hot chocolate, including enticing flavors like jasmin, coffee, and orange flower. From noon to 6 p.m. the bar serves an exotic flavor every hour on the hour including carrots, oysters, raspberry, banana, green Matcha tea, and even an aphrodisiac mixed with ginger. Don’t miss the Hevin-ly chocolate desserts Jean Paul Hevin is famous for, if you can stand even more chocolate.
Jean Paul Hevin
231 rue St. Honoré, 1st. arr.
Chocolate Bar open noon to 7 p.m., Monday to Saturday
Angelina is the Grand Dame of Paris hot chocolate. The beloved and elegant tearoom, dating from 1903, serves the best-known hot chocolate in the city. Relax in a well cushioned armchair while you are served hot chocolate old-fashioned style: Hot milk is added from a separate china pitcher to a cup of gooey, thick chocolate, and the resulting cup is served on a silver tray. To top it off, a mound of airy whipped cream is served with it. Angelina has a full food and dessert menu and sells bags of its legendary cocoa so you can recreate this taste sensation back home. If you are in a hurry, the shop now has hot chocolate to go.
226 rue de Rivoli, 1st. arr.
Open daily 8AM-7PM
Photo: Comme a la Maison hot chocolate. (Richard Nahem)