Bakeries filled with an abundance of various French pastries on almost every corner have been commonplace in Paris for centuries. However, the latest trend in pastry shops is to focus on one specialty, rather than a range of many products. Below is a sampling of the top pastry shops in the City of Light.
Maison Aleph is one of the newest entries in the specialty pastry boutique market. Owner Myriam Sabet was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria, and moved to Paris when she was 10 years old. Working in finance, she quit her job to pursue something more meaningful. Maison Aleph, which Sabet opened last summer in the Marais, combines the honey flavored Middle Eastern pastries with the delicate, sophisticated French pastry, creating a new hybrid of tastes and cultures. For instance, baklava pastries are transformed from sticky and sweet to non-traditional flavors such as white sesame and halvah, peanut and arak, hazelnut and lemon, walnut and cinnamon, and pistachio and orange blossom.
Location: 20 rue de la Verrerie, 75004
Taking the classic éclair and giving it a designer makeover, L’éclair de Genie took the dessert world by storm in 2012, when the dashing owner Christophe Adam opened his first shop in the Marais. The éclairs come in a dazzling array of flavors including lemon meringue, passion fruit and raspberry, salted butter caramel topped with caramel popcorn morsels, fig, cheesecake, praline milk chocolate, and pistachio and raspberry. The boutiques also stock caramel and chocolate sauces, truffles, and in summer ice cream treats. L’éclair de Genie has become a smash hit with 10 shops in Paris and globally in Milan, Moscow, Hong Kong, Vancouver and Qatar.
Originating in Belgium, an alluring concoction of meringue shells swathed in whip cream and covered in chocolate shavings, the Merveilleux (Merveilleux means marvelous, a spot on name for this yummy delicacy) has been reinterpreted by master baker Frederic Vaucamps. He has expanded the list of flavors to now include coffee, white chocolate, almond, praline, cherry and pistachio. The sizes also vary, now coming in bit-size, snowball size and cake size. Aux Merveilleux de Fred prides itself on the fact that each shop bakes all of its items daily on the premises. The sumptuous design of the shops includes marble counter tops, state of the art ovens and baking equipment, and crystal chandeliers.
A beloved French favorite, le madeleine, has now gone beyond its singular taste sensation to a myriad of inventive new flavors, thanks to Steve Seremes and his pastry chef Stéphane Bour. Each flavor uses a romantic female name such as Ernestine, Capucine-hazelnut paste, Faustine-fennel and cassis, Albertine-vanilla from Tahiti and Madagascar, Maxine-raspberry and Moroccan rose, and Appoline-grapefruit and pistachio. Mesdemoiselles Madeleines also prepares savory flavored madeleines including olive tapenade with cumin and carrots, tomato and mozzarella, red onion and crème fraiche, and basil, lemon, feta and pine nuts.
Location: 37 rue des Martyrs, 75009