Paris is the home of sweets. Deciding on which patisserie to go to is just as difficult as deciding on which attraction to visit. There is no denying that anything and everything in Paris is carefully constructed with finesse and ease - you can't go wrong anywhere you go, however each place has their specialties and their signature options and it does take a little while to navigate yourself around the best that is on offer. Just make sure your tastebuds and stomach are ready.
Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki
For beautifully made, delicate and delicious morsels of flavour, you can't go past Sadaharu Aoki. Born in Japan but trained in both Paris and Tokyo, Sadaharu Aoki's skill and heritage are displayed in every treat in his patisseries. The only problem is then choosing which to eat out of the many amazing cakes, pastries, chocolates and macarons and then trying to convince yourself that you've bought it to eat, not just to admire! Notable selections include: Ginza (pictured), Tarte caramele sale, Citron praline, Matcha azuki, Tarte yuzu and any, if not all, macarons.
Since dazzling the Court of Versailles until the French revolution, Dalloyao has been dazzling the French with its gastronomic delights. It's most famous pastry is the Opera cake - cake and biscuit soaked in coffee syrup, layered with butter cream and topped with chocolate ganache. Layer upon layer of chocolate guiltiness.
Angelina is as famous for its hot chocolate as it is for it's signature Mont blanc, a ball of meringue and fromage blanc (soft cream cheese), covered in whipped cream and chestnut imple. The Millefeuille vanille is also just as good, with thin sweet pastry cracking and crumbling when your spoon submerges itself in the vanilla cream.
It is said that you 'haven't done Paris if you haven't visited Pierre Herme', demigod pastry chef and king of macarons. His macarons are a cacophony of colours and flavours and are so sought after that Galleries Lafayette have three boutique stores set up throughout the shopping gallery. Each mouthful is a balance of interesting flavours with sometimes two or three combinations.
Les soeurs sucrees
Maybe I'm swayed because I visited this bakery/patisserie almost every day in Paris, but I wouldn't go back if their pain au chocolat, meringues and baguettes were not as good as they were. The pain au chocolat is reason enough to re-visit. Light, buttery and filled with just enough chocolate, these were our go-to. Everything is handmade fresh that morning.
L'Eclair de Genie
Who am I to ignore possibly the most incredible and interesting eclairs Paris has to offer? Eclairs have certainly been brought back, with copy-cat stores trying to reach that level of simplistic elegance L'Eclair de Genie is all about. I am not usually one for eclairs but these are by far an exception. Flavour combinations include pistachio and orange, passionfruit and raspberry and yuzu, cassis, and salted caramel praline. The flavours are unreal and a bite will lead to an explosion of delicious filling and are beautifully presented little works of pastry art.
Boulangerie Aux Castelblangeois
Living so close to this boulangerie, we tried many a delicious pastry. The views at the window are hypnotic and instead of just purchasing one sweet, you may find yourself doing what I did - purchasing four which I then had to somehow get home in one piece. Each day holds a different selection to choose from, however their amarys framboises (pictured) is one of the staples, as are their opera, tartlette caramel and tartlette citron pastries.
Of course my list would not be complete without at least one gelato - from Pozzetto. For gelato handed to you through a window above a selection of amazing flavours, Pozzetto is the way to go and it is the best gelato I have ever had. The pistachio gelato (my favourite, and pictured with hazelnut) is made from Sicilian Bronte pistachios and is spatula'd out, not scooped - onto the cone or into your dish. I know this because as we ordered, the owner was teaching her new employee the technique of setting the gelato into the cone with the spatula. The gelato is smooth, light and silky. Like good gelato it melts quickly but is eaten just as fast!