I might not be the most informative culinary blogger but I can assure you I know a good cake when I taste one, based on the fact that I can live off eating desserts the whole year. There are only two cities in the world where I would indulge in my sweet craving (aka cake-binge) within my entire stay (and not only on dessert hours): Paris and Tokyo; where both are undeniably home to the best desserts in the world. I might only recommend not more than five dining out restaurants but I can give you my looong list of the most delightful eclairs, the fluffiest choux à la crème, most phenomenal macarons, mouthwatering ice cream and the best butter shortbreads you’ll ever taste. Let’s start this list with Paris:
I fell in love with Bontemps’ beautiful presentation first. Their cakes and pastries look like precious gems displayed on their glass counter. Every little detail and decoration of the shop is well thought of without appearing too over the top.
The friendly older lady over the counter patiently explained to me about each cakes and I made my selection on the adorable filled butter shortbreads/sablés. I got myself a box of nine (which I initially thought would be too much), took them to the park in front of the shop and sat on the bench. After my first bite, I just couldn’t stop. Probably the best sablés I’ve had in my life! So light, delicate, impossibly buttery. SO GOOD. I actually finished all of them within ten minutes.
I’m kinda scared that if I ever move to Paris, I will eat Bontemps sablés everyday and gain like 100kgs. Which I will most definitely do.
L’éclair de Génie by Christophe Adams
Eclairs are my favorite so finding the best best best one was quite a challenge; and I wouldn’t have guessed that one of the top winners would be the ones from this chain store (they have many branches located all around Paris). The jewel-coloured (some even really sparkle!) éclairs with exotic flavors from yuzu to praline are almost too pretty to eat, but once you do, you wouldn’t stop. I buy a box of four almost everyday. Ok, everyday.
ps: they store well in the fridge overnight, hence my éclairs breakfast that kept making appearances on my IG stories last month.
14 Rue Pavée, 75004 Paris, Open everyday 11:00–19:30
13 Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, 75006 Paris, Open everyday 11:00–19:30
2 Rue des Petits Carreaux, 75002 Paris, Open everyday 11:00–19:30
Odette offers choux à la crème (cream puffs) in the most dangerous size; so small and adorable and so light and fluffy you’ll finish half dozen by yourself without even realising it.
77 Rue Galande, 75005 Paris | Métro Cluny – La Sorbonne
Open Monday-Friday 12:00 – 19:30, Saturday-Sunday 10:00-19:30
A small bakery with a beautiful selection of viennoiserie (croissants, pains au chocolat, brioches) and melt-in-your-mouth cakes that you could ever find in Paris, located just across the Square Armand Trousseau park. I recommend you to do what we did: takeaway some pastries (Le Trousseau / Religieuse Caramel) and have a little picnic there. I also recommend you to do what we didn’t: bring some wet napkin because I don’t know about you but I surely haven’t mastered the art of eating Chantilly-based French pastry without making a huge mess on my face and fingers.
On my last trip I stayed in an AirBnb within five minutes walk from Palais Royal, and stumbled upon this shop/tea room in the corner. The display of their signature pastry, L’Ile Flottante, quickly stole my attention (“Oh wow so so instagrammable!”), so I remind myself to pay a visit next time. I kept postponing the visit (you know when a location is too close you kinda went “Oh I’ll just do it tomorrow,”) til my last day, and I am so glad I didn’t miss it.
The dessert is not only pretty to look at (and ‘gram) but also amazingly good. The creme mousse is so light and delicate with caramel and biscuit filling that’s not overly sweet, just right for my taste. My friend had the Opera cake, which he also claimed as good (in case you’re a chocolate person).
I didn’t care so much because it’s not as pretty to shoot as my beautiful dessert. Our cake is 8 euro each but it seems like a fair price to pay for a slice of heaven.
11, rue des Petits Champs 75001 Paris
Open Monday-Friday 8:00 – 20:00, Saturday-Sunday 10:00-20:00
Les Petit Donuts
Ok, donuts might not be the most Parisian desserts, but just in case Chantilly is not your thing, you should check out this little joint hidden in the 11th Arrondisement.
These cute quirky donuts are not your average fried ones; they’re baked (less fat!), super moist and bustling with intense flavors as interesting as litchi, green tea and rose.
20 Rue Chanzy, 75011 Paris, France | Metro Charrone
Open Monday-Saturday 10:00 – 19:00, closed on Sundays
This patisserie is so beautiful and whimsical, the kind of French pastry shop you see in postcards or fashion editorials. The window display is the kind which would tempt everyone to step inside and indulge in the sweet paradise (or conversely intimidate others because it looks superbly lavish). The first time I entered I was so much in awe that I forgot to order anything.
The pastries are traditional but delicious (I had the best tarte au citron ever though normally I’m not into that pastry; the Millefeuille and Religieuses are also must-trys) and their caramels au beurre salé makes a great gift.
22 Rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris | Métro Tuileries
Open Tuesday-Friday 8:00 – 20:00, Saturday-Sunday 9:00-19:00, Closed on Mondays
Best hot chocolate in Paris, period. But what really stole my heart was their signature cakes Le Mont Blanc and Babylone, both of which are so so so divine. The hot chocolate and cakes are so rich and decadent in taste but also abit overwhelming so don’t eat anything before you have them. Really guys, I was with my mom and her friends and the four of us finally managed to finish only ONE cake within thirty minutes. The tearoom itself looks like a palace tearoom with gilded ceilings and beautiful murals.
My last visit there was on the Valentine’s week and for that occasion, they introduced the seasonal pastry, Idylle, which was basically paradise in your mouth. Sadly it wasn’t there anymore after February. #bringbackidylle
226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris | Métro Tuileries
Open Monday-Thursday 7:30 – 19:00, Saturday-Sunday 8:30-19:30
As I’ve mentioned on the beginning of the post, Paris and Tokyo always got my knees weak on their selections of pastries. Seems like the route between those two citites is the sweetest when it comes high class desserts. Both country celebrate and respect the confectionery culture and have birthed the world’s best pastry chefs. The Frenchmen come to Japan to learn their pastry crafts and vice versa. Which makes no wonder that Japanese cake guru, Sadaharu Aoki is one of the most sought after patissier in both cities. Blending authentic Japanese flavors like yuzu, sesame, azuki and matcha into traditional French recipes, he has created a gourmet experience that is truly unbeatable.
35 Rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris
Open Monday-Sunday 11:00 – 19:00
I quickly learned that when in Paris, never underestimate the quality of international pastry chains. Some desserts snobs might only religiously hunt for the most authentic, artisanal patisserie that’s hard to find; but not me. Eric Kayser might have franchises everywhere all around the world (like Paul), but my quick stop at the one located in Rue du Bac proves that it’s pretty hard to find a mediocre quality pastry in Paris, no matter how mainstream the place is.
Back to the story, I was there only for quick breakfast but the presentation of decadent pastries on the display drew my attention so I just had to order a cake for dessert. I chose the lemon-framboise macaronnade (because it looks pretty) and every bite sent me to heaven. The raspberry freshness, the pistachio creaminess, the subtle sweetness, the clear flavor in each bite…. I swear it made me forget about every dessert I’d ever had before it.
18 rue du Bac, 75007 and multiple other locations | Metro Solferino
Open everyday 7:00 – 20:00
What’s a Parisian dessert list without Ladurée on it?
75 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris | Metro Franklin D. Roosevelt
Open Everyday 7:30 – 23:00
21 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris | Metro Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Open Everyday 8:30 – 19:30
Everybody loves Berthillon, or I just haven’t met anyone who dislike it (but really why would you?). If you only have the chance to have one cone (or cup) of ice cream in Paris, make sure it’s from this lifetime champion grande dame du glaces. The good news is, you don’t have to come to their original parlour all the way to the Ile Saint Louis to get it (though it worths every second of waiting and I highly recommend you to!), because you can find many cafes/glaciers in Paris that serve them; just make sure you see the Berthillon sign on the storefront.
The chocolate noir flavors is out of this world, and the other sorbet flavors are equally rich and intense with the deepest flavors, though never too sweet. Noone ever know how Berthillon does it.
31 rue Saint Louis en L Ile, 75004 Paris
Open Wednesday-Sunday 10:00 – 20:00
After you pay, the staff will ask you which flavor, and you would reply to “How many can I have?”, which he would answer: “As many as you want!”, then comes the hesitation because you basically want them all.
Amorino serves the amazing ice cream with just too many delicious flavors to choose from, and the best thing is the flower shape they will carve for you, each “petal” can come in different flavors. You can choose to top it off with macaron (for an even prettier ‘gram). Amorino is everywhere and pretty easy to find in Paris.
18 rue du Bac, 75007 and multiple other locations | Metro Solferino
Open everyday 7:00 – 20:00
A La Mere de Famille
Shopping for chocolate in Paris is always difficult – there are so many choices and they are all very good. But you can always count on A la Mere de Famille, the centuries old charming old chocolate and sweets company with ten shop branches all over Paris. The signature emerald green painted wall and quirky font of the storefront gives an old school establishment feel, which makes sense given how long it’s been around.
Upon entering, you’ll feast on the sights and smells and taste of everything chocolate. Everything they offer is sinfully delicious and also comes in beautiful orange-ribboned packaging for you to gift people back home.
The second chocolate shop and the last establishment that makes it on this list. This little jewel box of sweets in Marais is like no other in Paris. Not only their chocolate selection is to die for, you’ll also love the Vanille de Madagascar, a humble-looking a vanilla-filled flat waffle with spectacular taste.13