La Pâtisserie des Rêves
Located on rue du Bac itself, La Pâtisserie des Rêves was founded in 2009 by hotelier Thierry Teyssier and pastry chef Philippe Conticini. Together, they wanted to reinvigorate the world of French pâtisserie, to inspire a love of traditional cakes and to create for others the kind of warm memories that they themselves associated with such treats. As Teyssier explains, their approach was to create ‘a new consumer-focused concept: a new experience in the shops and at home’.
The result is a store where the décor is eclipsed only by the excellence of its products. Glass cases suspended from the ceiling display beautiful cakes, pastries and sweets, including modern twists on classic French creations, from madeleines to millefeuilles. The duo wanted to create a ‘living magic moment’, and it really is an entertaining boutique – a lively space that will delight adults and is, crucially, also very child friendly. Be sure to sample the Paris-Brest here – a dessert made of choux pastry and praline cream – which Le Figaro magazine named the best in the city.
For a more traditional approach to pastry, visit Angelina, a Parisian foodie institution founded in 1903. The original tearoom on rue de Rivoli has hosted the cream of French society for over a century, and was a favourite haunt of icons including the French writer Marcel Proust and designer Coco Chanel. The rue du Bac boutique, which opened in 2013, may be the smaller cousin of the original location but it’s the perfect place to discover Angelina’s classic products. The Mont Blanc – a pastry dome featuring chestnut vermicelli concealed under a meringue top and whipped cream – is the best-seller. Keep an eye out as well for bottles of the famous L’Africain hot chocolate, named for its secret blend of three different African cocoa beans.
Chocolate lovers should also pay a visit to Chocolat Chapon. A rarity even among chocolatiers, owner Patrice Chapon makes his own chocolate, following the process from bean to bar, and his prize-winning creations are all of impeccable quality. From boxes of delicate chocolates, perfect to give as a gift, to brightly packaged slabs of rare, intense dark chocolate, Chapon’s array of creations reveals the sense of childhood wonder that he infuses into his craft. ‘I seek more to feed childhood memories than to feed appetites,’ he explains.
Hugo & Victor
Sweets, pastries and chocolates evoke indulgence and fun, something Hugues Pouget understands perfectly. At Hugo & Victor, his gourmet pastry shop, Pouget produces everything from macaroons and ice creams to show-stopping traditional French cakes. Seeking inspiration from the flavours themselves, Pouget focuses on three core tastes: chocolate, vanilla and caramel. Other seasonal offerings are available, but these three flavours are the heart of his process. Seek out the bite-sized financiers – sleekly engraved chocolate slabs – or the book-shaped chocolate boxes, which allude to the pâtisserie’s literary-inspired name.
Des Gâteaux et du Pain
If all this sweetness is becoming too much for you, pay a visit to Des Gâteaux et du Pain, where master baker David Granger uses his lifelong passion for bread-making to create some of the best loaves in the city. Granger’s partnership with pâtissière Claire Damon makes this a standout store. Granger and Damon met in 2005 and both wanted to create something new and exciting. The result is Des Gâteaux et du Pain, a store featuring artisan breads as well as pastries, cakes and other sweet treats. In what is traditionally considered a male-dominated industry, Damon proves that a female pastry chef is a force to be reckoned with, producing some of the best desserts in the city. Look out for her exemplary tarte au citron (lemon tart), indulge in a creamy cheesecake, or snack on a sweet cream-filled pastry.
The croissant is a pâtisserie classic and no culinary tour of Paris would be complete without at least one of these buttery crescents. You can’t go wrong with Claire Damon’s. ‘In a city filled with great croissants, this one stands out,’ writes Ann Mah on Vogue.com. We couldn’t agree more.