France produces some of the world’s most delectable cheeses and Paris is home to some of its top specialists. We sample the wares of five of the best, from a cheese shop that is over a century old to the store that the president is rumoured to frequent
France is one of the world’s most famous makers – and exporters – of fine cheeses, so it will come as no surprise that Paris is home to a wealth of excellent fromageries (cheese shops). While the city offers an abundance of gourmet stores specialising in foods of all sorts, there is a particularly French feel about great cheese, and in perusing varieties both familiar and new in a space dedicated to brie, reblochon, camembert and many more.
Visitors to Paris should never be dissuaded from popping into every fromagerie they stumble across, or making the most of the city’s many markets. However, these five establishments are connoisseur-approved and are guaranteed to offer some of the best cheeses the French nation – and the world – has to offer.
Family business Jouannault is committed to providing a varied selection of the best French cheeses. After travelling the country to discover the best on the market, the family then refines the cheeses in its own maturing cellar. The fromagerie is known for house specialities including brie au bleu et noix (a brie enhanced with nuts and a blue layer), and also for its seasonal specials: visitors will find something new with each visit. If you are entertaining, ask the team for an expertly balanced cheeseboard. If you’re looking for a souvenir, Jouannault will vacuum-pack your cheeses for a safe (and odour-free) journey.
Jouannault, 39 rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris, +33 (0)1 4278 5261
Master cheesemaker Laurent Dubois is acknowledged as one of France’s finest, and his three Parisian boutiques display his intense passion for raw milk cheeses. Dubois comes from a family with generations of experience in the field of fine fromage, and as a maker as well as a seller he is well placed to select the best varieties from the best producers across the country. Be sure to sample one of the powerful blue cheeses on offer, and look out for the Dubois selection of rare varieties.
Laurent Dubois, 97-99 rue Saint Antoine, 75004 Paris, +33 (0)1 4887 1710
In 1909, Henri Androuet opened his first fromagerie in Paris, aiming to share the rich variety of French regional cheeses with the people of its capital. To this day, specialists from Androuet travel around France to discover the best cheeses from every region, favouring small producers and farmers, and promoting cheese made with the most exacting methods and the highest-quality ingredients. The variety and standards at the rue Mouffetard store are exceptional; take the opportunity to try something new.
Androuet, 134 rue Mouffetard, 75005 Paris, +33 (0)1 4587 8505
Rumoured to be the fromagerie of choice of both the French president and prime minister, Barthélemy is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious specialists in the city. The tiny shop is filled to bursting with endless varieties of cheese, as well as a selection of excellent accompaniments: wine, preserves and biscuits. Be sure to ask the owner, Nicole Barthélemy, for her recommendations, as the selection changes regularly to include seasonal delicacies.
Barthélemy, 51 rue de Grenelle, Paris 75007, +33 (0)1 4222 8224
Award-winning cheesemaker Quatrehomme is known for its speciality cheeses, so be sure to ask about these when visiting the charming boutique on rue de Sèvres. They are seasonal and sell out fast; examples might include a marinated Burgundy cheese made with Japanese whisky in a traditional smokehouse, or a Saint-Marcellin variety coated with sliced roasted almonds, honey and lemon. The makers are experts in flavour combinations, so you’re guaranteed to discover something completely new and completely delicious here.
Quatrehomme, 62 rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris, +33 (0)1 4734 3345