Sure, you can do all those things (and at some point, you should!). Moi, however? Well, on my most recent visit, I had another goal in mind . . . sample as many of Paris’ legendary chocolate and pastry shops as I could (without making myself sick, or a candidate for the
I know . . . it was a tough assignment, but hey, I was up to the challenge. And it was all in the name of research, wasn’t it? Not to mention, with all the news out now about the health benefits of chocolate, I figured I was doing something good for myself with every bitewithin reason anyway.
With only two weeks, I couldn’t quite gouter my way throughout the entire city, but I made a tasty dent. Here’s my sweet-tooth guide for a chocolate-lover’s Parisian holiday.
226, rue de Rivoli; Metro: Tuileries
This tea shop/lunchroom/pastry lover’s delight is also the most famous place in
31, rue St.-Louis-en-l’Ile; Metro: Pont Marie
You can also enjoy a cup of hot chocolate here, but Berthillon is most famous for its ice cream. Once only available at this location, you can now find Berthillon glaces et sorbets throughout the city, but this is the original. A small boule of glace au chocolat is rich and deeply chocolatey. French scoops of ice cream are much smaller than what we find in the U.S., but you won’t mind in the least because the flavor is that intense. One of my other favorite flavors here is gianduja, a somewhat lighter chocolate flavored with orange, containing slivers of orange peel. Delicious!
12 boulevard des Capucines; Metro: Opera
When the weather’s frosty outside, sit in the heated, glass-enclosed terrace and watch the world go by in front of the magnificent Opera Garnier while you choose between a hot chocolate that’s fort en gout (strong, intense) or touche delicate (milder in flavor). If you can stand the sugar rush, enjoy one of the Café’s legendary millefeuilles (no chocolate, but who can go wrong with layers of tissue-thin pastry filled with a creamy custard).
37, rue d’Assas; Metro:
For the chocolate purist, Christian Constant offers three different tablettes of chocolate: milk, dark, and bitter (not bittersweet, mind you, but truly bitter). While the chocolate bars and bonbons are exquisite, the chocolate éclair will make you swoon (Buy an extra one and take it back to the hotel for later!).
101 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honore; Metro: Saint-Philippe-du-Roule
There are other locations of this famous patisserie/traiteur (carry-out)/glacier), but this is where I found the most delicious caramels I’ve ever eaten. A varied selection of light, medium, dark, and mocha caramels kept me going for days. I’m only sorry I didn’t buy more!
Debauve et Gallais
30, rue des Saints-Peres; Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Pres
at Le Bon
76, rue de Seine; Metro: Odeon
You’ll know you’ve found the spot by the lines outside the door on Saturday afternoons or early evenings as Parisians stop by to pick up pastries, cookies, breads, or some dishes for their evening meal. While not technically a chocolate shop, don’t miss their pain au chocolat, a traditional afternoon treat for French schoolchildren (and myself as well!).
231, rue Saint-Honore; Metro: Tuileries
One of the famous names among French chocolatiers, Jean-Paul Hevin not only offers more traditional chocolates, but a line of aperitif chocolates--made with cheese. An odd concept . . . until you taste one!
75, avenue Champs-Elysees; Metro: George V
A French institution, Laduree was Paris’ first tearoom. In the 1950s, the pastry chef at Laduree invented the French macarontwo lighter-than-air cookies filled with a flavored cream (chocolate, lemon, pistachio…the flavors are seemingly endless). Order a small plate of cookies along with Laduree’s chocolat chaud, served in a silver pitcher, and rest your sightseeing-weary legs
Les Deux Magots
170, boulevard Saint Germain; Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Pres
I don’t know what others think of the hot chocolate here, but this was where I had my first cup of the drink that was unlike anything I had tasted at home, so I have a special fondness for this famous café. Sit on the terraceheated in chillier weatherand watch tourists and locals alike streaming past the Saint-Germain-des-Pres cathedral, or hurrying along boulevard Saint Germain . . . this is your quintessential Paris postcard moment.
149, rue de l’Universite; Metro: Invalides
This sculptor of chocolateswith African statuettes, jewel boxes, animals, and more decorating his upscale boutiquealso offers chocolates in more traditional forms, while continuing to experiment with new creations. Among his most recent: the Merida, an orange-flavored truffle, and a chocolate nougat with almond and Provencal honey.
72, rue Bonaparte; Metro: Saint-Sulpice
This pint-size shop is filled with chocolates and pastries that literally look too beautiful to eat. Dubbed “le Dior des desserts,” Herme is justifiably famous for his signature offerings, including his dark chocolate macarons.
89, rue de Seine; Metro: Odeon
I discovered this chocolatier in
Sadly, my two weeks of chocolate bliss finally came to an end (probably not a moment too soon). But, as I curl up with my hot chocolate throughout the winter months, I’ll be planning my return tripand plotting the next round of treats to discover.
By Carol Sorgen, Baltimore Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent.
If you’re a true chocaholic, time your visit to take advantage of the annual Salon du Chocolat. Watch a chocolate fashion show, visit a chocolate art gallery, sign up for chocolate cooking classes, or just eat your way through the exposition. Visit www.chocoland.com for more information.
Where to Stay
Some of my favorite places to stay in Paris just happen to be within a stone’s throw of some of my favorite chocolate haunts (believe it or not, that actually is a coincidencealthough it may not be in the future!).
Hotel Warwick Champs-Elysees, 5, rue de Berri, 8th arrondissement; telephone: (33 1) 45 63 14 11; fax: (33 1) 42 56 77 59. Read the feature about the Warwick Hotels in Jetsetters Magazine.
Located just steps off the Champs-Elysees, this newly renovated hotel is elegant and stylish without being at all stuffy or pretentious. The staff is friendly and helpful. Walk out of the hotel, turn right, and in less than half a block you’ll find yourself on Paris’ most famous avenue. Cross the street and head right to Laduree!
Hotel Westminster (a Warwick Collection hotel), 13, rue de la Paix, 2nd arrondissement; telephone: (33 1) 42 61 57 46; fax: (33 1) 42 60 30 66. On the posh rue de la Paix (next to Cartier no less!) is the completely updated 19th century Hotel Westminster. Still retaining its Old World charm, but with all the modern amenities you could ask for, Hotel Westminster is within walking distance of the famed Opera Garnier, the Tuileries Gardens, the grands magasins such as Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps, and, yes . . . chocolate!
Leave the hotel and turn left; walk up rue de la Paix to Boulevard des Capucines and make your way to the Café de la Paix for a pastry and hot chocolate break. Or, go in the opposite direction when leaving the hotel, making a right on rue de la Paix, walk down to Place Vendome and ogle all the world-renowned jewelers, and then continue on to rue de Rivoli, where you’ll find Angelina’s and their famous chocolat Africain.
For English-speaking bookaholics, rue de Rivoli is also home to two of Paris’ English-language bookstores, W.H. Smith, and Gallignani (located next to Angelina’s).
Hotel de Fleurie, 32-34 rue Gregoire de Tours, 6th arrondissement, telephone: (33 1) 53 73 70 00; Fax: (33 1) 53 73 70 20; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.fleurie-hotel-paris.com
This small, family-run hotel on a quiet street just off boulevard Saint Germain, is my choice when I stay on the Left Bank. Rooms are modern and comfortable, the staff is friendly, and the location, in the heart of Saint Germain, can’t be beat. Leave the hotel, turn left, and walk a few steps up to blvd. Saint Germain, make another left and walk to rue de Seine, turn left, and you’ll find yourself at Pierre Marcolini, the Belgian chocolatier who has taken