“artisanal (adjective): Food made fresh daily, by hand, in small batches that requires skills from a maker/master with a combination of science and art derived from experience”(from Artisanal Defined)
There are many “Top Ten” style lists of Paris pastry shops, but there are also several hundred to choose from (there are over 350 selected by author and pastry chef David Lebovitz in the Paris Pastry Guide). Although most lists are completely subjective, this one only includes pastry shops that fit the following strict criteria for inclusion.
- “Only in Paris”: These pastry shops can only be found in Paris, with a maximum of three locations within the city. No international chains allowed, no matter how good their pastries might taste!
- “Artisanal Pastries”: Because it’s not regulated, anyone can slap the word “Artisanal” on their products. But these shops make their pastries fresh on-site each day by hand by professional pastry chefs. No industrial production in factories or freezing allowed!
- “Quality Ingredients”: High-end pastries don’t just look pretty, they’re made with the highest quality of carefully sourced, seasonal ingredients. These not only means they taste superior to pastries made with processed or artificial ingredients and preservatives found in average pâtisseries, it also justifies a higher price tag.
- “A Certain Je ne Sais Quoi“: Being able to faithfully produce the classics is important, but the best pastry chefs also know how to wow us with daring flavor combinations, surprising textures and creative flair that turns each pastry into a work of art almost too beautiful to eat! (almost)
The 13 Top Artisanal Pastry Shops
After thoroughly researching about two dozen contenders, the following baker’s dozen of 13 pastry shops made the cut. All things being equal between them in terms of standards, ranking them within this list would depend on personal tastes and preferences, so I’ve simply ordered them alphabetically:
Pastry chef Arnaud Larher has two contemporary pastry shops on the west end of Montmartre and one in St-Germain. He’s known for his macarons as well as his award-winning chocolates.
– 53 rue Caulaincourt, 18th (closed Sun afternoon and Monday)
– 57 rue Damrémont, 18th (closed Sun afternoo, Monday, and Tuesday)
– 93 rue de Seine, 6th (closed Tuesday morning and Monday)
2. Blé Sucré
Pastry chef Fabrice Le Bourdat’s little boutique near the Marché Aligre has won awards for his madeleines. A musician neighbor made this tribute video to Blé Sucré (and the ungodly working hours of artisanal pastry chefs everywhere).
– 7 rue Antoine Vollon, 12th (closed Monday)
Pastry chef Carl Marletti has an elegant little boutique at the bottom of the Marché Mouffetard. He’s known for his millefeuilles and prize-winning strawberry fraisier.
– 51 rue Censier, 5th (closed Sunday afternoon and Monday)
Pastry chef for the Plaza Athénée palace hotel, Christophe Michalak has a pastry school and shop in the 10th and another boutique in the Marais. He’s known for his contemporary pastry creations and his rock star personality (his face, rather than his pastries, graces the covers of his many books).
– 60 rue du Faubourg Poissonière, 10th (closed mornings, Sunday, Monday)
– 16 rue de la Verrerie, 4th (closed Monday and Tuesday)
5. Gérard Mulot
Pastry chef Gérard Mulot’s first boutique opened in St-Germain in 1975. There’s now a separate tearoom nearby, and a second boutique in the charming Butte aux Cailles district. His macarons are my personal favorite.
– 76 rue de Seine, 6th (closed Wednesday)
– 12 rue des Quatre Vents, 6th (tearoom; closed Sunday and Monday)
– 93 rue de la Glacière, 13th (closed Monday)
Pastry chef Claire Damon teamed up with bread maker David Granger to open two luxurious, almost theatrical boutiques on the Left Bank. She’s famous for her saffron-infused Kashmir pastry.
– 63 boulevard Pasteur, 15th (closed Tuesday)
– 89 rue du Bac, 7th (closed Tuesday)
Pastry chef Ludovic Chaussard’s pretty little pastry shop across from Jean-François Piège’s famous Thoumieux restaurant is known for its best-selling chou-chou (a cream puff within a cream puff), but the lemon tart is also delicious.
– 58 rue St-Dominique, 7th (open daily)
Pastry chef Jacques Genin is actually more famous for his caramels and chocolates, but his lemon tart and millefeuille — currently only served in the North Marais tearoom or by special order — have diehard fans.
– 133 rue de Turenne, 3rd (tearoom, closed Monday)
– 27 rue de Varenne, 7th (closed Sunday and Monday)
Pastry chef duo Nathalie Robert and Didier Mathray have two boutiques (the smaller one has deli food) side-by-side on a market street just behind the Pompidou Centre. They’re famous for their Rosemary pastry made with rhubarb, raspberry, and a rosemary-infused cookie base.
– 14 rue de Rambuteau, 3rd (closed Tuesday and Wednesday)
Pastry chef Sébastien Dégardin and his wife Sandrine took over this pretty-as-a-postcard Art Deco pastry shop with the historically listed interior in 2013, just around the corner from the Panthéon and Luxembourg Gardens. Try their Passiflore, made with coconut, passion fruit and mango.
– 200 rue St-Jacques, 5th (closed Monday and Tuesday)
Pastry chef Sébastien Guadard has an old-fashioned Parisian boutique in South Pigalle and a tearoom overlooking the Tuileries Gardens by the Louvre. Focused on the classics, he makes one of the best Mont Blanc pastries in Paris.
– 22 rue des Martyrs, 9th (closed Monday)
– 1 rue des Pyramides, 1st (tearoom, closed Monday)
Pastry chef Jeffrey Cagnes maintains the ancient traditions of the oldest pastry shop in Paris. Dating back to 1730 (the listed decor is from 1830), this is the boutique where Louis XV’s pastry chef Nicolas Stohrer created the famous Baba au Rhum, a rum-soaked brioche with whipped cream adored by Louis’s father-in-law, King Stanislas of Poland.
– 51 rue Montorgueil, 2nd (open daily)
Pastry chef Nicolas Bacheyre is quietly making magic at one of the most underrated pastry shops in Paris. Located in a hidden 18th-century passage near Odéon, Un Dimanche à Paris is a chocolate concept store created by Pierre Cluizel (son of the famous chocolate-maker Michel Cluizel) and Sylvie Valette, with an open kitchen, tearoom, restaurant and cooking school. This is my favorite shop on the list, not just because the pastries are delicate in their design and daring in their flavor combinations (this month’s special is a pear, coffee, and green anise tartelette), but also because each pastry’s main ingredients are helpfully listed in French and English (some are even gluten free). I love to pop in for a shot of their wonderfully creamy, lightly spiced hot chocolate for just €2.20 (you can also enjoy a whole pot of it in their tearoom).
– 4 cours du Commerce St-André, 6th (open daily)