Paris is undeniably the pastry capital of the world, and with good reason: the city is peppered with a plethora of pastry shops and dessert specialty stores, each featuring more breathtaking pastries than the last. If there’s any place in the world to spend an entire day solely eating pastries, it’s Paris.
The goal of the pastry marathon is to eat as much as is physically possible without exploding, while still being able to wander and explore the streets of Paris. This task isn’t for amateurs, people, so proceed with caution.
Start your engines, put on your loosest pants and come hungry. Here’s the route:
1. Breakfast pastry at Blé Sucré
Begin your pastry tour with a stop at Blé Sucré for one of their famous, ultra-buttery croissants along with a sample of their glazed madeleines, which are ranked the best in Paris. Get it to go and sit in the adjacent park for some awesome people watching. You have officially entered the beginning of pastry heaven.
2. Éclairs at L’éclair de Génie
Have a nice walk from the 12th arrondissement to the Marais for a chance to savor edible artwork at Christophe Adam’s specialty éclair shop. The flavors change depending on the season, though the classics can be found in the cabinet year round. Buy one and prevent yourself from buying more. Remember, this is only your second stop.
3. Millefeuille at Jacques Genin
Continue your way north through the Marais to arrive at chocolate and pastry wizard, Jacques Genin. Although he’s primarily known for the city’s most exquisite chocolate, his tea salon in the 3rd arrondissement features his sculpted millefeuille made à la minute (made-to-order): three layers of puff pastry with vanilla bean cream piped in the middle.
4. Cream puffs (choux) at Popelini
Take a long walk from the 3rd arrondissement west to the 9th arrondissement to Rue des Martyrs, Paris’s street for food lovers featuring a plethora of pastry and specialty dessert shops. Pass all these by for Popelini, a haven for miniature cream puffs. Try the rose or salted caramel and bite through the soft shell to discover a lovely present of rich, luscious custard.
5. Puits d’amour at Stohrer
Ignore the growth of a second food baby and pull over at Stohrer, Paris’s oldest bakery. Order the puits d’amour—literally “wells of love”—a small puff pastry round stuffed with rich vanilla bean custard and drizzled with a layer of caramel for a sweet crunch on top. Take your pastry and walk down the Rue Montorgueil, admiring the charming boutiques.
6. Fruit tart at Gérard Mulot
Cross the Seine to the bourgeois Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood on the Left Bank. Choose from the enormous selection of magnificent fruit tarts, reminding yourself you should probably eat fruit at some point today. The tarte aux fraises is killer, but any of his stunning tarts are drool-worthy as well.
7. Macarons from Pierre Hermé
Have a friend roll you outside of Gérard Mulot to Pierre Hermé. Stop yourself from having a heart attack at how exquisite the pastries look, then consider the macaron flavors: try the classics and the exotic flavors, offered seasonally. Enjoy them while sitting on the benches by Saint Sulpice, which are plastered with Pierre Hermé stickers from previous pastry eaters.
8. Gâteau au chocolat from Des Gâteaux et Du Pain
Stroll through the enchanting Jardin du Luxembourg, home to Parisians sunbathing and reading, before turning around and heading to pâtissière superstar Claire Damon’s pastry shop. Revel in each pastry’s splendor, then choose the gâteau au chocolat: layers of fluffy chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and a shiny layer of dark chocolate ganache on top.
9. Paris Brest from La Pâtisserie des Rêves
Even though you feel large and in charge, stumble next door to the final stop. You question whether or not the pastries are art, inevitably making you wonder whether you’re in a museum. You push these thoughts aside, acknowledging it’s probably your sugar high talking.
Choose the Paris Brest: two layers of choux pastry with a hazelnut cream filling. Eat it overlooking the Seine and do a celebratory dance because you seriously killed it today. Congrats.
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