Paris Adventures – Patisseries, Palaces and Parisians

© Nadine Bakes

Finally I have the time to share my (pastry) adventures in Paris with you! As you know, I and Nadine went to Paris last week to sample some of its finest pastries and see its gorgeous sights (read Nadine’s post on Paris here). In this post I will share our experiences, and pictures of all that buttery, sugary goodness which I ate ofcourse! If you want the short version: YUM! Nadine has kindly allowed me to use some of the pictures she took!


 
Patisseries
 
Maison Landemaine in Rue des Martyrs © Nadine Bakes
 
 
Patisseries were the main reason we went to Paris. It was a toss up between Paris and Vienna in the end, with Paris taking the cake (pun intended) because it was closer by and cheaper. We only got to visit the patisseries during the last three days of our trip because many were closed on the 1st of May (Labor Day, when everything is closed in France). We visited quite a few; not all of them were as we’d expected though. Some were closed upon arrival, some only carried a particular kind of pastry (or chocolate). But we visited the best among them. First though, we discovered a street with more than a few patisseries, the “Rue des Martyrs”. We didn’t know this beforehand, but as we were descending from Montmartre to Galleries Lafeyette we stumbled upon this relatively unknown hotspot for foodies with a sweet tooth.
 
Mini Opera Cake from Arnaud Delmontel © Nadine Bakes
Tartes Fines from Maison Landemaine © Nadine Bakes
Huge Pistachio Macaron from Maison Landemaine © Nadine Bakes

In Rue des Martyrs, we got tartes fines at Maison Landemaine, one with pear and one with mirabelles. Mirabelles are my new favorite fruit, it’s a shame the berries are not found in the Netherlands (as far as I know). Later in the week we got a larger tarte to bring back home, they were just looking so pretty in the display case! We also got a HUGE pistachio macaron. We then went on to buy a mini opera cake (pour moi) and a strawberry mousse (for Nadine) at Arnaud Delmontel. We ate everything for dinner! Dessert for dinner is the BEST.

 
A more famous patisserie spot is Pierre Hermé. We actually had to queue for this King of Macaron’s shop – the sign outside proved this happens quite frequently (it says to leave the neighbor’s (Kiehl’s) exit free and not to disturb their customers). Nadine got a tarte infiniment vanille featuring three different types of vanilla and I got a plaisir sucré, which was chocolate-palooza featuring milk chocolate, hazelnut praliné, wafers and chocolate chantilly. Luckily, Nadine got Hermé’s cookbook, and I fully expect her to re-create this sugary pleasure for me! Hermé is pretty expensive, I won’t lie. The people behind the counter aren’t very good at English but you’ll get by with some basic French. They have good service, we got forks and napkins with our purchase so we could devour the pastry right away!
We didn’t just visit patisseries…
We got an amazing Oreo milkshake at Happy Days Diner
in Rue Rivoli © Nadine Bakes
 
and this humongous Rum Baba at
a French  restaurant © Nadine Bakes

Nadine really wanted to visit Sadaharu Aoki, an innovative pastry chef. The shop was really small and it felt a bit awkward because we were the only ones there and the girl behind the counter was staring a wee bit. Aoki has things no-one else has, like Nadine’s choux pastry with matcha cream. I didn’t buy anything because I felt I had maxed out my budget for the day, but everything looked really sleek and good. If you’re up for some exciting flavors, Aoki is to be recommended. We also visited some other places, but I won’t go into detail about those but instead copy the addresses at the end of this post.

Palaces
 
At Château Versailles © Nadine Bakes
 
 
There was still time for seeing other things than cake! We went to Château Versailles, which was beautiful, but the queue was absolutely ridiculous. We waited for 2,5 hours and spent maybe 1,5 hours inside. The mirror room was the highlight of the visit, but I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked as it was extremely busy. I would recommend visiting very early in the morning or after 3 o’clock as things started to calm down after that. Do get the audio guide as it will provide some much needed background information. 
 

 
Paris’ best area is Montmartre, the hill on which Sacré Coeur rests. The Sacré Coeur was beautiful but they a very commercial church with candles and medallions for sale at every corner. The view in front of the church is absolutely phenomenal. In Montmartre you’ll find cute, bohemian style shops, crêperies and other restaurants. We spend a day in total there, and still hadn’t seen everything. Some parts are very touristy but it still felt somewhat off the beaten path. 
 

 
 
 
The lines at the Louvre were just cray-cray. I think there must have been a kilometer (minimum!) when we wanted to visit, so we skipped that. Instead, I recommend taking a walk on the Île de la Cité and Île-St-Louis (you can visit Notre Dame while you’re at it). We had a funny moment during our walk, when a casually clothed Frenchman carrying baguettes bent over to pick up a coin in front of us, only to reveal a neon pink g-string. It was just one of those things you wouldn’t expect in that moment. Or visit the Musée Cluny if you’re a bit of a medieval nerd like us.
Our breakfast at some point, Pain au Chocolat, Croissant and a humongous Danish © Nadine Bakes
For shopping, the Passage du Havre was a good area. It’s a very clean and shiny place to be with all the bigger shops available (but not extremely big per se). Nadine and I picked up French cookbooks at the FNAC bookstore. This bookstore really felt like we stepped back in time, as such large bookstores are a thing of the past in the Netherlands. I picked up Eric Kayser’s “Larousse du Pain” which features many interesting bread recipes. On the way to Versailles, I picked up two patisserie magazines – I’ll be sure to share some recipes with you!
MORA: a baker’s shopping heaven
My buys at MORA
For all your baking related shopping, you can visit MORA (also known as the store that will cause pain in your wallet). If you can’t find what you need there, I think you might  want to reconsider buying it (because it must something extremely obscure). I bought a zesteur (have wanted one for SO LONG), a stainless steel dough scraper and a large nozzle. Across the street, you will find G. Detou, a store chock full of delicacies and special candy. 
 

 
Parisians
 
 
 
Everywhere I had heard that Parisians were unfriendly people, arrogant even. Boy were people wrong. It might have been our good looks, but every time we were “lost” a Parisian would come up to us and ask, in English (!), if we needed help and show us the way. That has never happened to me in any other city. At one point, we asked for directions in a restaurant and people came out onto the street with us, gesturing where we needed to go exactly and explaining which metro line to take. I have been absolutely, incredibly surprised in the amazingness of Parisians. Just try and speak a little French to them in the beginning and they’ll be more than happy to speak English when you can’t find the words as the conversation goes on. I hope you’ll get to visit Paris at one point in your life, you’ll find some good addresses at the end of this post to help you along in your patisserie quest. Au revoir!
 
Patisseries (all have more than one location, these are the ones we visited)
 
Pierre Hermé: 72 rue Bonaparte
Maison Landemaine26 rue des Martyrs
Arnaud Delmontel: 39 rue des Martyrs
Sadaharu Aoki35 rue de Vaugirard
Un Dimanche à Paris4-6-8 Cour du Commerce Saint André
Café Pouchkine: 4 Boulevard Haussmann
Sebastien Gaudard: 22 rue des Martyrs (only location)
Paul: 25 Rue de l’Opera (found all over the city)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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