Excuse my french - or rather, don’t, because macarons are simply magnifique! Here’s why your next trip to Paris should count with a macaron tour around the city of lights.
With so much to see and do in a city like Paris, sometimes it's difficult to know where to start. Generally speaking, the stomach is always a good one, and in these Parisian patisseries your stomach, as well as your eyes, will have a feast.
Macarons are delicate, brightly colored almond flour and meringue-based sandwich cookies. Made famous by French cuisine, macarons are actually an Italian import, brought to France by Queen Catherine de Medici’s royal cooks during the Renaissance.
At the time they were just a regular round almond cookie - it was in France that the mode of macaron we know and love today - vibrant sandwich cookies with hundreds of different colors and flavor combinations - were developed, and eventually took over the world.
These are a handful of maisons, patisseries, and boulangeries in Paris that have the best macarons in the city, and it’d be a crime for any self-professed cookie or sweet lover to leave France without getting to know them.
Maison Ladurée is one of the most traditional and oldest patisseries in Paris, its original store even being burned during the Paris Commune of 1871, and today it is a pastry and especially macaron reference around the world. The head chef at the time, Pierre Desfontaines, is generally credited with inventing the double-decker macaron we know and love today in the 1930s.
Stepping into Maison Ladurée is like stepping into a pastel fairy tale: painted ceilings, pale green walls framed but meticulously carved golden framings, marble countertops holding beautiful confections, and of course, macarons of all imaginable colors. If you like sweet pastries, macarons, rococó décor, or pastel colors, Ladurée is a must-stop in Paris.
- Location: 75 avenue des Champs Elysées, Paris.
- Cost: $$$-$$$$. 33 EUR or 35 USD for 12 macarons.
- Hours: Sunday through Friday, 8 AM - 10:30 PM.
There are also 9 other Ladurée stores and tea rooms in Paris.
Maison Pierre Hermé
Pierre Hermé is a star chef of France, studying under Gaston Lenôtre himself as a teenager and being lauded as the best pastry chef in the world multiple times. In 1998 he started his own brand and opened Maison Pierre Hermé Paris.
Pierre Hermé is Ladurée's biggest competitor in Paris - and its former head chef. He claims to be the one who gave Ladurée its savoir-faire.
Maison Pierre Hermé sells macarons with unusual and adventurous flavor combinations, and some claim they’re the tastiest macarons in Paris. There’s vanilla and olive oil, passion fruit, and chocolate, hazelnut praline and citrus, the famous Isaphan - raspberry, rose and lychee - and so much more.
- Location: 72 Rue Bonaparte, Paris.
- Cost: $$$$. Around 40 EUR (44 USD) for 12 macarons.
- Hours: Saturday through Thursday, 10 AM to 7 PM, 8 PM on Saturdays.
Maison Jean-Paul Hévin
For the chocolate lovers looking for a Paris macaron tour, this is a doubly fitting stop.
Jean-Paul Hevin is a master chocolatier, ice cream maker, and chef pâtissier that made his way to Japan and back to France, even winning the tricolor of Meilleures Ouvriers de France (Best Craftsmen in France). Today he has chocolatiers and pâtisseries all around Paris, ready to get you a masterfully delicious cocoa macaron fix.
Maison Hevin has 16 different macaron flavors, most of them paired up with Jean-Paul Hevins’ chocolate ganache filling. Choco-rêve!
- Location: 23bis, avenue de la Motte Picquet, Les Invalides, Paris.
- Cost: $$-$$$. 9,80 EUR (12,80 USD) for 5 macarons.
- Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 AM to 7:30 PM.
There are also Jean-Paul Hévin boutiques all around Paris, including at Vendôme, the Marais, and even at the Louvre.
Maison Mulot is Gérard Mulot’s patisserie and boulangerie (bakery), helmed today by chef Rouillard. It was opened in 1975, somewhat new compared to other Parisian bakeries and patisseries that have been around since the 19th century, but Maison Mulot has won the hearts and stomachs of tourists and residents alike.
This is regarded as the Parisians’ bakery, where people living in Paris are more likely to go out and get their fix of macarons rather than the high-end luxury stores of Ladurée and Pierre Hermé fame. Maison Mulot is an authentic patisserie, with a lot of variety and quality, where it's sure to have something to please everyone. It has 20 different macaron flavors alone!
Whether as a nice morning petit dejeuner or an afternoon sweet excursion, Maison Mulot deserves to be in everyone’s Paris itinerary.
- Location: 75 rue de Seine, St-Germain-des-Prés, Paris.
- Cost: $$-$$$. 24 EUR (27 USD) for 12 macarons.
- Hours: Sunday through Monday, 7 AM to 8 PM.