A guide to finding the best macaroons in Paris
Excuse my French – or rather, don’t, because the macaroons are just gorgeous! Here’s why your next trip to Paris should include a macaroon tour around the City of Lights.
With so much to see and do in a city like Paris, it can be hard to know where to start. Generally speaking, the stomach is always good, and in these Parisian pastries your stomach, as well as your eyes, will feast.
Macaroons are delicate sandwich cookies made from almond flour and brightly colored meringue. Made famous by French cuisine, macaroons are in fact an Italian import, brought to France by the royal cooks of Queen Catherine de Medici during the Renaissance.
Back then, they were just a simple round almond cookie – France is where the macaroon fashion we know and love today – vibrant sandwich cookies with hundreds of colors and combinations of different flavors – was developed and ultimately conquered the world.
These are a handful of houses, patisseries and bakeries in Paris that have the best macaroons in town, and it would be a crime for any self-proclaimed cookie or candy lover to leave France without knowing them.
Maison Ladurée is one of the most traditional and oldest pastry shops in Paris, its original store having even been burnt down during the Paris Commune of 1871, and it is today a benchmark of pastry and especially macarons around the world. The then chef, Pierre Desfontaines, is generally credited with inventing the two-tiered macaroon we know and love today in the 1930s.
Entering Maison Ladurée is like stepping into a pastel fairy tale: painted ceilings, pale green framed walls but meticulously carved golden frames, marble counters containing beautiful sweets, and of course, macaroons in every color imaginable. . If you like sweet pastries, macaroons, rococo decorations or pastel colors, Ladurée is an essential stopover in Paris.
- Site: 75 avenue des Champs Elysées, Paris.
- Cost: $$$ – $$$$. 33 EUR or 35 USD for 12 macaroons.
- Hours: Sunday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
There is also 9 other Ladurée shops and tea rooms in Paris.
Pierre Hermé House
Pierre Hermé is a Michelin-starred chef from France, a student under the direction of Gaston Lenôtre himself as a teenager and awarded several times as the best pastry chef in the world. In 1998, he created his own brand and opened the Maison Pierre Hermé Paris.
Pierre Hermé is Ladurée’s biggest competitor in Paris – and its former chef. He claims to be the the one who gave Ladurée its know-how.
Maison Pierre Hermé sells macaroons in unusual and adventurous flavor combinations, and some claim they are the tastiest macaroons in Paris. There is vanilla and olive oil, passion fruit and chocolate, hazelnut praline and citrus, the famous Isaphan – raspberry, rose and lychee – and much more.
- Site: 72 rue Bonaparte, Paris.
- Cost: $$$$. Around 40 EUR (44 USD) for 12 macaroons.
- Hours: From Saturday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., 8 p.m. on Saturday.
Jean-Paul Hévin House
For chocolate lovers looking for a macaroon tour in Paris, this is a doubly suitable stopover.
Jean-Paul Hevin is a master chocolatier, ice cream maker and pastry chef who has made his way in Japan and France, even winning the tricolor of the Meilleur Ouvriers de France (Meilleur Ouvrier de France). Today, he has chocolatiers and pastry shops all over Paris, ready to whip up a delicious dose of cocoa macaroon for you.
Maison Hevin offers 16 different flavors of macaroons, most of them accompanied by a chocolate ganache from Jean-Paul Hevins. Chocolate-dream!
- Site: 23bis, avenue de la Motte Picquet, Les Invalides, Paris.
- Cost: $$ – $$$. 9.80 EUR (12.80 USD) for 5 macaroons.
- Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
There are also Jean-Paul Hévin boutiques all around Paris, including in Vendôme, in the Marais, and even in the Louvre.
La Maison Mulot is Gérard Mulot’s pastry and bakery (bakery), now run by chef Rouillard. It was opened in 1975, a bit new compared to other Parisian bakeries and pastry shops that have been around since the 19th century, but Maison Mulot has captured the hearts and stomachs of tourists and residents alike.
This is considered the bakery of the Parisians, where the inhabitants of Paris are more likely to go out and grab their fix of macaroons rather than the high-end luxury stores of Ladurée and Pierre Hermé fame. La Maison Mulot is an authentic, varied and quality pastry shop, where there is bound to be something to please everyone. It has 20 different macaron flavors on its own!
Whether it’s a good breakfast in the morning or a gentle excursion in the afternoon, Maison Mulot deserves to be on everyone’s Parisian itinerary.
- Site: 75 rue de Seine, St-Germain-des-Prés, Paris.
- Cost: $$ – $$$. 24 EUR (27 USD) for 12 macaroons.
- Hours: Sunday to Monday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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