Opening a pastry shop in Saint-Germain-des-Prés is not an easy thing. There are so many of them, and the level is extremely high. Let’s face it, it’s like opening a pizza joint in Roma. This is our guide of the best pastry shops in the neighborhood; and most important what you need to order once you get in. After a very long and painful benchmark, we’ve succeeded to establish it after years of experience. What’s your favorite one?
• LA PÂTISSERIE DES RÊVES •
Philippe Conticini opened up a shop on a quiet street close to the Bon Marché a few years ago now. The space is very tiny but the pastries showcases are impressive. Everybody’s fond of his re-interpretations of the Paris-Brest or the Saint-Honoré but what we prefer here are his own creations. The Grand Cru vanille for instance is a tasteful and creamy vanilla dessert. The intense vanilla flavor was balanced by the smooth, delicate texture of the cake. A true discovery for me.
Our favorite: the Grand Cru vanille.
• HUGO & VICTOR •
Hugo et Victor (notice the pun about famous French author, Victor Hugo) are not usual pastry chefs: the shop looks more like a jewelery than a a place where you can buy cakes. It’s no surprise the price tag for a cake is quite something (around $7 for an individual portion). But we’ve been really seduced by the talent of the duo: especially by the grapefruit dessert with its grapefruit mousse and fresh grapefruit supreme. Chocolate based cakes were more disappointing.
Our favorite: Victor’s caramel cake.
• PIERRE HERMÉ •
I’m not sure Pierre Herme needs to be introduced here. He’s one of the founding fathers of modern French pastry. But we’re also fond of his macarons.The macarons he makes are always very fresh, which is quite challenging because we thought that the quality would dip down as Herme opens a few shops every year in Paris (and elsewhere). We also love these macarons because they’re intense and the flavors combinations are quite creative like the olive oil and vanilla macaron.
Our favorite: the passion fruit and chocolate macaron.
• GÉRARD MULOT •
Gérard Mulot is one of the oldest pastry shops in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. It’s not so much about the aesthetic here but much more about the taste. Look at his orange tart: the biscuit reminded me of a sablé, very flat and filled with a dense orange preparation that comes close to a fantastic orange marmalade with preserved oranges chunks. It might look less appealing than your usual orange pie which often comes with very sweet cream filling, but the taste is all what matters here.
Our favorite: the orange tart.
• COLOROVA •
Last but not least, the chef behind Colorova is the youngest of our benchmark but the future looks bright for him. He’s not trying to re-interpret anything because most of the cakes are his own creations. And it works pretty well. He opened a great space (where you’ll be able to sip a tea and get a cake in a very modern designed room), not far from the culinary school he graduated from. Don’t be repelled by the approximate staff, they’re very young as well. Still one of the very best pastry shops in Saint-Germain-Des-Prés
Our favorite: the peanuts and caramel tart.