Since this was our third time visiting Paris, we decided to do things a little differently.
Instead of visiting the usual sights, we decided to explore new parts of the city each day by searching out it's most famous patisseries.
That's right, we went on a pastry hop!
The best croissant in Paris - we ate it. The best madeleines - we ate those too. And who makes a better macaron, Pierre Hermé or Ladurée - we ate them both and figured it out.
The first patisserie we hit was an obvious choice: Gontan Cherrier's little shop up in Montmartre. I've read about his incredible breads all over the place. But mostly I've read about his croissants...
His croissants are special because they're made with feuilletage inversé (a type of puff pastry normally reserved for millefeuilles), and apparently this makes all the difference.
Well let me tell you, those croissants were AMAZING!
He also uses this type of pastry for his delightful kouign-amann's (a caramelized salted butter pastry from the Brittany region of France).
But my favourite of all his marvellous pastries was this delicious fresh berry and mint tart. It was incredibly refreshing.
(oh and "just for the record", we didn't eat all of these at once, we visited the shop on more than one day)
Next up, we wandered deep into the 12th arrondissement to find the tiny bakery known as Blé Sucré, which is quite famous for it's glazed madeleines... apparently the best in Paris, according to David Lebovitz anyway (you can read his praise for Blé Sucré's madeleines here)
To be honest, I think they were the first madeleines I've ever tasted, so I have nothing to compare them to. At first glance I thought, these are it? What's all the fuss about? Then I bit into one.... and then another, and as I reached for my third I realized that I had instantly fallen in love. Sometimes the simplest things are the absolute best. Honestly I'm still day-dreaming about them.
Fortunately, I found the recipe online... and I can't wait to try making them.
My husband loved their chocolate eclairs too (he had to get something of his own since I turned out to be pretty stingy with sharing my madeleines!)
And of course we had to try the famous Paris-Brest at La Patisserie des Rêves, where each pastry is displayed in a glass dome like expensive jewelry.
And what trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the oh-so-famous Ladurée?
Although there were many tempting pastries to try, we were there for one obvious reason alone... the macarons.
And of course, they were sheer perfection. My favourite was definitely the salted caramel. Holy moly those were good!
But I'd also heard a lot about Pierre Hermé's macarons... and how some claimed these were better. So we had to try those too....
They were also sheer perfection. A little more modern than ladurée, with funky flavour combinations like passion fruit and chocolate (my favourite).
It's honestly hard to say which macarons were better, as they're both heavenly.
Ladurée is more touristy, but has those classic flavours in beautiful bright colours, and those enchanting tea rooms which I think really make the whole macaron experience. But when it comes down to taste, I have to say, we preferred Pierre Hermé. But two other online reviews I read both picked Ladurée (here and here), so clearly it's a personal choice.
So there you have it... our 3 day Parisian pastry hop!
Just a few words to the wise....