Croissants, Baguettes, and Other Carbs
In no particular order, some favorites.
**Blé Sucré (12th): This place is a food-blogger fave and for good reason, though it’s off the beaten path. But you’re not like the 6 jillion other tourists who come here and are too busy sitting by the Eiffel Tower to make the trek over to the 12th and taste this, now are you? You have a refined palate and a sense of adventure. (I can tell by the way your eyeballs are scanning the page.) Though once you get to the 12th, you’ll see that it’s lovely and not all that different than the rest of Paris, so there’s no need to consider this an “adventure” per se. (Though every day in Paris hopefully feels like a good adventure…)
Now, what to get: a croissant and a kouign amann. Trust me on this and get them both. But get there early (before 11) or they’ll be sold out.
**La Pâtisserie (10th): Buttery perfection, this croissant. And the chocolatine? Get it too. GET THEM BOTH.
**The Ispahan croissant at Pierre Hermé (This croissant is only in the 6th): This is the second of the two things in all my recommendations that you absolutely must get. It’s not available at every PH location, so get it at the location on rue Bonaparte in the 6th then take it on a walk through nearby Jardin du Luxembourg. Also, they tend to sell out early, so try to get there before lunch. Please please PLEASE don’t get a plain croissant here; you can get a good plain croissant at so many other places in Paris, but you can’t get the Ispahan anywhere else. It’s totally unique, totally Paris, and totally Pierre. It’s crack.
**Sebastien Gaudard (9th):This is the kettle corn of croissants: a little salty and a little sweet. That’s the case with all croissants, of course, but this one a little more so than usual, and I’m way into it, and if you taste it, I bet you will be too. And rue des Martyrs is one of my favorite streets in Paris.
**Les Gourmandises d’Eiffel (7th): Maybe it was the fact that I’d had one of the most epic nights of my life leading up to eating this croissant at 7 a.m. Maybe it was being the only person (aside from my good friend Jenna) on the entire Champ de Mars at sunrise, the Eiffel Tower all to ourselves. Maybe it was that we got the first croissants of the day, still warm from the oven. I don’t know, but this croissant is one of my faves. Close to the Eiffel Tower (obvi) for all of you trekking by it for a photo opp.
Check out some other croissant thoughts in this article I wrote for Girls’ Guide to Paris.
Note 1: always, always, alwaaaayyyyyss ask for a baguette de tradition, otherwise, you’ll leave bitching about how the baguettes in Paris taste like the ones at Safeway back in America. The tradition is the one you want in Paris.
Note 2: I didn’t devote as much time to baguetting in Paris as I did to croissanting. I had some fantastic ones, but I also had some duds, so I learned how to discern which places were more likely to sell good ones. Check out the list of winners for La Grand Prix de la Baguette 2015 to help guide your choices.
**Arnaud Delmontel (9th) HOLY CRAP! I’m so psyched to see this on the list of 2012 winners! Every day on my way home from Kooka Boora, I stopped here to get a baguette for dinner and I had no idea that it was one of the winners. Well done, Arnaud!
**Eric Kayser (all over): I don’t care if it’s a chain; it’s got a rep for amazing baguettes for a reason: because they’re delicious. The cookie noir (buttery, chunky chocolate chip and white chocolate chip cookies) here is also a must-try. (Note: Sorry, New Yorkers: the American version of EK baguettes doesn’t even come close. They’re good, but not Paris good.)
Le Grenier à Pain (all over and in the 18th): Great baguettes and also amazing savory breads, think fig/cranberry, sausage or chorizo, or chevre/cranberry. *WINNER OF THE 2015 GRAND PRIX DE LA BAGUETTE COMPETITION.* AKA: Go here, get a baguette.
Du Pain et des Idées (10th) I loved all the breads I tried here, and I also loved the escargots, named so because they’re rolled up like a snail (a sweet roll is probably the more appetizing example) with delicious ingredients like chocolate and pistachio or black currants tucked into the folds.
Poilâne (multiple locations, but I like the one in the 6th) Pretty much some of the most famous bread in the world. The decorated sourdough loaves are a beautiful gift to send to someone (carrying it back would be a nightmare), especially for the holidays. The fruity breads were my favorite. This place is always busy at every location (when I was last there, a Japanese TV show was filming – a nightmare in that small space), which is probably why I prefer Du Pain et des Idées a tiny bit more.
La Tradition Julien (2nd): This little gem is convenient to Opera Garnier if you’re jonesing for a delicious (and inexpensive) sandwich or baked treat after having your mind blown by all that amazing Chagall-ness. I had a sandwich from here almost every day and always left with some piece of delicious savory bread: the chorizo was one of my faves, but the date/nut was also delish. Also, they have lots of tasty cakes: the four chocolate is insanely good and not terribly sweet.
Le Grenier à Pain (all over and in the 18th): Great savory breads – see above.