Aaaaaah, macarons. These ultra-famous, round little suckers were indeed invented in Paris (and life has not been the same for anyone since). Some *will* try to convince you they are Italian, but that’s just a fake news — VIIIth century edition.
While vast majority of places offer only the sweet version of the macarons, I found a savory version once, filled with blood sausage, at l’Avant-Comptoir at Odéon. Dare to taste it! In the meantime, reach a ~macaron nirvana~ by following the list below. Just do us all a favour and don’t ever call it « sandwich cookies » again. That’s a blasphemy we won’t tolerate in here.
This place holds the title for the oldest bakery in Paris. Opened in 1730, they are still considered one of the best places to go get that French pastry that you’ve always wanted to try. You know those eclairs and macarons that you dream (and see Pinterest photos) about? They look extremely similar to the ones you can find at Stohrer. If you don’t mind the elevated price (a quick reminder that you are in Paris and that in itself comes with a price), then this small bakery is the one for you.
ADDRESS: 51 Rue Montorgueil (2nd arr.)
MÉTRO: Étienne Marcel (line 4) or Sentier (line 3)
Are you a little bit crazy about macarons and you’re sure « you’ve had them all »? Or maybe you find the whole ~pump~ about those cookies obnoxious? That’s when La Lautrec comes in. Here you can try flavors like Violets, Bora Bora, or Cotton Candy (literally called « dad’s beard » in French, which we all, as a collective, decided not to comment on). Their best flavors, however, are ephemeral, one for every month and each better than the former: sheep cheese with cherries for April, strawberry mojito for summer months, mulled wine for November… Thanks to Lautrec, every month is a new adventure.
Pierre Hermé started the new wave of creative macarons, when it became obvious that the macarons from Ladurée were becoming…ubiquitous. Now there are two camps: The traditionalists who remain loyal to Ladurée, and the bobos who lean more Pierre Hermé. You should taste them both regardless; and when at Pierre Hermé, do not miss his signature macaron flavor, the ‘Ispahan’: a secret mix of rose, raspberry and lychee flavors.
ADDRESS: 4 Rue Cambon (1st arr.) / 18 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie (4th arr.) / 126 boulevard Saint-Germain (6th arr.) / 43 rue Saint-Placide (6th arr.) / Place de la Résistance (7th arr.) / 1 cour de Rome (8th arr.) / 86 avenue des Champs-Elysées (8th arr.) / 133 avenue des Champs Elysées (8th arr.) / 40 boulevard Haussmann (9th arr.) / Place Louis-Armand — Hall 1 Galeries des Fresques (12th arr.)
The first Carette resto and tea room has apparently opened way back in the 1920s and became an instant hit through the chic inhabitants of Trocadéro quarter. Now, with three different locations around the city, it’s highly likely you’ll see at least one lucky person walking with that beautiful magenta box full of macarons down the road. Carette has lately earned a certain status on social media and is currently being flooded with tourists (especially in their Place de Vosges location), but this shouldn’t discourage you, certainly not from their great macarons. I always go for the black currant or hazelnut, but even the pain vanilla is totally worth trying out. Don’t miss out on their hot chocolate, and if you’re feeling like grabbing a bite, they definitely know their ways around the eggs as well.
ADDRESS: 25 Place des Vosges (3rd arr.) / 4 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre (16th arr.) / 7 Place du Tertre (18th arr.)
The owner and former student of Guy Savoy, Hugues Pouget, represents a new school of the macarons. He prides himself in using only seasonal, regional ingredients and natural aromas and colorants (which in case of macarons… well, is unfortunately not always obvious). Apart from the macarons (the pomelo and black cherry are your go-to), you should get some of their homemade marshmallows — your hot chocolate will never be the same.
ADDRESS: 40 Boulevard Raspail (7th arr.)
MÉTRO: Sèvres — Babylone (lines 10,12) or Saint Sulpice (line 4)
Belgian super-star Pierre Marcolini is known for his chocolats, but his macarons do not disappoint either. With his shops all around the world, he definitely has a way of getting all the ingredients right at the source. While the flavor palette is pretty traditional (do not confuse with basic), definitely go for the signature home-made chocolate (with a hint of vanilla), or raspberry with milk chocolate.
ADDRESS: 89 Rue de Seine (6th arr.) / Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées (8th arr.) 35 Boulevard Haussmann (9th arr.) / 64 Rue du Commerce (15th arr.)
Dalloyau has a very posh history. Founded in 1682 by Charles Dalloyau, who not only had the highest gastronomy position in the French court (the company has occupied its Faubourg location since the early 1800s), but also invented the concept of takeout (Oui/LOL). The House of Dalloyau also claims to have invented the Opera cake.
Today Dalloyau operates as a rather distinguished establishment, composed of a restaurant, gourmet gift service, reception hall and bakery, while occupying several locations in Paris. There’s a rumor that, for the oral portion of your French Citizenship exam, if you can pronounce « Dalloyau » correctly five times fast with a Parisian-level of confidence, you are basically IN. Oh, and DO get their macarons while you are there.
ADDRESS: 9 Rue de la Monnaie (1st arr.) / 101 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (8th arr.) / 35 boulevard Haussmann (9th arr.) / Quai Hall Seine — Gare d’Austerlitz (13th arr.)
First, a bit of history: Baby-faced Cédric Grolet (he of Parisian pastries super-star fame), came up on the mean streets of the Fauchon kitchens, where he was tasked with slaving away at the macaron dough mixers, a notoriously boring task. Since then, the macarons here do seem to have been blessed by the golden hands of Monsieur Grolet, so don’t skip them.
ADDRESS: 11 Place de la Madeleine (8th arr.) / 35 Boulevard Hausmann (9th arr.) / 64 Boulevard Hausmann (9th arr.) / 18 Rue de Dunkerque (10th arr.) / 2 Place de la Porte Maillot (17th arr.)
Ladurée is the grand-daddy of the macaron universe. It’s hard NOT to find these macarons somewhere. They’re even at the airport. They are still good after all these years, but let’s face it: they are mass-produced. The added bonus advantage of going for Ladurée is getting the eye-candy from those gilded traditional interiors.
ADDRESS: 14 Rue de Castiglione (1st arr.) / 99 Rue de Rivoli Emplacement M11 (1st arr.) / 14 Rue de Bretagne (3rd arr.) / 21 Rue Bonaparte (6th arr.) / 47 Rue Cler (7th arr.) / 41–43 Rue de Varenne (7th arr.) / 75 Ave des Champs-Élysées (8th arr.) / 16 Rue Royale (8th arr.) /13 Rue Lincoln (8th arr.) / 62 Bd Haussmann (9th arr.) / Gare de Lyon (12th arr.) / 15 Rue Linois (15th arr.)
Not a lot of people treats chocolate as seriously as JP Hevin. Every 3 months he picks one of his favourite and makes 3 new creations out if it, one of them being a sweet sweet macaron. I won’t (and not planning to) be objective if I say that these are the most beautiful ones you can find in the whole city (or in Japan or Taiwan for that matter). With double coloured shells and names that can stand as sentences on it’s own, their taste is just like a small firework show but with taste buds. Check out all the cool mixes or go for the signature Grand Cru dark chocolate — worth every penny you definitely *will* spend on these little delicious bastards.
ADDRESS: 108 Rue Saint-Honoré (1st arr.) / 231 Rue Saint-Honoré (1st arr.) / 41 Rue de Bretagne (3rd arr.) / 3 Rue Vavin / 23bis Avenue de la Motte Picquet (7th arr.) / 93 Rue du Bac (7th ar..) / 35 Boulevard Haussmann (9th arr.) / 101 Rue de Courcelles (17th arr.)
Calling yourself a chocolate lover, are we? Well, we’ve got something for you, Sweetie. La Maison du Chocolat (literally: The House of Chocolate) lives up to his name and offers this sent-by-god-to-help-with-pms-and-breakups deliciousness in various shapes and sizes. Their macarons are no different, with flavours like: plain chocolate, raspberry chocolate, vanilla chocolate, coffee chocolate, caramel chocolate… You get it.
ADDRESS: 99 rue De Rivoli (1st arr.) / 14 Rue De Bretagne (3rd arr.) / 19 Rue De Sèvres (6th arr.) / 225 Rue Du Faubourg St Honoré (8th arr.) / 52 Rue François 1Er (8th arr.) / 133 Avenue Des Champs Elysées (8th arr.) / 8 Boulevard De La Madeleine (9th arr.) / 35 boulevard Haussmann (9th arr.) / 120 Avenue Victor Hugo (16th arr.)
The Special Macaron Award (we just made that award up, but it’s valuable nonetheless) goes to…Papy Bio.
I pass by Papy’s (that means Grandpa en Français) little workshop on my daily commute as he and I have been neighbors for almost 5 years. You can recognize Papy as he’s chillaxing with his soap operas in between batches and looks like a sailor with his beaucoup tats — but instead of Mom and naked ladies he’s got a tower of macarons on his neck. The Original Gangsta of the baking scene, Papy can teach you to make your own macarons, or you can just buy them by the boxful — he sells whatever is leftover from his catering operation so flavors vary. Vanilla is blue for some reason but the taste is legit.
You’ll find him not only giving workshops in his ‘sui generis’ little ‘atelier’ but also basking in the glow of countless French celebrities who have signed autographs for him, thanking him for his famous pièces montées — macaron towers made for special occasions. For being a modest little spot off of Place Sainte-Marthe (Paris’ most insoumise little square) his macarons can go crust to crust with the big guys from the fancy parts of town. It’s like the communist party entered a souped-up Lada in the Formula 1, driven by the coolest Boomer in the hood, and placed in the top 5…
ADDRESS: 20 Rue Jean et Marie Moinon (10th arr.)
MÉTRO: Belleville (lines 2, 11) or Colonel Fabien (line 2)