When I first landed here almost 10 years ago, croissant was one of only two french words I knew. The other one was bonjour, so I wasn’t exactly up for nomination to the Académie Française.
Every time I see a bakery that I haven’t tried yet, I park my bike and go in to buy a croissant and a baguette tradition (for science).
Croissants in Paris are a Big Deal
Glowing golden brown, crispy but not too crispy, le croissant is the ceaselessly diabolical threat to my periodic attempts at a keto diet and one of the few foods that can be eaten on the street in a moment of morning reverie (or shameless desperation, c’est la vie).
So yeah, pastries in Paris. It’s a bit of an obsession of mine, or just what happens on a normal Saturdayflânerie.
I’m so deep in the croissant game that I was once tapped by Aussie baker, Andrew Connole, to guide him and his crew to the best croissants in Paris for his new TV show, For the Love of Bread, which follows the best in baking to the far corners of the world. Together with camera crew in tow, we zigzagged through Paris and I showed them where we hide the good stuff.
Croissants are why we are here, non?
Not gonna lie — It’s kind of why I’m here…
After writing about croissants, talking on tv about croissants and organizing the Best Croissants of Paris walks (one of Paris’ most-beloved food tours — an immodest amount of flexing going here), I decided to finally put pen to paper, or keyboard to internet as it were, and give you the ultimate list (for now) of the best croissants of Paris.
These Are the Croissants You Came Here For
While this two-part masterlist contains a veritable Christmas Island of old idols like Poilâne and Laurent Duchene, it also contains some audacious newcomers like Bo + Mie‑a ‘modern’ boulangerie.
What type of croissant you like depends on a few things: do you like it moist and slightly chewy on the inside + crispy on the outside (like I do), or do you prefer flaky, airy, and light?
For me, I’m in heaven when the shrapnel breaks off in big arches; so huge that I can pretend are an entirely separate course — like a dessert after the croissant itself. Like the Doors’ Jim Morrisson, I break on through to the other side.
You Can Stop Searching
These are THE croissants of the Left Bank of Paris (we started with the Best Croissants of the Right Bank here).
Homegirl has awards and isn’t afraid to show it. The nondescript shop can’t be missed because of the giant « 2018 Meillure Croissant au Beurre » sign. Her apple tart also regularly drop mics at competitions for such things. This little square next to the Maubert-Mutalite metro stop is home to local food heavyweights engaging in some kind of French flex-off. The neighboring shop advertises that it won the Best Headcheese Award, so uh, save some room I suppose?
LA MAISON D’ISABELLE
Address: 47 Ter Boulevard Saint Germain (5th arr.)
Poilâne is old-school. It’s now run by the granddaughter of the founder who also appeared on screen with me in For the Love of Bread. For being an institution, they haven’t given up (I also mention this about Stohrer in our Best Croissants of the Right Bank of Paris article). Sometimes in Paris, when things become famous, they industrialize and lose their touch (cough, cough, Angelina). This is not so with Poilâne. I found their apple tart underwhelming (it’s one of the things they are famous for but Sain or Cyril Lignac have better ones…), but was so surprised to find the croissant so good, it warranted a mention here.
Address: 38 Rue Debelleyme (3rd arr.) / 8 Rue du Cherche-Midi (6th arr.) / 49 Bd de Grenelle (15th arr.) / 87 Rue Brancion (15th arr.) / 39 Rue de Lévis (17th arr.) / 83 Rue de Crimée (19th arr.)
One of the bakers on this list awarded the prestigious MOF (Meilleurs Ouvriers de France or the Best Craftspeople of France for Patisserie), you can taste the magic of a fresh, hot croissant for 1 euro and change. As becoming an institution, well-known among the guidebook set, can give a place license to give up a little bit and rest on its laurels, I cast a careful eye on the MOF distinction. But in the case of Monsieur Duchêne — rest assured. I’m happy to report that he’s still hard at work, making sure everything that comes from his bakery is really worth it.
Address: 2 Rue Wurtz (13th arr.) / 238 Rue de la Convention (15th arr.)
Pastry is serious business here. Monsieur Lignac’s hand elevates the basic (and usually overly sweet) Baba au Rhum to new heights, but his croissant is worth the (oftentimes) line. While you are there, pick up an Equinoxe ; a visual work of art in the form of a vanilla tart. I’m not a huge vanilla fan, but I love this one.
Address: 133 Rue de Sèvres (6th arr.) / 24 Rue Paul Bert (11th arr.) / 55 Boulevard Pasteur (15th arr.) / 2 Rue de Chaillot (16th arr.) / 9 Rue Bayen (17th arr.)
One of the few lady patissieres breaking through the butter ceiling, the elegance of the boutiques and the subtilty of the tarts will leave an impression, so I was surprised to find that the croissant ranks among the giants. Come for a croissant but leave with a tart like the Pamplemouse Rose (grapefruit rose) which almost looks too good to eat.
Bo & Mie calls itself a ‘modern boulangerie’ and they aren’t joking. Besides the amazingly good croissants, you can get nutella croissants, pistachio croissants, raspberry croissants, or go off the rails with a Cookie Shot which is a chocolate chip cookie (cookies are a big thing in Paris right now) that was seemingly poured into a glass and baked. Centre Pompidou, here we come. With multiple locations across the city, this is the kind of sprawl we can get behind.
BO & MIE
Address: 91 Rue de Rivoli (1st arr.) / 18 Rue de Turbigo (2nd arr.) / 359 Rue Saint Martin (3rd arr.) / 5 Bd Saint-Michel (5th arr.)
I now try, Frenchly, to stretch the enjoyment out after a childhood of conditioning to eat in 20 minutes (thanks Overcrowded Catholic Girls High School). Also, I’m assuming that the ‘Oral Exam’ portion of my upcoming citizenship application means that stern proctors will grade how I eat a croissant. Sounds about right, non?
The food in France is mind-blowing, and this is evermore true for les croissants on the Left Bank. Here in Paris, there is a bakery every 2 blocks so your game has to be TIGHT if you want to sell anything baked to the French.
And the mark of a good bakery is a line outside.
Yes, even if there is an another one 2 blocks away, Parisians will line up for *the* boulangerie.
We’ll see you there…
You can book our « Best croissants of Paris » tour here and read about which croissants made the cut on the other side of town here.
Indecorous Culturevore and Polychrome Chow Virtuosa Kat Walker likes nice things.
When she’s not writing about croissants, love, culture, and lovable, sexy croissants, she is a gonzo performance artist whipping up a (usually) political ruckus.
In a bid for your attention and approval she writes things here and manages this unruly tribe of Parisians endeavoring to bring you what Parising is really about.
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