Which side of town has the most addictive croissants?
Bienvenue à Paris — home of the no-holds-barred pastry game. Players know that Paris is to pastry what Colombia is to cocaine. Here, Boulangers are like a cross between rockstars and kingpins, up all night for the love of the game and the non-stop gushes of cash that come rolling in every morning from being a top Parisian baker. There is a never ending War on Drugs, but in Paris,pâtisserie is our drug.
The question of who bakes the best croissant in Paris is a one that has caused a lot of internet chatter.
So I slammed my fist on the table and said, Enough! Ça Suffit! It’s time to cut through the noise like a hot knife through butter. (Our metaphors get better, thank you for your patience…) And I started hammering out the DEFINITIVE guide to where to get your morning croissant — from award-winning spots with beaucoup gilt laurel leaves shining through to their windows, to the hidden gems that our Parisian neighbors hold close to the vest.
Incoming flex — not only am I a true croissant junkie, (I hit the brakes and park my bike anytime I see an intriguing bakery…) I’ve been on TV for this! Carb-starved travelers pelt us with beaucoup 5‑star reviews after our juicy romps and rampages among the deliciousness of Paris! There’s a reason people call on us for the insider-knowledge of French food-scene. My team and I are Deep In The Game as some of the most popular French Food Curators around.
But nonetheless, we are pumped to spill our secrets all over the internets like the buttery exhibitionists we are. It will take an army of shrinks or an army of bakers to snuff out our desires, so let’s go with ~bakers~ as a croissant is still cheaper than a one-hour therapy session, despite the efforts of nationalized healthcare and Cedric Grolet.
This 2‑part masterlist was curated by me and the rest of the Curiosity Collective team and tested on about 3,000 ravenous travelers plus random French boy-/girl-friends and the like.
Now the thesis: picture the axis of the croissant spectrum: Bready vs. layerey (computer insists this is not a word…I guess it is now.) is one line, then, moist vs. flaky as the other — does it have elegant arches (on the moist side) or flaky confetti explosion?
This is getting slightly more scientific than I had planned…
When we bakery curators at The Curiosity Collective do a Best Croissants of Paris Walk, we poll everyone at the end to see which boulanger is the People’s Choice. Putin may have all the propane but we still have some bakery democracy.
Sometimes there are surprises, like how people from Latin America consistently prefer the (to me) sweet and rather bread‑y croissant from Terroirs de l’Avenir. (Update December 2022–they apparently reformulated and are now flaky and not so bready…Our cocaine metaphors must have scared them off.)
Note: Extra weight is given here as ‘historic’ things tend to become outright tourist traps.
Achieving excellence in croissants takes real effort and careful attention to ingredients.
And lots and lots of hard work by hand.
So without further delay (you must be hungry by now) these are the Best Croissants of Paris’s Right Bank.
They are worth the calories.
Sain Boulangerie — you heard it here (almost) first
Oui, there are sourdough croissants. We’ll never be the same again.
Les croissants au levain — the sourdough croissants from Sain Boulangerie — are on everyone’s lips as the best croissants in Paris.
Flashback: I’m thinking about trying to make my own as I’m watching Anthony Courteille as he ‘laminates’ the pages of dough with expensive organic butter from Normandie while we conduct a sourdough workshop in his bakery near the Canal St. Martin for an episode of the Australian TV show, For the Love of Bread.
But I’m a bakery ‘voyeuriste’ only — I like to eat them, not make them. I step aside and save my energy for the eating part.
But it’s hot, to have that kind of supremely useful talent. I get frissons. I tried to make croissants with Anthony and just the dough manipulation part was too much for me.
I lost my train of thought but the croissants are some of the best in Paris here. Grab a seasonal fruit ‘chausson’ while you are there, or a Coco Rocher — my personal favorite, a crispy coconut triangle, delicately browned on the edges.
As for the croissants, I know the secret to the recipe but I swore to Anthony wouldn’t tell. You’ll just have to trust me, they’re worth the trek across town…
Baby-faced Cédric came up on the mean streets of the kitchens at Fauchon where he was tasked with slaving away at the macaron dough mixers, a notoriously onerous and boring task. When he finally pulled himself out of the pastel-colored muck and grew a set of his own fruit tarts — which went on to absolutely break the internet like a highbrow edible version of Kim K’s cartoon bottom — we could see that it was just a matter of time before he struck out from the confines of the posh Le Meurice hotel and joined the Viennoiserie game. (For those of you just tuning in ‘Viennoiserie’ means ‘from Vienna’ and is French shorthand for ‘breakfast pastries’ like croissants, pain au chocolats, etc. Why? Because they invented the precursor to the croissant…)
Grolet’s croissants and pain au chocolats dropped at record-high prices to crowds held back behind an actual velvet rope upon the opening of his new boutique (if it costs more than 2€, it’s not a boulangerie anymore, it’s a boutique, honey. If you have to ask…) I was there to see if his croissants would live up to the Grolet hype. And did they. Viennoiseries are only available at his Opera boutique, the Le Meurice shop focuses on takeaway tarts and cakes. Either way, prepare to get in line. So worth it.
Yann brings his Breton roots to the French capital in the form of beaucoup butter, making his croissants rise to positively architectural heights when they hit the oven and create steam pockets that can reach for the sky. That’s why his croissant is so photogenic. But fear not, this country boy’s goods taste as enticing as they look.
While you are there, try his eclairs — which look 3D printed — or his award-winning take on the Mille Feuille — a French classic that he remakes in Brittany style, with buckwheat (‘blé noir’) instead of the usual wheat-wheat, giving it a new dimension.
Address: 23bis Rue des Rosiers (4th arr.) / 35 Bd Haussmann (9th arr.) / 137 Ave Parmentier (10th arr.) / 149 Rue St. Charles (15th arr.) / 25 Rue Legendre (17th arr.)
Boulangerie des Belles Manières — the locals’ secret
Largely absent from the noise and chatter about what everyone is supposed to be eating in Paris (in Paris, we have entire PR agencies working overtime, devoted just to food ffs…) are the totally lit breads and croissants from Boulangerie des Belles Manieres. It’s as if they are just making good bready things and not spending any efforts on Instagram or publicists. The proof is in the product — and the line of actual Parisians out the door. Besides the meltingly good croissants, try their avant-garde breads or take a sandwich to go and contemplate the stunning architecture of the Saint Eustache church nearby (is it better than the Notre Dame? It’s definitely less busted up, so there’s that…)
In a nondescript, and — dare I say it — charmless (this is the city of charming design, so having ~basic~ architecture stands out) little corner bakery, the Boulangerie Utopie boys (and some bewilderingly grumpy-ass front of the house staff) grind out some of the most bomb AF bakery things to wrap your mouth around. The croissants, oui. Black sesame roll. Oui. Whatever fruit tart or special brioche they have brought to life this week, ouiiiiiii. But let’s stay focused. The croissant — it’s good enough to line up for. Just make sure to grab a black baguette or matcha + toasted rice bread whilst acting annoyed at the line like a proper bo-bo neighbor.
Ernest & Valentin — come for the baguette, stay for the croissant
Founded by two baker-brothers with clearly Anglophile parents that named them Logan and Bradley. (I went to high school in Chicago with a chick named Cosette, so ok, we are even I guess.) But there is not shortage of French savoir-faire at Ernest & Valentin as their croissants are damn good, as is their baguette. So skip breakfast and pay the French-looking, sounding‑, and baking- brothers a visit.
ERNEST & VALENTIN
Address: 10 Rue du Commerce (15th arr.), 42 Rue Reaumur (3rd arr.), 5 Rue du Renard (4th arr.), 6 Rue La Fayette (9th arr.), 225 Rue de Charenton (12th arr.)
Their croissants are worthy, that’s why they are named here on this buttery bakery bible. But they didn’t stop at ‘butter croissant’, non non non…they got fruity back in the kitchen — whipping raspberry compote into their croissants. Ouais.…Then pistachio paste. Nutella. Where will it end? In your mouth.
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.)
If it’s good enough for Queen Elizabeth…is a motto best reserved for French pastry and not fashion, I always never say but just made up right now when I was thinking of how to let you know that The Queen has graced Paris’ oldest bakery with her silvery, yet woolen, presence, once upon a time in the 90s or something. Girlfriend has outlasted the former King of Thailand and has about two years to hold on! to dethrone our own beloved Louis XIV as Earth’s longest-reigning monarch, so we are kind of rooting for her (stay indoors, fam, now there’s effing MONKEYPOX!!!)
Normally, when something is this old (Stohrer was founded in 1725) or blogged-about, then it becomes a tourist hellhole (cough, Angelina, cough), slinging shameful, overly sugary mediocrity to the masses who read about it in Rick Steves or some food blog by a person who doesn’t live in Paris but like totally, you know, visited and that’s enough to be an authority…? (The old-school Paris food blogs are a fucking trip…)
I’m venting a lot on a legit bakery though — let’s get back to why we are here. Their croissants are some of the best in town. Despite the blog posts, despite the tour groups. They haven’t given in to the siren call of higher margins through industrialization. Yay for us. Try their Baba au Rhum, too. One of their OG bakers invented it.
Pick up a few of their croissants before heading over to see the Luxor Obelisk or the Venus de Milo for a perfect trifecta of Parisian oldness.
You are skeptical. You have been told to love the oh-so-buttery, layery-as-all-hell croissant from De Pain et Des Idees, by breathless basic-ass travel influencer Insta accounts, by a carrousel of publicists, by big magazines doing their annual Food in Paris article. And, like us, you don’t like to be told what to do. But here we are, in line with the swooning Japanese girls on vacation, hoping the ultra-flaky croissant from Du Pain et Des Idées won’t be sold out. True story, this was my first neighborhood bakery in Paris as I used to live a mere block away. I thought they were all this good…nope. I was but a child!
Also get a ‘sacristain’ — a twisted pastry with orange blossom cream that is one of the most underrated desserts in our glutinous little metropolis. I get two…
Tucked away at a dusty and ignored little roundabout in le Marais — a neighborhood that is positively throbbing almost noon to midnight everywhere else with all forms of middle-class to upper income life (I guess the poors go to the suburbs on a Saturday to walk around?) — is one of Paris most stalwart badass bakery teams. They win awards — they flex laurel leaves for top croissants and baguettes and bakery skills in general — again and again and just keep grinding away at it. Worth the side-trip. Croissants and baguette are their main draws. (Update December 2022: They placed 3rd in the city of Paris for the Best Croissant so they aren’t slowing down it seems…)
The sandwich board sign outside makes a ridiculous claim, ‘Best Croissant in Paris,” Cheeky bastards, I think…OK, I’ll bite. I go in and get a croissant. And…it’s actually among the best. Did they steal a recipe because this is more trendslut coffeeshop-slash-chic housewares concept store than ~serious~ boulangerie, which is where one would normally find this level of quality lurking.
Of course we had to investigate.…It seems they might be right. The golden croissant at O/HP/E was my favorite type of croissant — moist and slightly chewy in the center. Crusty architecture on the outside. Very buttery. I’d say 9/10 buttery. Reminiscent of Maison d’Isabelle in the St. Germain-des-Prés hood. (see the Left Bank butter bible.)
There you have it — our favorite croissants on the Right Bank of Paris. If you are hungry for more words about foods, read about the Best Desserts in Paris here. Or click on our carefully curated restaurants directory and go down a rabbit-hole (sorry, I have no eating rabbit pun) of the hundred or so spots that made the cut in a city of 44,000 restos…no joke.
Indecorous Culturevore and Polychrome Chow Virtuosa Kat Walker likes nice things.
She once went to a job interview for that was supposed to be for sales but was actually for prostitution (the high-class version, she hopes lol) at a fancy hotel in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower (article coming soon) and, another time interviewed for a position as a phone psychic.
She passed both with flying colors. However she declined the human trafficking position but stuck around longer than she should have to be able to write about it. (Are you not entertained?)
As for the telephone psychic gig, she only lasted one day, even though the pay was excellent. Wooooooo…..She sees you subscribing to our weekly PARIS RIGHT NOW dispatch . There is also a man in your future.
Now she is settled in as your Editor-in-Mischief here, leading the charge to not take Paris so damn seriously…let’s frolic a bit, non?
She writes fast and without prudence so if you enjoy this type of thing, editors aren’t free so here is le Patreon
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. Her rabble rousing has provoked the attention of various public forums, like the time she appeared in the movie The Yes Men Fix the Worldas Russian journalist Laika Gagarina or was featured in RollCall’s Heard on the Hill for her mockery of the U.S. senate. Other efforts have landed her in the Le Nouvel Observateur, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, and the Reader.
In other places and other lives, the actual live guy who played Ross on Friends came to see her show at a NYC gallery.
She has never had a weirder lunch than that one when an FBI informant offered to kill her business partner for her.
She declined (phew) and that’s why she’s here, freely- and un-jailed-ly writing about croissants and perverts and the Eiffel Tower (in that order, usually) for PARIS > DEFINED MAGAZINE.
Her perfectly impossible dinner in Paris would be at Pierre Sang on Gambey (the waiter chooses the wine) with Genesis P. Orridge, Napoleon Bonaparte (he picks up the tab and the waiter knows this in advance when picking wines), Christopher Hitchens, Anais Nin, and Ketamine in attendance. Drinks after at le17 but back in time, like 2017.
Her favorite French word is ‘bruit’ but only when a hot girl says it slowly.
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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If you are mashing out a message to warn her of her crimes against grammar and punctuation save your time because she knows, she knows.