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Looking for the best tarte in Paris? For a delectable inside scoop, I asked a baker’s dozen friends to name their favorite boulangerie or pâtisserie.
Nearly everyone in Paris is both food critic and advocate. So, while visiting the City of (De)lights, take advantage of the gastronomical convictions of the knowledgeable locals. Hint: Look for lines snaking out of doorways—that’s always a good sign. Ask merchants for personal recommendations. And if you’re invited to a dinner party, brace yourself for at least one heated debate about food, and when it erupts, for the love of Julia Child, don’t take cover—take notes!
Cheapos, let’s take it to the streets (or the table)!
Sandrine’s pick: Gérard Mulot at 76 rue de Seine (Metro Odéon)
“I’m gluttonous!” confesses harpist Sandrine, “so on special occasions, I indulge in their decadent tarte à la orange. It always pleases!” (By the way, Sandrine taught Kirsten Dunst how to play the harp for her title role in film, Marie Antoinette. What if she’d said, “Let them eat tartes?”)
Stéphanie’s pick: Pâtisserie Arnaud Larher at 53 rue Caulaincourt (Metro Lamarck-Caulaincourt)
“He makes extremely good pies and tartes, but he’s more famous for his chocolate and award-winning macarons,” according to media analyst Stéphanie.
Yohan’s pick: Arnaud Delmontel at 57 rue Damrémont (Metro Lamarck-Caulaincourt)
“In France, many bakeries don’t make the pastries themselves, so it is difficult to find really great ones, but this one makes it all on the premises,” says television editor Yohan.
Both Yohan and Stéphanie also mentioned: Les Petits Mitrons at 26 rue Lepic (Metro Blanche)
“Paris is changing. Most of the good bakeries and patisseries are near La Madeleine or across the Seine, so we’re very lucky to have three so close to our apartment,” Yohan says. Stephanie adds, “I highly recommend Chef Samie Didda’s mouth-watering chocolate tarte.”
Jeff’s pick: Encore! Les Petits Mitrons
Musician and composer Jeff Hallam often takes his band here just before or after rehearsals. “The crust is confection perfection. They caramelize the bottom of the light and flaky crust with butter and sugar. It’s to die for!”
Karine’s pick: Et encore une fois! Les Petits Mitrons
Engineer Karine admits, “But when I was younger I loved tartes aux fruits from Tarte Julie.” (Tarte Julie is a national franchise that’s been around since 1974.)
Swati’s pick: Les Petits Mitrons (must be habit forming!)
It wasn’t the pies in the window that caught clothing designer Swati’s eye during one of her early morning walks. It was the little bags of soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies. “Along with the music of Prince, they soon became my dinner party staple.”
Cat’s pick: Les Petits Mitrons (maybe we’re on to something?)
Gypsy band violinist Cat (a confirmed French Cheapo at heart, down to her Monoprix t-shirts) buys by the slice for just a few euros. “The slices are big. The crust is thin. It’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Miam! Miam! And the pink boxes they use are super cute!”
Laurent’s pick: Pâtisserie Legendre at 2 Butte aux Cailles (Metro Place d’Italie)
“To tell the truth, my favorite bakery is always the one closest to my apartment! What can I say, I like to buy local. It makes me feel connected,” says film editor Laurent.
Annelise’s pick: Tarte Julie outlets located all over France.
“When I don’t make my own tartes myself, I buy from Tarte Julie, or the frozen food store Picard. Yes, the frozen tarte is surprisingly nice, but it’s not as good as mine!” boasts book editor Annelise, referring to two popular chains.
Nausicaa’s pick: Pâtisserie Legendre
“Maybe it’s not the cheapest, but the pies are always fresh. Texture is perfect. So I’ll buy one in a pinch. The chocolates are also very, very good, ” she says.
Anne’s pick: Pâtisserie Tholoniat at 47 rue du Chateau d’Eau (Metro Chateau d’Eau).
“This confiserie has existed for seventy years. It was also my father’s favorite shop, when he was a boy,” says book designer Anne, with a nostalgic sigh.
Pierre’s picks: Le Grenier à Pain at 36 rue des Abbesses (Metro Abbesses)
“I know you asked about pies, but can I tell you where the best Christmas log cakes come from? No? Well, they have wonderful pies, too,” according to photographer Pierre.
And my own personal pick? Coquelicot (the poppy) at 24 rue des Abbesses (Metro: Abbesses). It’s dangerously located just below my apartment windows, so I’m able to smell their signature Piccola baguettes bake as I type. I can tell every time they open the oven door!
Do you have a favorite boulangerie or pâtisserie in Paris? Come on, Cheapos! Let’s rumble!