A Pastry Tale

October 5, 2012

I have a tale for you, a tale of pastries. Pastries in Paris.

It’s a happy tale.

On our brief but beautiful 4 day visit to Paris on our recent honeymoon, Ben and I gallivanted across the French capital in search of pastry perfection. It was a croissant crusade, fuelled by a long-time love of the buttery crescent, and it was entirely wonderful.

Let me show you what we found. And please do share any delicious croissant corners you may have also found in Paris. And while we’re at it, let’s think on a larger scale and share with me your croissant finds from every corner of the world. The best croissant I’ve tasted outside of France was in San Francisco, at Tartine. That was a happy day.

Here we go, our pretty little Parisian pastry tale…

First up we have Au Levain Du Marais, where we sampled a plethora or pastry treats one morning for breakfast. Ben and I woke early and went for a run – let it be know that I take working up an appetite very seriously – before venturing out. David Lebovitz praised this Bastille boulangerie (despite ownership changes last year), and as I am a huge fan of Mr Lebovitz, I heeded his advice and paid a visit to this quaint, adorable store.

We left with a croissant au buerre (this is the variety to select, people), an escargot and a chocolat pastry. Ben and I took out loot and sat in Place des Vosges, which is a lovely, tranquil spot, especially first thing in the morning.
We sampled our buttery breakfast, oohing and aching at awfully frequent intervals. As we ate, a flock of firemen in athletic gear ran sprints back and forth right in front of us – early morning training session. A rather humorous juxtaposition, I felt.
The croissant au buerre

The escargot



And the chocolat pastry


I was amazed (yet not surprised) at the quality we were experiencing. These delights were very buttery, very flaky and very much pastry perfection. This was not my most favourite escargot, however I found the croissant to be earnestly perfect and the chocolate pastry terribly scrumptious. I don’t think I could have asked for a more intensely delicious introduction to this, my croissant crusade…


Part two of this pastry tale took us to Montmarte, where we visited Gontran Cherrier. Clotilde from Chocolate and Zucchini is a firm fan of Gontran’s croissants and bread, and as I adore her I felt I would also fall for this dashing baker. I absolutely did.

When in Paris, I implore you to grab a loaf of Gontran Cherrier’s spectacular bread. From the fantastic, jet-black sesame loaf to rye and miso, it took all my strength not to buy the whole lot.

Peta, Ben and I had breakfast at his boulangerie one Sunny morning. Propped up on bar stools we peered out the window, watching locals on their morning rounds.

This croissant was less rich, but no less fabulous. As Clotilde highlights, Gontran uses a different pastry with his croissants, and as a result it is incredibly flaky. Flaky is a good thing. I truly enjoyed my dainty bite. It felt more modest, more approachable than Au Levain du Marais’ croissant.

Ben also sampled a tarte au citron, which he wholly enjoyed.
In addition to our pastry bite, we shared some superbly delicious baguette with über scrumptious jam. And butter. Oh France…you do breakfast well.


So where does that leave my pastry tale? I feel these two croissants would be suited to different occasions – or rather, different cravings. One is best consumed on a park bench watching athletic men stride in front of you, while the other is less indulgent, more of a functional week-day croissant, if you will. Both are very welcome in my life.

And that’s where my pastry tale ends, my friends. I dearly believe in quality, not quantity, and so yes, these were the only two croissants I sampled while in Paris. I appreciate that more research is required before I become a Parisian pastry expert, and I firmly support my election for said job.

For now, this is my Parisian pastry tale. And I quite like it.


Heidi xo

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  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) October 5, 2012 at 8:31 am

    so much deliciousness!

  • Hannah October 5, 2012 at 8:41 am

    As gorgeous as these pastries are, the most beautiful thing in this post is you in that first photo. Stunning lady!

  • Leah October 5, 2012 at 10:13 am

    I have to agree with Hannah. That first photo of you made me smile. It's lovely. Xoxo

  • leaf (the indolent cook) October 5, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Eat ALL the croissants!! ;D What I wouldn't do for some breakfast pastries right now, after reading your post…

  • Heidi October 5, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Lisa – mmmhmm

    Hannah – you're too kind 🙂 clearly I was incredibly excited!

    Leah – awe thank you, lovely 🙂

    Leaf – glad you liked it!

    Heidi xo

  • Lisa @ Blithe Moments October 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    You were so restrained! We ate at least twice as many pastries in our 4 days. For my money, St Germain des Preis has the highest number of great boulangeries in close proximity, however you can be sure to find one anywhere you go in Paris. A tour guide told us that by law bakers cannot strike and they must apply to their local council to go on holiday so that the council can ensure the right number of bakeries remain open in any one area at any time.

    Gosh I love Paris!

  • Blithely Unaware October 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    oh gosh, now I want a croissant!!!
    Where oh where are the best ones in melbourne?
    Tellll meeeeee


  • Hannah October 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Oooh I've got a croissant craving now!! They look like buttery, flaky perfection! Nice job balancing it out with a morning run 🙂 x

  • Julia @ Boredom Abounds October 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Oh God, the pastry in Paris is amaaaazing. So hard not to eat just carbs the whole time we were there!

  • Not Quite Nigella October 5, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Ahhh there's nothing like pastry in Paris is there? I actually wrote a chapter in my book about it because I loved it so much 😀

  • Heidi October 5, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Lisa – that is truly fabulous and does not surprise me at all!!!

    Blithely Unaware – I don't know!!!! I have a severe lack of personal experience. However, I have heard good things about Noisette & Parisian Pattisserie Boulangerie in Essendon.

    Hannah – thanks 😉

    Julia – delicious!

    Lorraine – cannot WAIT to read that chapter 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • clotilde October 7, 2012 at 1:08 am

    So pleased to see what a great time you had! And I'm glad you enjoyed Gontran Cherrier's bakery. 🙂

  • Heidi October 7, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Clotilde, I am so very excited you saw this and so very touched that you commented. Thank you for your recommendations, yes we adored it all. Love xo

  • cquek October 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Yum! Looks absolutely scrumptious. And, as always your photos make the food look so tempting.

  • Iron Chef Shellie October 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    oh my lordy!! I have croissant envy!

  • fancyfrill October 8, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you Heidi for another completely inspiring post. I am off to Paris in December and will be on the limited budget of a 20 year old uni grad. Thank you for sharing your experiences (and recommendations!) – you sure have a talent at writing, the way you describe inexpensive meals and free adventures makes them sound absolutely priceless.

  • Heidi October 9, 2012 at 11:02 am

    cquek – thank you!

    Michele – hehe 🙂

    fanyfrill – thank you so much, you're so sweet! You'll have a blast! We did it very very well on a budget in 2009 – totally doable! Pastries & baguettes are so cheap! & crepes….oh the crepes.

  • The InTolerant Chef October 9, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I can but dream Heidi…..
    Do they cater well for food InTolerances in Europe? I guess hundreds of years of fantastic food traditions would be hard to change 🙁

  • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    OMG this is definitely pastry PORN hahaha 🙂 so glad you did this review though because like I mentioned to you last time ~ i'm going in january so I'm gonna make note of all the places you went to and make sure I get my hands on one of those buttery escargots!

  • Heidi October 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Hi lovely,
    Actually in Italy they are apparently quite good with gluten. They'll provide GOOD food for you, it's a known and respected request. Gluten Free Girl has mentioned this. France I think might be a struggle to eat AS well as Italy. It's not something I would always search out, unfortunately – wish I did now though! xo

  • Heidi October 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    very exciting!!! xo

  • Nic@diningwithastud October 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    A plethora or pastry 🙂 always a good thing!

  • Tasmania, Day One. - Apples Under My Bed - A food diary. October 10, 2013 at 6:02 am

    […] spread it was. I’m a true croissant snob, after being spoilt with such brilliant bites in Paris and the USA. I just cannot find croissants at home I adore equally (though perhaps some more […]

  • Andrea April 23, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Oh, and you like David Lebovitz too! I love him and refer to his blog often when travelling. I did the exact same thing as you here, except I didn’t go to Gontran Cherrier (although thankfully that’s now in Melbourne).