10 Parisian Pastries You Need to Try This Summer

The art of French pastry is so delicate that every detail matters.

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Ever wondered how to ruin a perfectly good French croissant? Meet the trendiest new pastry in Paris: the cookie croissant, also known as the crookie. Here is how it’s made: you take two perfectly good things (in this case, a cookie and a croissant) and smash them together into something unnecessary.

But that’s ok.  We survived the sushi pizza, coffee served in a donut instead of a cup and burgers on a stick as a Bloody Mary garnish. So yes, we’ll get through this one, too.

If you're wondering how the crookie came to be, we see it as born out of Parisian bakers’ attempts to entertain those traveling to see the upcoming Paris Olympics with a new twist on a classic croissant. In our opinion, however, the traditional French croissant doesn’t need any meddling. It’s classic for a reason. 

But what’s so special about French pastries, anyway? Can’t anyone just follow a recipe for a croissant? Not so much, according to French chefs, who claim it is impossible to have a true French pastry outside of France. And it isn’t just semantics. You will never confuse an authentic French-made croissant, with its crispy golden exterior, tender layers of buttery folds and large pockets of air, with a croissant found in the frozen section of your local grocery store.

The art of French pastry is so delicate that every detail matters—from the milling quality of flour, freshness of the milk and  heaviness of butter to the air temperature at which you mix your ingredients, humidity of your surroundings and even atmospheric pressure in this particular part of the world that allows the dough to rise just the proper amount. It’s akin to how New York City tap water lends itself to creating the best bagels. 

If the crookie has made you question the je ne sais quoi quality of the French pastry, don’t fret. To restore your faith in Parisian culinary genius, we’ve prepared a list of 10 French pastries you need to try this summer.

Lemon Tart at Boris Lumé

  • 48 Rue Caulaincourt, 75018 Paris, France

Boris Lumé, a shining star in Paris’ Montmartre district, reinvents the lemon tart as you know it with a unique take on the pastry. Trained by French patisserie legends Cyril Lignac and Joël Robuchon, owner Boris Lumé’s lemon tarts feature an oval shape as opposed to the classic round shape, which creates an opportunity to give a crunchy spin to a sturdy, yet light and airy base. Two different layers of lemon filling create a perfectly balanced, creamy texture, with a fresh surprise: the financier at the bottom is soaked with mint syrup. This unusual combination feels so natural that you might wonder if you ever had a proper lemon tart at all. The other confections are worth a try, as well—the French pastries have a unique Japanese influence, thanks in part to Lumé’s wife, fellow baker Mihona, whom he met while the two were working as pastry chefs in Tokyo.

Lemon tart. Nina Sokolova

Melting Heart Madeleines at The Ritz Paris Le Comptoir

  • 38 Rue Cambon, 75001 Paris, France

The bakery at the Ritz is everything you’d expect it to be: elegant, welcoming and comforting, with a pleasant fruity aftertaste. Led by François Perret, Ritz Paris Le Comptoir is perhaps best known for their madeleines.

Classically molded in the shape of a traditional madeleine, the giant version comes in chocolate and passion fruit flavors, with vanilla mousse on top, and is covered in a layer of an almost velvet-y glaze. The inner fruit filling gently spills out as you bite into it, which is what gives these particular madeleines a “melting heart,” as coined by chef Perret. 

Located in the hotel’s former cocktail bar, the large pastry stand in the bakery is actually a repurposed bar counter, where guests can relax with their strawberry tarts, signature cream cookies and, of course, the giant lemon madeleines at one of the four low cocktail tables.

The Ritz Paris Le Comptoir. Nina Sokolova

Strawberry Pavlova at La Meringaie

  • 41 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris

La Meringaie was founded by husband-and-wife team Marie and Benoît Bardon. Both are trained pastry chefs who love pavlova so much, they served it at their wedding in place of a cake. 

Pavlova, a meringue-based dessert, is one of the most demanding creations out there when it comes to proper execution. It takes a skilled chef to whip the cream and bake it just the right amount; to make it soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, while also ensuring this airy cloud can hold the weight of the fruit topping. And that's just what the Bardons do at their bakery.

Today, La Meringaie operates five locations in Paris, with flavors changing monthly. In spring, for example, rhubarb and strawberries are the seasonal choice.

Pavlova at La Meringaie. Nina Sokolova

Raspberry Tart at La Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac

  • 2 Rue de Chaillot, 75116 Paris, France

Celebrity chef Cyril Lignac is a household name in France, and so is his Paris boutique, La Patisserie. Located in a busy historical food market quarter, the marble pastry counter and brass tables are reminiscent of old world elegance, and offer a great spot to take a break from your weekend food shopping and relax with a cup of coffee and a raspberry tart. Or an apricot tart. Or a chocolate praline. Flan, caramel éclair or a marble cake—the options are endless. 

Lignac knows what people want when it comes to pastries, and he delivers perfectly with his business partner Benoit Couvrand. Together, two work exclusively with local producers passionate about their products, which results in consistently first-rate creations.

Cyril Lignac Raspberry Tart. Nina Sokolova

Lavender Donut at Momzi Donuts

  • 1 Rue Cherubini, 75002 Paris, France

Calling something a “donut” in Paris is a dangerous game, because you’re risking getting all of the Homer Simpson jokes and none of the business. Having a barebones storefront and an all-black, tall-mirrors interior design in a hidden alley tucked away from the crowds is an even riskier game, but American-born chef Raamin Samiyi is up for the challenge. Samiyi’s elevated donuts  feature a combination of unique flavors and ingredients; at Momzi, you can find seasonal flavors like fig, hazelnut, pecan, yuzu, bourbon coffee and a Mother of Provence donut with olive oil glaze from Château d'Estoublon, decorated with lavender flowers.

Momzi Donut Nina Sokolova

Sugar Pearl Brioche at Aux Merveilleux de Fred

  • 29 Rue de l'Annonciation, 75016 Paris, France

Frédéric Vaucamps is a pastry chef who believes that a good brioche is a huge brioche. He debuted his first bakery, Aux Merveilleux, 40 years ago, and was so successful that he has since opened more than 30 additional stores just in France.

Each location features an enormous crystal chandelier and an open kitchen so that patrons can see the brioche being made before their very eyes. Airy and fluffy, the brioche is also available with raisins or chocolate chips. Get someone to carry your things for you, as this showstopper requires both hands. It’s also worth mentioning that a whole loaf of brioche will cost you only $4.

Brioche at Aux Merveilleux de Fred. Nina Sokolova

Galette des Rois (Almond King Cake) at Pâtisserie Michalak

  • 37 Rue Étienne Marcel, 75001 Paris, France

Galette des rois is a festive almond pastry that dates back to the 14th century. It’s served by the slice, with a little surprise: a miniature figure of a king hidden inside. Those who get a slice with a king can expect a whole year of great luck. 

At Christophe Michalak Patisserie, luck is on your side every day, since you can get a modernized version of galette des rois in the form of an almond brioche, soaked in vanilla syrup, rum and amaretto, topped with almond paste and generously covered with roasted almonds.

Galette des Rois. Nina Sokolova

Baba au Rhum (Rum Babka) at Stohrer

  • 23 Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris, France

Stohrer is a legend in the pastry world. Not only because it was established nearly 300 years ago by King Louis XV’s pastry chef, Nicolas Stohrer, but also because Stohrer created baba au rhum as we know it.

Baba, a light, soft pastry, had been invented long before Stohrer, but it was Stohrer who set himself on a mission to create a dessert that the king and his entourage could enjoy during their long trips—something that could stay sweet and fresh for weeks. After many iterations of wine babkas, Porto babkas and whiskey babkas, Stohrer finally had his eureka moment, which resulted in a babka soaked with honey syrup and rum, now known as the Baba au Rhum.

Baba au Rhum. Nina Sokolova
  • 101 Av. Victor Hugo, 75116 Paris, France

Puffy is a modern artisanal cookie baking studio in Paris that simultaneously positions itself in the street food category by making extra-chunky cookies, but also stays true to the best Parisian traditions, like strategically sourcing ingredients, including getting their flour exclusively from the century-old mill Moulins Chaudé de Versailles and their macadamia nuts straight from Kenya. Their sugar is made with a blend of vergeoise and cassonade sugars to add a warm, light sweetness to the cookies.  

Try the pecan caramel cookie, white chocolate macadamia or the new pistachio flavor. As you’re enjoying your cookie and a cup of coffee you can watch them grind pistachios into pistachio flour, roast hazelnuts and take fresh cookies out of the oven.   

Pistachio cookie at Puffy. Nina Sokolova

Matcha Éclair at Aki Boulangerie

  • 16 Rue Sainte-Anne, 75001 Paris, France

While it might not initially scream "Parisian," a matcha éclair is a beautiful example of the Japanese influence on the French culinary scene. Aki Boulangerie is located in a small Asian quarter, just steps away from Louvre, with a selection of French-Japanese pastries. You'll find the most unpredictable items on the menus hanging on the walls, like truffle-flavored ramen, raclette wontons and matcha éclairs. Aki operates three spots on the same corner; a café, a shop and a restaurant, all serving specialties from the Osaka region in Japan. Their matcha section includes tiramisu, crème brûlée and melon pain.     

Matcha Eclair at Aki. Nina Sokolova

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