Coming to Paris and being on a diet isn’t the best idea. Everywhere you go, you’ll be surrounded by tasty looking food. The smell of freshly grilled chicken spreads in the streets as well as the special types of cheese offered in specialized French boutiques. Equally, the frequent chocolate shops are luring you by homemade pralines and candies. On top of all this, there are the famous French bakeries that offer, next to the fresh crunchy baguette, an extremely large number of sweet treats. They are just irresistible. Not entering a bakery to taste at least one of these delicacies would be a crime. To whet up your appetite even more, here is a short list of the most popular sweets that you should not miss.
Croissant and several other famous types of Parisian pastries are a type of viennoiserie, which are baked goods made from a yeast-leavened dough or puff pastry. By adding butter, chocolate or vanilla custard to the basic dough, the final products are sweeter than bread. Croissants, the buttery puff pastry rolled bread, is the most popular. French eat croissants very often for breakfast, with butter and jam.
Pain au chocolat
Pain au chocolat, also a very popular viennoiserie, is made from the same dough as croissants, but differs in shape and filling – the rectangular dough is filled with two dark chocolate sticks on the sides. Pain au chocolat is best when it is freshly baked and the chocolate melts. When it is still warm it is highly addictive.
Chausson aux pommes
Another popular viennoiserie will please apple lovers; “chausson aux pommes” is a puff pastry dough pocket filled with delicious, sweet apple sauce.
Éclairs are oval shaped puff pastries filled with custard. The dessert is topped by a delicious sweet glaze. The original flavour of éclair is chocolate, but if you like to experiment, you can try the one with coffee or caramel filling. They’re all delicious!
If you’re not so hungry, but you’d like to taste some cream-puff pastry delicacy as well, you can opt for tiny balls of cream-puff dough sprinkled with pearl sugar that are called chouquettes. Usually, Parisians buy them in a huge paper cornet. Buy some to snack on during a walking tour. But pay attention, they are so delicious that you may eat them all in one go!
If you’re a vanilla-flavour lover, you can’t miss a dessert called flan. Flan is a round custard consisting of delicious thin dough layer on the bottom and vanilla custard filling that is baked in the oven. Made from egg, milk and sugar, flan is a great option if you’re looking for some light dessert after a rich lunch.
Tartelettes aux fruits
Parisian bakeries offer also a large selection of desserts for fruit lovers. While classical apple or pear pies for Parisians are almost as basic as the most usual white baguette, the shops also offer more special pieces that you should not miss. First of all, pay attention the delicacy called tartelettes aux fruits. Usually, a tartelette is a small round crust made of a crunchy tea biscuit that is filled with creamy, sweet vanilla custard. Already this combination sounds tasty, but French pastry chefs have lead it to perfection by adding fresh fruit slices on the top. It is just impossible to resist the huge fresh strawberries or tasty looking raspberries that are waiting for you!
If you are a real fruit lover, you should also try the special upside-down fruit pie called tarte tatin. Its particularity lies in a special baking process – the apple slices, that make the basis of the pie, are caramelized in sugar and butter before baking. This process gives the final product an extremely smooth and sweet taste.
To make the mouth-watering list of sweet treats complete, let’s talk about the most decadent: mille-feuille and fondant au chocolat. Mille-feuille, in English “thousand leaves”, is a pastry consisting of three layers of thin puff pastry plates that are alternated with vanilla custard or cream filling. The top layer is usually decorated with sugar icing. This pastry has a long history – it was created in 1651 by a famous French chef François Pierre de La Varenne.
Fondant au chocolat
Saving the best for last, fondant au chocolat is one of the classical French chocolate cakes. Fondant means “melted” and this adjective fits perfectly with the dense and sticky structure of the cake that is obtained by a slow and long baking that caramelizes the ingredients. The dough consists mainly of high-quality dark chocolate, sugar, egg and butter, with a minimum amount of flour. It is mainly this composition and the process of baking that distinguish the brownie-styled fondant au chocolat from the classical chocolate cake, in which flour is the main ingredient.
The best of French pastries
Paris is the kingdom of bakeries. The smell of freshly baked baguettes lure your senses everywhere you go. So, why resist the temptation and try some French delicious pastries? Here is a list of the best sweets that you should not miss!
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.