my favorite croissants in Paris
Before I went to Paris, I was so excited for the prospect of eating a croissant a day or even two croissants a day because I’m an adult and we get to make unhealthy life decisions like that! My thought was, in Paris, any croissant you eat is bound to be amazing, right?
Well, after 8 weeks of a more manageable 3 croissants a week, I beg to differ.
Buttery, flaky, soft, and sweet, not all croissants are created equal.
The incredible thing about a croissant is the magic it takes to make one come out so perfectly.
First, there are the ingredients – here is where most well made pastries in France have the leg up; French dairy is crazy high quality. I hate to sound like Ina Garten (jk I LOVE HER) but good butter and good flour go a long way, especially when they’re the main ingredients.
Then, there is the art of bringing those two different elements, the butter and flour, together. To make croissants you use a process called lamination where you layer together the butter and dough to create beautifully light, puffy, honeycombed croissants. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to know just by looking at the outside when this process is done well or not.
Lastly, there’s the bake. In pastry school we learned that a dark bake on croissants is “the French way.” What I discovered in Paris was that there are a lot of “French ways” within the French way. Regardless, I do think people agree that a great croissant has a crispy, flaky crunch when you rip into it and a soft buttery inside.
When you think about it, I wasn’t in Paris for that long and I really didn’t eat that many croissants, but from my count I had about 15 different ones and a few repeats of my favorites. Since 15 isn’t a small number, I will give you my absolute favorite croissant in Paris and three additional great patisseries to check out!
7 Rue Antoine Vollon, 75012 Paris
Blé Sucré is near Bastille on the right bank of Paris. On your way there you might pass the Gap, Monoprix, and Bagelstein, and start wondering where the f you are, but then you’ll turn onto a quiet street, next to a park with lots of kids playing while their grandmothers sit on the side. The shop is small and the people that work there are kind. They have a few uncomfortable tables outside where you can sit with a coffee that’s just ok and a croissant that is absolutely perfect.
The croissant at Blé Sucré is everything a croissant aspires to be. It is beautifully shaped, flakey, and golden brown on the outside, but so soft on the inside with a flavor that’s sweet, but not too sweet, and above all incredibly buttery. I went five times and they are never dry or over baked or stale or anything else. They are perfect. every. single. time.
I can also say that everything else I’ve had (pain au chocolat, paris-brest, madelines, tart tatin, fraisier, ice cream, baguette) has been tops. Blé Sucré truly is craftsmanship at its best.
Here are my other favorites!
88 Rue des Martyrs, 75018 Paris
It’s hard not to love Pain Pain the second you walk in. Not only is the shop hiiiighly Instagrammable, but it features a gorgeous display of pastries, cakes, and breads. For my last month in Paris, I lived a 3 minute walk from the shop, so trust me when I say I tried a lot of what they have to offer. Just like Ble Sucre, it’s hard to go wrong at Pain Pain.
Their croissants are flaky and buttery and their case pastries are inventive and delicious. That being said, the star of the show is most definitely the quiche. Go for classics like Quiche Lorraine or Quiche aux Courgettes and you’ll be treated with the most custardy, creamy filling on top of an amazing puff pastry crust. It’s super rich, but we’re not in a patisserie to be healthy, right? You might as well get something beautiful and sweet from the case, too. Don’t worry, with all of those hills in Montmartre, you’ve earned it.
Du Pain et Des Idees
34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris
I love this shop. Not only does it look and feel like it belongs in the small provincial town from Beauty and the Beast with their blue and gold motif, but their pastries are fantastic. Out of their selection of pastries, bread, and more, laid out in beautiful baskets, the croissant is surprisingly not my favorite. It’s flakey and layered but I found it to be too soft with no real flavor beyond butter. Don’t get me wrong – butter is life, but it’s the reason that you should instead order one of their many flavored escargots – snail shaped pastries with fun fillings like chocolate pistachio, rum raisin, and praline. Du Pain et Des Idees is mostly known for their bread, so if you’re all in, definitely get some. And while you’re at if, check out their niflets, which are buttery cookies with dabs of pastry cream and powdered sugar!
If you can’t grab a seat at their one outside table, take a quick walk to Canal Saint-Martin and carb-o-load with your feet swinging over the edge.
40 rue Lepic, 75018 Paris
Boulangerie Alexine is a small counter only shop away from the touristy masses of the Sacre Coeur where you’ll find what many deem as the best baguette in Montmartre. I stumbled upon it on my first day in the city, following the sight of a long line out the door at 6pm. I got a baguette and then had to keep myself from going back every day because it was that good. Unfortunately, by eating an amazing baguette on my first day, I made the mistake of thinking all baguettes I encountered in Paris would be flavorful, crunchy, and chewy. What I learned is that the four-ingredient baguette can vary just like a croissant, and some places (like Boulangerie Alexine) are much better than others.
If you manage to make it there early enough for a croissant you will not be disappointed, but don’t shy away from all the other delicious things they have to offer! My favorites were the chausson au pommes and chocolate covered florentine cookie.
For me, the most fun part of coming to my favorite croissant conclusion was discovering what I like and don’t like. Of course, I can’t force you all to love Blé Sucré as much as I do, but if you think there’s a better croissant out there in Paris, I’ll fight you. Kidding! If you think there’s a better croissant out there in Paris, I’d love to hear about it.
I don’t think I’m sick of them yet.
Until next time,