Even though there is an excessive number of chocolate shops in Paris and god knows I would love to try every one without growing an extra layer of fat in the process, I went weeks without entering a single chocolate coma-inducing haven until one store practically threw a bomb of chocolate delight at my face.
L'Atelier du Chocolat (4ème) knows how to reel 'em in: fill a display case with a sea of chocolate filled baskets and jut it onto the sidewalk so that people like me (gluttons) forget their initial task (unless that initial task is to get chocolate, in which case I applaud you) and instead gravitate towards the huge variety of sweets that look like regular chocolate truffles and bon bons...on steroids.
My hefty feuilleté blanc consisted of a light, crispy milk chocolate hazelnut praline core encased in smooth white chocolate. Feuilleté praliné tastes microscopically crispy due to the incorporation of finely crushed wafers. Imagine the sensation of Pop Rocks if they were dainty and tickled your mouth intead of making it feel like a bomb testing site. It's mildly addictive.
After numerous people recommended/ordered me to go to Ladureé (6ème), I finally gathered the courage to enter the ostentatious patisserie that treats macarons and other baked goods like fine jewelry.
Although I'm sure they're tasty, I ignored everything that fell outside the "macaron" category, knowing that that Laduree was most famous for their wide variety of the light sandwich cookie..
Ladureé's macarons are deservedly well known for being lighter and more flavorful than the average macaron. Pistachio was my favorite, although salted butter caramel also went on my "must eat again" list for being filled with rich caramel instead of the usual flavored cream. While I don't know whether Laduree makes the best macarons in Paris, they're among the best I've had so far.
Another place I'd recommend for macarons is Jean-Paul Hévin (7ème). Since it is foremost a chocolate shop, all their macarons are chocolate based with a subtle secondary flavor.
My preference is that I'd rather eat a a singularly flavored macaron, but I'm all for biting into a delicate, crisp outer shell that melds into soft, moist innards that further moosh into a creamy center no matter what the flavor is.
Out of the flavors I tried—vanilla, passion fruit, caramel, and hazelnut—caramel and hazelnut were my favorites. Overall I felt that the non-chocolate flavor of each macaron was too subdued, like a faint whisper. Man, I want those flavors to punch my tastebuds, or at least do more than tiptoe on them.
One solution I've come up with is to buy five of one flavor the next time I go and shove all of them in my mouth at once. Even if that doesn't intensify the flavor, who cares; it would still be delicious.
L'Atelier du Chocolat
109 rue Saint-Antoine, 4th
Metro: St. Paul (1)
An NYC food blogger, currently studying non-foodie things in Paris, Robyn of The Girl Who Ate Everything shares her discoveries with Parisist every Monday while she explores all the eats that Paris has to offer.