The 15 Best Paris Desserts (According to a Baking Instructor)

Paris is the ultimate destination for indulgent and exquisite desserts. As a pastry chef and baking instructor, I always search for the best Paris desserts when I go to France each year. Plus, I love visiting this city to find inspiration for my own recipes! From flaky croissants to delicate macarons, the city of lights offers something for everyone.

Follow along as we explore the 15 best desserts in Paris and where to find them in the city.

1. Macarons: Pierre Hermé

Various macarons at Pierre Herme at Galeries Lafayette

Macarons are one of the best desserts in Paris. These dainty almond meringue cookies, sandwiched with a myriad of creamy fillings, are perhaps the most iconic French dessert (and they are beautiful, too).

You’ll find some of the best macarons at Pierre Hermé (I visit at least one of his shops every trip, no questions asked). His shops have standard flavors, like chocolate, caramel, and raspberry, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. But there are also more adventurous flavors that are fun try, like the Celeste macaron (my personal favorite!). The texture is spot-on, and the fillings are always delicious. When you bite into one of these macarons, they are soft and tender, with just the right amount of crackle from the delicate shells.

This is a must-visit spot for your next Paris trip.

You might be wondering about the famous Ladurée and why it didn’t make the cut. While Ladurée has beautiful shops, the quality of the macarons is often lacking. I’ve eaten good macarons there, but I’ve also had several disappointing experiences. Plus, Laduree macarons are mass-produced in Switzerland. C’est complètement fou! (That’s crazy!).

Instead, opt for artisanal macaron shops, like Richart, Pierre Hermé, and Gem La Pâtisserie where they make their macarons in-house. When you visit these shops, you’ll taste some of the best macarons in the city.

2. Tarte Tatin: Du Gâteau et du Pain

Originating from the Hotel Tatin in the 19th century, this upside-down caramelized apple tart melts in your mouth. I have a wonderful recipe for Tarte Tatin, but nothing beats sitting at a beautiful bistro in Paris while eating an authentic tarte tatin pomme. The warm, gooey apples topping the buttery pastry are heavenly!

You can find excellent Tarte Tatin pastries at Stohrer, Blé Sucré, and Du Gâteau et du Pain. This Parisian dessert is found in autumn, which means you won’t be able to find it year-round at most pâtisseries.

3. Mille-Feuille: Carl Marletti

A mille-feuille is another classic and iconic French dessert. It’s one I love to make at home, but it’s even more fun to see how pastry chefs create them in Paris. This dessert typically consists of three layers of caramelized puff pastry with two layers of pastry cream, chocolate mousse, or other delicious filling.

You’ll find this pastry dessert at many restaurants, bistros, and patisseries around Paris. But, if you want to try one of the best versions, go to Carl Marletti Patisserie in the 5th arrondissement. Carl Marletti is a genius at any dessert he makes, and his mille-feuille is the perfect representation of what this dessert should look and taste like. It’s truly one of the best desserts in Paris!

4. Ice Cream: Une Glace á Paris

The weather is often uncomfortably hot in Paris during the summer, so ice cream is essential to survive the Parisian heat. Among the best shops are Berthillon, Grom, and Une Glace á Paris. While all are delicious, Une Glace À Paris literally has some of the best ice cream in Paris! Emmanuel Ryon, one of the co-creators of this ice cream shop, won the coveted M.O.F. (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) for ice cream. This award distinguished his ice cream as the best in France.

a hand holding a cup of mango passion fruit sorbet from Une Glace à Paris with the street of Paris in the background

If you can only visit one ice cream shop on your trip, visit Une Glace à Paris. Every ice cream and sorbet variety is delicious, and every flavor tastes like it was just freshly made. My personal favorite is the Mangue Passion, and their lemon sorbet is heavenly as well.

5. Crème Brûlée: Le Petit Cler

If you haven’t tried crème brûlée, this is a must in Paris! This classic French dessert consists of vanilla custard with a caramelized sugar crust. And you can find great crème brûlée at great restaurants all over the city.

Creme Brulee from Le Petit Cler

The version at Le Petit Cler café is delicious! And bonus, Le Petit Cler is on Rue Cler, which is one of the cutest pedestrian streets in the city. When you order this famous dessert in Paris, it is usually served a shallow dish. This gives the dessert the perfect balance between the crackly crust and the creamy vanilla custard (so good!).

Other places with great crème brûlée include Le Fontaine de Mars and Bateau Le Calife(try their dinner cruise; it’s amazing!).

6. Éclair: L’éclair de Génie

I didn’t like eclairs all that much in my early pastry days…until I went to Paris and had some of the best eclairs imaginable! These beautiful elongated pastries are filled with cream or custard and come in various flavors and colors. I recommend going to L’Éclair de Génie and Stohrer for truly memorable choux pastries.

Eclairs at l'eclair de Genie in Paris at Galerie Lafayette

I have tried at least ten different eclair flavors at L’Eclair de Genie, and the best flavors include lemon yuzu, salted caramel, and passion framboise. Their shops often have seasonal flavors, too. If you can’t decide what to try, they offer a variety box with four small eclairs, which is the way to go if you want to try a few!

If you want a classic eclair filled with caramel, chocolate, or coffee-flavored cream, go to Stohrer. Their salted caramel eclair is the best I’ve ever had. They don’t offer inventive flavors, but you can never go wrong with one of the classics. The exterior of their eclairs is beautiful, the filling is flavorful and smooth, and the texture of the eclair pastry shell is crisp and light.

If you can’t wait until your trip to eat one, try my recipe for classic French éclairs.

Eclairs at Stohrer in Paris.

7. Entremet: Christophe Michalak

An entremet, for me, is what a cake should be. It’s a layered dessert made with cake, mousse, other additional fillings, and a glaze (much better than layers of cake and overly sweet frosting, in my opinion!). Entremets are some of the best and most sophisticated desserts in Paris, and it’s easy to see why once you try one.

If you want to try some of the best entremets, visit Christophe Michalak Patisserie. My very favorite is the mangue entremet, and it is tantalizing. The beauty of the dessert, the flavors, the textures, the overall experience…it’s truly one of the best Parisian desserts. It’s the perfect combination of mango, passionfruit, coconut, and almond.

mangue dessert entremet at Christophe Michalak Patisserie in Paris

While you can find delicious entremets at many patisseries in Paris, Michalak has mastered the art of these desserts. Visit one of his three locations in Paris.

8. St. Honoré: Stohrer

Stohrer is quintessentially Parisian. Opened in 1730, it is the oldest patisserie in the city. Stohrer sells some of the most exceptional pastries and desserts in Paris.

Their St. Honoré is no exception. This dessert consists of puff pastry, choux pastries, pastry cream, chantilly cream, and hard caramel. There are some variations depending on the patisserie, but Stohrer has mastered this dessert. As you bite into this dessert, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. The crackly caramel combined with vanilla cream and puff pastry is definitely swoon-worthy.

St. Honoré pastry from Stohrer being held in front of a window

Try it. There’s nothing not to love about this one. I still think about this dessert; it’s a must-have for every visit.

9. Tarte au Citron: Cyril Lignac

What would a trip to Paris be without a classic French lemon tart? A tarte au citron (en Français) usually has a delicate, slightly sweet crust combined with creamy, silky lemon curd. While I’ve had my fair share of lemon tarts, none compare to the one from Cyril Lignac Patisserie.

Tarte au Citron at Patisserie Cyril Lignac in Paris

When I tasted this tart from Cyril Lignac’s boutique, it quickly became the lemon tart I would judge all others against. While this dessert looks different from a typical tarte au citron, it delivers in every way possible. The crust is delicate and flavorful, and the lemon curd is slightly sweet with just a bit of pucker. If you love lemon, then add Cyril Lignac to your Paris itinerary!

10. Profiteroles: Bistrot Chez France

This wouldn’t be a list of the best Paris desserts without mentioning profiteroles. These small, round choux pastries are filled with ice cream and drizzled with warm chocolate sauce.

There’s something especially wonderful about eating profiteroles in Paris. Maybe it’s the locally sourced ingredients, the extra fat in the cream and butter, or the high-quality chocolate…either way, the French have mastered this dessert. In most restaurants, they bring this dessert to you with a small pitcher of chocolate sauce that they pour over the profiterole right in front of you. It’s fun to watch and even more delicious to eat!

Visit Bistrot Chez France for a deliciously decadent experience. You can also find profiteroles on the menu at other restaurants, such as Chez René (a great choice where locals go) or Café de la Païx.

15 best paris desserts showing ice cream, macarons, eclairs, and a st. honoré

11. Mont Blanc: Carette

Mont Blanc is a showstopper dessert that features sweet chestnut purée piped over meringue and finished with whipped cream. This dessert resembles Mont Blanc, the famous mountain in the French Alps (obviously not a small dessert).

Head to Carette to eat this impressive dessert. Not only can you get a Mont Blanc, but you can order some of their famous hot chocolate to go along with your dessert. And while you can go to Angelina for a Mont Blanc and hot chocolate, I’d tell you to go to Carette over Angelina. They are a step above in every way. Angelina has turned into a tourist trap, so it’s a no-go for me.

12. Kouign Amann: Stohrer

I’ve tried several kouign amanns over the years, and I always go back to Stohrer as the winner for the best kouign amann in Paris.

A kouign amann is made with puff pastry, good-quality butter, and sugar. It bakes and caramelizes so that one side of the pastry has a tantalizing caramel-like glaze while the interior is buttery, flaky, and sweet.

Kouign amann from Stohrer in Paris

It’s my favorite pastry in Paris. In my mind, a kouign amann is somewhere between a breakfast pastry and an afternoon treat (called Le Goûter in Paris). This pastry is sweet and delicious but not as heavy as some desserts.

The version at Stohrer is perfect. I’ve had some from other boulangeris that are much too sweet. But you be the judge! Try Stohrer and a few others around the city to see what you like (that’s what I like to do!).

13. Mousse au Chocolat: Chapon Chocolat

Mousse au chocolat, or chocolate mousse, is a French dessert that most people have tasted at least once. So, what makes Chapon’s chocolate mousse so spectacular? When you take your first bite, you’ll taste the deep chocolate flavor and the light and airy texture that’s also creamy and smooth.

chocolate mousse in a paper cone cup from Chapon Chocolatier

Chapon Chocolat offers several chocolate mousse varieties, so you can order the one that fits your preference for chocolate intensity. They serve the mousse in small to-go cones, which make the experience even more fun. Simply put, their chocolate mousse leaves nothing wanting. It’s one of the best desserts in Paris (and possibly some of the best chocolate mousse you’ll ever have).

In addition, Chapon offers decadent chocolates with exotic cocoa beans sourced from around the world. If you want to know where to find the best chocolate in the city, read my article about the Best Chocolate Shops in Paris.

If you want to eat chocolate mousse at a sit-down restaurant instead, try the mousse au chocolat at Chez René. They have decadent chocolate mousse that’s the perfect end to your meal.

14. Île Flottante

Ile Flottante, meaning “floating island,” is an iconic French dessert. It consists of crème anglaise as the base and little floating meringues, often topped with slivered almonds and caramel.

This is the type of dessert you order at a brasserie or bistrot, not at a pâtisserie. If you like fluffy meringue, then this will hit the spot. There’s something beautiful and elegant about the little mounds of meringue floating in the crème anglaise.

Head to Restaurant Georgette or Fontaine de Mars to try this scrumptious Parisian dessert.

15. Paris-Brest: Philippe Conticini

Named after a famous bicycle race from Paris to Brest, this dessert is a ring of choux pastry filled with praline-flavored cream. This is one of the most decadent choux desserts in Paris, and it’s not only impressive to look at, but it’s also delicious.

When I was in Paris a few months ago, I tried Philippe Conticini’s irresistible Paris-Brest at his location at Galeries Lafayette. His choux pastry is delicate, and the filling is flavorful but not too rich or heavy. He adds a drizzle of pralinè sauce on top of the pretty piped cream, giving it more flavor and variety. Then there’s the crunch of the slivered almonds, which completes this dessert perfectly. When you order a Paris-Brest, you’ll want to savor every bite.

Paris Brest from Philippe Conticini in a box

Other patisseries and cafes with noteworthy Paris-Brests include Jacques Genin, Carette, and Carl Marletti, so add this to your Paris itinerary!

So there you have it! Paris offers a dessert for every mood and occasion, whether you’re savoring a leisurely experience at a sidewalk café, exploring the delights of a pastry shop, or indulging in a lavish dessert after a sumptuous French meal. Each of these 15 desserts is a testament to the city’s commitment to culinary excellence, making Paris a paradise for dessert lovers worldwide.

4 Comments

  1. Looks amazing! I would love to join you for a taste of Paris trip! I am reading Julia Child’s My Life in Paris memoire and am mesmerized by her food descriptions and experiences. Your blog post evoked similar feelings. In my opinion, the food is the best part of travel!

  2. Cathy Morgan

    This was a great article and I love the recommendations of desserts and pastries you suggested.
    We leave for Paris tomorrow and I am excited to try some of the desserts and pastries, especially the lemon desserts.

    • Cathy, I’m so glad it was helpful! Enjoy the desserts on your trip – there’s nothing like pastries and desserts in Paris!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*