Never mind the fact that they are Italian-born, their ancestors brought to France by Catherine de Medici’s chef when she married the Duc d’Orléans in 1533. The delicate, intensely sweet, brilliantly colored macaron is as Parisian as Marion Cotillard. They are beloved by citizens of all ages. They are the go-to dessert to bring to any dinner party. All this is why, as my family and I plotted a long-awaited trip to Paris (I’d visited the city briefly in college, just long enough to sample a few macarons; my wife and daughters had never been), my dreams turned cookie-ward. The minute our plane touched down at de Gaulle, I announced that we’d be scouring Paris to find the platonic ideal of the sweet. No, I said, these aren’t the shredded-coconut macaroons—note the extra o in that name—of America. Think of them as Oreos—sugary, buttery sandwiches of multiple flavors with creamy insides. But Parisian Oreos, laden with culture and sophistication and twice as much sugar. My family smiled. Game on.
We began our hunt in the 8th Arrondissement, with the most historic macarons in Paris. It was Ladurée bakery that in 1862 took two macaron shells and married them with a velvety ganache filling. The recipe hasn’t changed since.
Per my daughters, the raspberry was clearly the front-runner, and it was accented well by a cup of café au lait in the Ladurée’s suitably belle epoque tearoom. But the très
75 Av. des Champs-Élysées, +33-1-40-75-08 -75, laduree.com
GRÉGORY RENARD CACAO ET MACARONS
Wife and Maddy said the chocolate sea-salt macarons were the best they’ve ever had. But they saved none for Lilly and me. Grégory Renard’s tiny cocoa-colored shop was warm and inviting. That in no way made up for me not having a macaron.
120 Rue Saint-Dominique, +33-1-47-05-19-17
Macarons in Paris
JEAN-PAUL HÉVIN CHOCOLATIER
After spending hours at the Louvre, we hunted for a macaron joint as artistic as the building we’d just left. We found it at Jean-Paul Hévin Chocolatier: Its glass and steel design echoes the Louvre’s I.M. Pei glass pyramid.
Jean-Paul’s macarons are works of art but more surreal Magritte than, say, Cézanne. Nontraditional combos include white-chocolate biscuits with grapefruit ganache and a violet chocolate biscuit with violet ganache that was, well, violet-y.
231 Rue St. Honoré, +33-1-55-35-35-96, jeanpaulhevin.com/en
PÂTISSERIE GÉRARD MULOT
But had we found the ultimate macaron? We could arrive at no consensus. Then, on our last day in Paris, we went to the 4th Arrondissement to view the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame. And we found Pâtisserie Gérard Mulot nearby.
No frills. No gimmicks. No impressive history. Ils
76 Rue de Seine, +33-1-43-26-85-77, gerard-mulot.com
This story originally appeared in the 2017 June/July issue of Airbnbmag.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.