What’s the Best Croissant in Paris? We Polled Some Expats…

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What’s the Best Croissant in Paris? We Polled Some Expats…
When it comes to flaky buttery pastries, the croissant is king. In all of its forms – pain au chocolat, croissant aux amandes, or plain old butter croissant – nothing goes better with a cup of coffee to start off a Parisian morning. We all have our favorites. I like to pick up a few croissants if I happen to be near Gerard Mulot’s bakery, not too far from the Sorbonne, at 76 rue de Seine in the 6th arrondissement. I am also a regular consumer of the almond croissants at Utopie, located at 20 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud in the 11th arrondissement. It’s a lot of trial and error to find a favorite, which requires eating many, many croissants. At 1-2 euros a piece, it’s not the most expensive habit to pick up, but it’s one of the harder ones to break. I wanted to see how other expats get their morning croissant fix. I asked a few friends and familiar faces to share where they go when they want something more special than the normal, everyday corner bakery version. But hey, even the corner bakery is still usually pretty good. Gail Bosclair, owner of Perfectly Paris apartment rentals, gets her croissants in Montmartre. “I don’t buy croissants very often but like the ones from Gontran Cherrier – plain or butter for me. The other baked goods are very good and inventive,” she said. Head up to Montmartre to find Gail’s favorites at 22 rue Caulaincourt in the 18th arrondissement. Kasia Dietz, local bag designer, heads to the canal to one of the city’s most popular bakeries. “For the best croissant or pain au chocolat, I head straight to Du Pain et des Idées near Canal Saint Martin. The lightest, flakiest and tastiest of them all!” she shared. Find them at 34 rue Yves Toudic in the 10th arrondissement. Lisa Anselmo, writer and founder of the “No Love Locks” movement, apparently follows Kasia to the same spot. She told me, “You will get this reply 100x but for me the best is Du Pains et des Idées”. No surprise there. Their banana-filled pain au chocolat is a playful rift on the classic. Patty Marino, expat TripAdvisor guru, heads to one of the bakeries that has been ranked as the best croissant in years past. “134RDT or their annex around the corner, and I always get only plain croissants,” she said. Find 134RDT at, of course, 134 rue de Turenne in the 3rd arrondissement, or at their second location 59RDS, at 59 rue de Saintonge in the 3rd. David Lebovitz, local food blogger and pastry chef, heads down by the Marché d’Aligre for his croissants. “I like Blé Sucré – I find their croissants to possess that rare quality of having both buttery, distinct flaky layers inside, and a crisp crust which I seem to detect a pinch of salt in, which adds a nice contrast to the billowing interior,” he told me. Find David’s favorite croissants at 7 rue Antoine Vollon in the 12th arrondissement. Lindsey Tramuta, local author and foodie, heads to the Left Bank for her favorite flaky pastry. “I’d say I prefer to reserve my croissant intake for a special occasion in which case I’ll make the trip early to Pierre Hermé on rue Bonaparte where he carries the Isapahan which is with rose almond paste, crushed raspberries and litchi compote. It’s to die for,” she said. Head down to 72 rue Bonaparte in the 6th arrondissement to grab one early in the morning before they disappear. These are just a few of the options available from, literally, hundreds of places that sell croissants. In general, avoid the pastries from supermarkets or even the bakery chain Paul. Why buy some overly industrialized croissant when you can get them baked fresh daily? And just remember, the flakier, the better, so don’t be afraid to wear those crumbs proudly after consuming your croissant. Let’s call it a sign of good taste.

Lead photo credit : courtesy of Gontran Cherrier

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Bryan Pirolli is a travel journalist and professor living in Paris since 2008. He’s made the rounds, having worked for Travel+Leisure, CNN Travel, DK Eyewitness Paris, Fodor’s, Time Out Paris, Le Pan, EuroCheapo, Expedia UK, and Thrillist. He has also been known to blog. He taught journalism at the Sorbonne Nouvelle, where he completed his PhD. In his spare time, Bryan also offers tours for LGBT travelers through his initiative The Gay Locals.


  • Francine Huffman
    2016-12-30 13:47:02
    Francine Huffman
    What a brilliant and honest commentary by Michael James. He's spot on and I fully agree with him!


  • Michael James
    2016-12-30 08:44:44
    Michael James
    I resisted commenting when this first appeared but this second appearance is a sign! It's just that I think there is some silliness to some of the responses described. First, a croissant is something you have quite often and it is rare, and misleading to describe, chasing all over Paris for the "best" or whatever. Amongst the half dozen boulangeries within a short walk of wherever you live or work, you'll find at least one that makes excellent croissants. As it happens when, half a lifetime ago, I lived on Ile St Louis I was close to Les Panetons at 47 rue Saint Louis en l’ile (corner r Budé) who do make especially fine examples. At some point it was replaced by Amorino selling gelato (no doubt free-riding the Berthillion phenomenon, tant pis). Les Panetons' main store at 113 rue Mouffetard remains. It is here: http://www.evous.fr/Boulangerie-Les-Panetons,1135279.html Second, the article is about croissants, not filled with all kinds of sickly sweet concoctions. I'll allow a classic almond croissant but anything else is no longer a croissant but something altogether different that happens to be wrapped in the carcass of ... My point is that Americans (and other Anglophones) should try to learn to enjoy the genuine article and resist their urge to pollute everything they eat with unnecessary (and usually too sweet) stuff. I don't want millions of American tourists (or American residents who should know better!) demanding such stuff and eventually influencing/perverting the real thing. If they need their sugar fix they'll find frozen muffins or donuts in a supermarché ... (or I suppose, shudder, in a Maccas). Third, continuing the same theme, here is a comparison between an American muffin and a French croissant, dietary wise: a classic (butter) croissant has 2.3 g added sugar plus 20g other carbohydrate (ie. flour). A muffin has 22.3 g added sugar and about 54g carb from flour. True, this is an American recipe for a 113g muffin while it is a French recipe for an approx. 65g croissant. The muffin has six times the added sugar (and more fat and salt too). You'd be able to find American recipes for much bigger croissants (awful big doughy things) which will probably have even more (than proportionate) sugar, but the point is that you can enjoy a fine buttery (French) croissant with your espresso every day without fretting about health issues (or weight gain). Incidentally the only reason originally for "plain" versus "butter" croissants would have been the lower cost of the former; original croissant recipes always had butter and there is no sensible reason to eat anything but the butter ones today (the diet thing is nonsense) because it makes a big difference to the quality of the eating experience. The plain croissant will still have the same amount of fat but it will be some industrial gunk instead of tasty butter. But if you are going to stuff it with banana or "raspberries and litchi compote" or whatever, it is no longer a croissant and it will have at least ten times the empty calories. Furthermore you shouldn't write about this stuff in a magazine consumed by Americans that completely misleads them. A genuine buttery (the only kind, really) croissant is a fine thing without turning it into anything else. /sermon.


  • Robyn webb
    2016-04-29 02:31:37
    Robyn webb
    As an annual visitor for several months at a time, I'm always on the hunt for a great croissant. I agree with everyone here, I've tried all these, they are all great. All those boulangeries are among my favorites!