Top 10 Parisian Desserts
Paris is a city of dreamy aesthetics and culinary delights. With specialties ranging from unbelievably flaky croissants and exceptional cheeses to decadent desserts, Paris is a true foodie heaven. Parisian desserts are one of the best ways to experience local food culture, but the number of choices can be overwhelming! In this article, I’ll share with you all about my picks for the top 10 Parisian desserts so you can sample the best of Parisian sweets. Bon appétit!
First up on our list of top 10 Parisian desserts, and perhaps the most well-known on the list is the macaron. These delicate French sandwich cookies are incredibly light and airy, and just don’t taste the same anywhere outside of France. Macarons are traditionally made with two almond meringues filled with either a ganache or jam. The best macarons in Paris come from the stores Ladurée and Pierre Hermé, but it’s quite a debate among Parisians. Of course there you can find traditional flavors like chocolate, pistachio, or coffee, but they also offer unique ones such as rose, tea, or even vanilla with olive oil! With so many delicious flavors to choose from, you’re sure to find a favorite!
Éclairs are next up on our list of top 10 Parisian desserts! These delicious pastries are said to have been created in the 19th century by the French Royalty’s pastry chef. Éclairs are made from choux dough which is baked and then stuffed with flavored ganache filling and topped with sweet icing. You can find éclairs in almost any pastry shop in Paris, but the most unique flavors and inventive designs come from a L’ éclair de Genie!
Known for being one of the hardest French words to pronounce, the millefeuille is actually a decadent treat, with a rightfully-earned place on our list of top 10 Parisian desserts. The name of this dessert literally translates to “1,000 leaves” and as soon as you dig into this dessert, you’ll see why! The millefeuille is a rectangular layered cake, composed of alternating layers of flaky puff pastry and a rich, custard pastry cream. Best enjoyed at tea time, you’ll find a classic millefuille on most café menus.
Named for a classic French bicycle race between Paris and Brest in 1891, this classic Parisian dessert is actually shaped like a bicycle wheel! The delicious Paris-Brest is essentially praline pastry cream sandwiched between two light, yet crunchy, choux pastry rounds. The entire cake is garnished with slivered almonds and powdered sugar to give it the traditional look. The perfect combination of creamy and crunchy textures make this cake one of our top 10 Parisian desserts!
5. Berthillon Ice Cream
This is the only shop making its way onto our list of top 10 Parisian desserts, and once you taste their ice cream, you’ll see why. Located on the Ile Saint-Louis, the original, family-owned Berthillon store has been serving Parisians’ favorite ice cream since 1954. At Berthillon, they use only the highest quality ingredients, which make their ice creams and sorbets really stand out. Fresh fruit flavors like peach, pear and even lemon are just a few of the options available as sorbets (meaning if you’re gluten or dairy free, you can still enjoy these sorbets!). With over 30 flavors to choose from, you can’t go wrong at Berthillon!
Coffee-lovers, this one is for you! Our list of top 10 Parisian desserts wouldn’t be complete without the sophisticated Opéra cake. Originally created in 1682 at the legendary Parisian pastry house Dalloyau, this dessert is 100% Parisian. Said to resemble the grandiose stage of the Opéra Garnier in Paris, the cake was actually named after it. The Opéra is made up of delicate layers of Joconde biscuit, coffee, chocolate ganache, coffee buttercream and finally topped with a rich chocolate glaze. It’s every bit as delicious as it sounds! Dalloyau is still rumored to make the best Opéra in Paris, but you can find them in almost any patisserie.
7. Tarte aux Fruits
The tarte aux fruits is one of the most simple yet delicious top 10 Parisian desserts! This simple fruit tart has been around for centuries, and you can make it with almost any fruit. The tart has a biscuit base layer, called a pâte sablée which is topped with fruit and baked. The type of fruit tarts you can find in Paris really depends on the season, but you can usually find excellent apple and strawberry tarts all year round.
The next up on our list of top 10 Parisian desserts is a true classic! The Saint-Honoré cake was first created in a pastry shop on the glamorous Rue Saint-Honoré, back in 1847. This cake is just as decadent as its birthplace! Choux pastry cream puffs are placed atop a pâte sablée to create the base of the cake. The whole thing is topped with vanilla pastry cream, whipped cream and finally caramel to create a delicious Saint-Honoré. To try the Saint-Honoré in true Parisian style, head to Angelina’s, on Rue de Rivoli. Gorgeous interiors and amazing cakes will make you feel like you’re in Parisian heaven.
9. Oeufs à la Neige
Oeufs à la neige actually means “whipped egg whites”. While this may sound strange at first, there’s a lot more to this classic Parisian dessert! To create this dessert, sweetened egg whites are whipped and very delicately cooked, resulting in a perfectly light meringue consistency. Traditionally, restaurants serve the meringue over a layer of homemade caramel. Oeufs à la neige is one of our top 10 Parisian desserts, and one of the most popular desserts in Parisian restaurants. It’s easy to find this dessert in Paris, and it’s definitely a must-try!
The last pick on our list of top 10 Parisian desserts is the Montblanc. The Montblanc cake was named after France’s most famous mountain, and actually looks like a mountain dusted in snow! This cake combines a delicate meringue base with vanilla and chestnut whipped cream for the ultimate indulgence. The Montblanc gets its unique shape from the carefully-piped chestnut cream on top! You can find the most famous version of this cake at Angelina’s, but many other pastry shops have delicious versions, too.
Now that you’ve read our recommendations for the best Parisian desserts, you’re ready to explore the world of Parisian sweets! We hope that this list has been helpful for you, and that you’ll share your favorite picks with us. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you would like any more information about Paris. See you soon in Paris and bon appétit!