Paris and chocolate…can it get any better? A good friend of mine handed me a couple pages of instruction before I left for France. “If you have time,” she said, “You might really enjoy this chocolate walk!” I tucked it into my bag and promised to check it out. One evening, when my husband and I had retired to our 6th Arrondissement (St. Germain de Pres) apartment to plan the next day, I remembered her notes. How fortunate that the chocolate walking tour started only two blocks from our apartment! We decided to follow it the next day. Here’s our chocolate walk:
Begin Chocolate Walk at Pierre Hermé, 72 rue Bonaparte
Pierre Hermé is a French pastry chef, well-known for his macarons with unique flavor combinations, like vanilla and olive oil. He was also dubbed “The Picasso of Pastry” by Vogue. After working for Laduree for a number of years, he opened his own store in Paris in 2001. There is even an online store where you can buy his incredible works of art, otherwise known as pastries, macarons, and chocolate (delivered only to Europe addresses)! When we arrived at the Pierre Hermé store, there was a long line. I couldn’t get close enough to take any photos, but the smell was amazing! We decided to move on.
From the Pierre Hermé store, turn right on rue Bonaparte, then turn left on rue Saint-Sulpice. Keep going straight on rue Saint-Sulpice until you reach rue de Seine and turn left.
Gérard Mulot, 76 rue de Seine
This is a combined boulangerie (bakery), pâtisserie (pastry shop), and chocolaterie (chocolate shop). With large windows and display cases, I guarantee your mouth will be watering before you enter the store!
Since this was a chocolate walk, we decided to narrow our choices to something chocolate. Even that was difficult! We bought a piece of chocolate biscuit (more like a cake) with solid chocolate topping. I loved how the name of the store was stamped in edible gold on the top! And of course, it tasted wonderful! Why had I thought it would be okay to split this with my husband?!
From Gérard Mulot, just cross the street, and you’ll be at…
Pierre Marcolini: Haute Chocolaterie
89 rue de Seine
Pierre Marcolini is famous for his passion for making the world’s best chocolate. I was simply not prepared for this Belgian chocolaterie! But you will be, because I will prep you as best I can. It’s called Pierre Marcolini: Haute Chocolaterie for a reason! That word, “Haute”, means high-end, super classy, over-the-top formal. As in…the gentleman who serves you is wearing white gloves and does NOT handle your money. I was so out of my comfort zone with the formality and my limited understanding of French, that I just bumbled my way through this experience. You do not just walk in and point to something you want to buy and walk out. You can, but that would be a shame. You should first savor all the beautiful chocolate colors and shapes. Note the unique flavor combinations. You will be invited to sample divine disks of chocolate in whatever flavor you desire. They will be presented to you on a white napkin. I tried a rose-flavored pink chocolate, and it was ______ (I’m running out of words here for describing how amazing their chocolate was). You can then make your selections from small boxed chocolates to larger assortments. The gentleman will give your assortment to a cashier in a room hidden behind the front counter, and you follow in order to pay. Everything will be wrapped and put in a beautiful gift bag and given back to the gentleman, who will then present it to you with a bow…as you re-enter the front of the store. We purchased a small box of chocolate-orange squares, with the letters M-A-R-C-O-L-I-N-I impressed on them. I didn’t dare eat any of the chocolate within sight of the store, in case that would be breaking some kind of etiquette rule!
As you leave Pierre Marcolini’s, go right on rue de Seine. Cross over boulevard Saint Germain and turn left at the next street, rue de Buci, to find…
Chocolat De Neuville, 29 rue de Buci
This is a bright and colorful chocolate shoppe with a great variety to choose from. Solid chocolate eiffel towers, chocolate-covered almonds, individual chocolates, macarons, and many novelty sweets. Because of this, I was looking for something unique, and I found it — a candied orange slice dipped in dark chocolate. My husband chose an individually wrapped piece of milk chocolate. I didn’t make it farther than the next corner before devouring the orange slice, which was heavenly. Even after sampling at two more stores, this turned out to be my favorite of the day. At Chocolat de Neuville, I was the most comfortable. This was more like a candy store in the United States would be–walk inside, pick up what you want and take it to the cashier. Fun and easy. You can even go to their website and design your own message in chocolate squares to purchase and send to someone special!
When you leave Chocolat de Neuville, continue a little farther along rue de Buci and turn left at rue de Seine; continue until you reach rue Jacob and turn left. Continue until you reach rue Bonaparte. Here you will find…
Ladurée, 21 rue Bonaparte
Yes! This is the Ladurée that is famous for inventing the double-sided macaron. It began as a bakery in 1862 on rue Royale, but this location on rue Bonaparte was not opened till 2002. While macarons are their claim to fame, they also have a tea salon, pastry shop, a restaurant, and a chocolatier at this location. The line was lengthy, but we agreed it was worth the wait to purchase a rose and a raspberry macaron, along with some rose-flavored mini meringues. I know. It’s not chocolate. But you know…we kind of had to do the macaron thing at Ladurée. Do you know they sell 15,000 macarons every day! Ladurée has also designed a make-up line based on the colors of their macarons.
From Ladurée, go right along rue Jacob and turn left at rue des Saints-Pères.
Debauve & Gallais, 30 rue des Saints-Pères
This is Paris’s oldest chocolate shop, operating in the same place since 1818. In fact, they got their start when Sulpice Debauve, the royal family chemist, introduced a chocolate “coin” to Queen Marie Antoinette in order to ease her distaste for taking medicines. She was so delighted with them that Monsieur Debauve was commissioned to create an entire collection called the Pistoles de Marie Antoinette.
When you enter Debauve & Gallais, notice the beautiful woodwork and displays. There’s an old-world feeling to this store. It feels rich and sumptuous, and that’s how the chocolate tastes, too. We purchased a modern art-styled white chocolate millefeuille and savored it.
You might enjoy exploring the Debauve & Gallais website long enough to listen to the traditional French music and see their slideshow of beautifully crafted chocolate!
I’ve included a map of our Chocolate Walk route, in case that helps. This chocolate walk is only minutes away from the center of Paris, easy to get to from Ile de la Cite by walking. The closest metro stop is Saint-Sulpice. While it is only 1.3 km in length (about 1 mile), the time it takes you to complete the walk is entirely up to you and how much sampling you do!
- A macaron is not the same as a macaroon. A macaron is a meringue-based confection of two cookies sandwiching a cream filling. A macaroon is made with coconut and is not French at all.
- While my friend gave me this walk outline, I found the original at Chocoparis.com, where you can find other chocolate walks in Paris as well as the history of chocolate, chocolate terms, and chocolate recipes!
- While the Saint-Germain de Pres (6th Arrondissement) has the highest concentration of chocolatiers, there are still plenty of excellent chocolatiers throughout Paris.
- Although not part of this chocolate walk, I would be amiss if I didn’t tell you about the best hot chocolate in Paris! It’s at Angelina, near the Jardin des Tuileries, at 226 rue de Rivoli. This is an elegant tea room over 110 years old. Come for the hot chocolate and the ambience! It is only €9 for a pot of hot chocolate that will serve two people with some left over. It comes with a bowl of fresh whipped cream to add to your chocolate, and it is nothing short of incredible!
If you’re interested in all Parisien foods, you’ll have to check out Paris by Mouth: Best Food Festivals in Paris, by World in Paris.
Please enjoy your walk of chocolate in Paris, and share with me and my readers any new tips you have in the comments below: