Being one of the culinary capitals of the world, Paris counts an honourable share of artisan chocolatiers– cocoa experts who bring genuine artistic flair to their chocolate, and concoct the finest in both traditional and eclectic recipes. Dark chocolate is a speciality among French chocolate artisans, as are ganaches: chocolates with rich, creamy centres.
With our guide to the best chocolate shops in Paris, you’ll have no trouble finding an excuse to indulge. Many of these shops are recommended by Mort Rosenblum, a veteran Paris correspondent and former editor who is also a chocolate expert.
1. Patrick Roger Paris
The chocolatier Patrick Roger recently opened a store in St. Germain: his original store is in the south Paris suburb of Sceaux. As good at tradition as he is at innovation, Patrick Roger won the title of best French artisan in 2000. He is well-known by food connoisseurs like David Lebovitz for his rochers (featuring a contrast of smooth praline filling and crunchy hazelnut flecks), ganaches, or dark chocolate complemented by flavors like lime or hot pepper. Don’t miss his seasonal, and always quirky, store windows.
Address : 108, blvd. St. Germain – 75006 PARIS
Metro : St.-Germain-des-Près
Phone : +33 (0)1 43 29 38 42
Web : www.patrickroger.com
2. La Maison du Chocolat Paris
Opened in 1977 by Robert Linxe (who was once referred to as a “ganache magician”), La Maison du Chocolat has several stores in Paris, and their world-renowned chocolates can also be ordered on line. For those who don’t like bitter chocolate, this is your shop– La Maison du Chocolat never uses more than 65% cocoa in their confections, to avoid a bitter flavor. World-famous for their ganaches, this shop also specializes in truffles, mendiants (slices of chocolate topped with dried fruit) and bars with fruit or herbal notes.
Address : 225, rue du Faubourg St. Honoré – 75008 Paris
Metro : Place des Termes
Phone : +33 (0)1 42 27 39 44
Web : www.lamaisonduchocolat.com
3. Michel Chaudun Paris
The former head of La Maison du Chocolat, Michel Chaudun is, hands-down, one of the world’s best artisan chocolatiers. Known for his whimsy as much as his mastery of the classics, you can expect to find anything from simple dark or milk bars and truffles to chocolate crafted to look exactly like sausages at his shop. Chaudun is also a talented chocolate sculptor– he once cast a chocolate mould out of performance artist Laurent Moriceau, which was then devoured by spectators at the Palais de Tokyo. A must for chocolate lovers.
Address : 149 Rue de l’Université – 75007 Paris
Metro : Invalides
Phone : +33 (0)1 47 53 74 40
4. Christian Constant Paris
Christian Constant has two shops in Paris, one close to the Luxembourg Garden. His chocolate is rated by food critics worldwide as some of the world’s finest, and he is particularly applauded for delicacies like raspberry ganaches, chocolate-covered orange peel, chocolates with spicy or herbal notes, or his famous “palet d’or”, confectioned from fresh cream and dark chocolate. Christian Constant also offers a dazzling selection of cakes, pastries, and five– count ’em, five– decadent varieties of hot chocolate.
Address : 37 rue Assas – 75005 Paris
Metro : St. Placide or Rennes
Phone : +33 (0)1 53 63 15 15
Web : www.christianconstant.fr
5. Josephine Vannier Paris
This is a lesser-known gem of an artisan chocolate shop nestled in the Marais District on the right bank. Offering a dizzying array of creations, from chocolate masks, mini-grand pianos and all-chocolate replicas of vintage ads, to classics like crispy nougatine, truffles, or mendiants, the Josephine Vannier shop is guaranteed to seduce adults and kids. Gourmet ice cream is also served here, including a flavour called “Groove”, described on the shop website, cryptically enough, as “pipes of Sri Lanka”. Only a visit will unveil the mystery…
Address : 4, rue du Pas de la Mule – 75011 Paris
Metro : Bastille
Phone : +33 (0)1 44 54 03 09
Web : www.chocolats-vannier.com
6. Jean Paul Hevin Paris
Another renowned chocolate artisan is Jean Paul Hevin, whose chic boutique and upstairs tearoom in the heart of the Rue St Honoré fashion district merits a visit. At the boutique, high grade solid chocolate bars and beautiful chocolate pastries lie in the counter in addition to a large collection of ganache and whimsical chocolate sculptures. Hevin has a particular talent for using Asian-inspired ingredients such as ginger. In the tearoom, I recommend trying one of Hevin’s signature gourmet hot chocolates.
Address : 231 Rue Saint Honoré – 75001 Paris
Metro : Tuileries or Pyramides
Phone : +33 (0)1 55 35 35 96
Web : www.jphevin.com
7. Michel Cluizel Paris
Michel Cluizel chocolates have been renowned since the mid-20th century, when Michel Cluizel first opened a family-run shop in Normandy. One of the rare chocolatiers to process their own carefully-selected cocoa beans, Michel Cluizel’s chocolates are known for their distinct, balanced flavors. At the famous store near the Tuileries Gardens and the St. Honoré fashion district, visitors can indulge in delicious dark or milk bars, each produced from a distinct blend of cocoa beans in Cluizel’s chocolaterie. Whole cocoa beans can also be purchased.
Address : 201, Rue St. Honoré – 75001 Paris
Metro : Tuileries
Phone : +33 (0)1 42 44 11 66
Web : www.cluizel.com
8. Pierre Herme Paris
The world’s most celebrated pastry chef, Pierre Herme has also won accolades for his line of gourmet chocolates. At the main shop in the St-Germain district, chocolate aficionados will find an incomparable selection of chocolate cakes, pastries, and macaroons, as well as unclassifiable confections like the famous “Death by Chocolate”–the name speaks for itself. You can also sample varieties of chocolates sure to stimulate the palate, such as pralines with caramelized sesame seeds or ganaches with orange and balsamic vinegar.
Address : 72 Rue Bonaparte – 75006 Paris
Metro : St.-Germain-des-Près
Phone : +33 (0)1 43 54 47 77
Web : www.pierreherme.com
9. Le Nôtre Paris
Le Notre’s window displays are an art form in themselves, and many a tourist can be observed staring longingly at the impeccably presented opéra (a dense chocolate cake) or fraisier (sponge cake with strawberries). Unfortunately for some, prices veer on the outrageous side (you can pay up to 50 Euros for a cake of four servings), but if you’re out to impress or looking for something extra special, Le Notre will deliver. Top-quality foie gras and smoked salmon are also available.
Address : 102 avenue du Président Kennedy 75016 Paris
Phone : + 33 (1) 55 74 44 44
Metro : Passy
Web : http://www.lenotre.com