Paris Pastry Crawl: Rue du Bac

20 June 2015

With the number of pastry shops, bakeries, chocolatiers and other confectioners that line the rue du Bac in the 7th arrondissement, the street could very well be officially monikered ‘sweet street’. Until that happens, residents and gourmands will simply have to settle for a weeklong event that celebrates the street as a delicious destination.

Bac Sucré is the first initiative of its kind to pay homage to the exceptional indulgences produced on and around the rue du Bac and with resounding support from the 7th arrondissement mayor Rachida Dati and her team. 16 pastry shops, chocolate shops and confectioners have all opened their doors, and in some cases their locked boxes of secrets, to share their love of sweets with the public.

As an avowed fan of chocolate and pastry, I had to go scope out the scene. My curiosity naturally fed into several purchases which will keep me content at home for weeks days. In case you can’t make it to Paris this weekend before the event ends on June 21, here are some of my favorite pastries and shops from the rue du Bac that you can bookmark for a pastry crawl on your next visit.

PIERRE MARCOLINI

Ganache hearts by Pierre Marcolini

Who / what is it?
One of several divine little shops in the capital peddling the chocolatey genius that is Pierre Marcolini, a Belgian chocolatier whose work has become far more well known since he became a judge on the French television show Qui Sera le Prochain Grand Pâtissier? (who will be the next great pastry chef?)

Signature treat? 
Those colorful fruit or nut filled ganache hearts, seen above. The classic raspberry red is my favorite for its burst of fresh raspberry from the very first bite.

Address: 78 rue du Bac, 75007 

CHAPON

Chapon

Who / what is it?
Patrice Chapon’s fantasy land of chocolate. At least, that’s what I’ve been calling it.

Signature treat? 
Meg Zimbeck of Paris by Mouth introduced me to Patrice Chapon’s chocolate mousse bar a few years ago and life has never quite been the same. Choose between six chocolate origins: Madagascar, Ecuador, mix of Ecuador / Ghana, Venezuela or Peru, the latest addition. They will all be over-the-top and outrageously indulgent.

Address: 69 rue du Bac, 75007

JACQUES GENIN 

Jacques Genin Pâte de Fruits et légumes

Who / what is it?
The man for whom the words average or off-day are missing from his vocabulary. Jacques Genin consistently reaches perfection with his vast selection of chocolates, mendiants, flavored caramels and his pâte de fruits or légumes. In the photo above, you’ll find a mix of both the veggie and fruit flavors. Only the best possible fruit pulp is used for each cube and in the case of the cucumber, pepper and turnip, only the best produce available. I legitimately dislike pâte de fruits 99% of the time – too sticky and saccharine – but Genin’s edible rainbow is my 1% and the only varieties I will eat. Other-worldly, flavor-bomb and WOW seem to be the key signifiers when I talk and/or recommend Genin’s work. You’ll have to try it for proof!

Signature treat? 
Pâtes de fruits et légumes, caramels, chocolates. Basically anything in the shop should be taken home and savored. Genin has mastered his product offering and is a reference in all three major areas.

Address: 27 rue de Varenne, 75007 

DES GÂTEAUX ET DU PAIN BY CLAIRE DAMON

Pamplemousse Rosa, Des Gâteaux et du Pain, Claire Damon
Claire Damon ice cream (Des Gâteaux et du Pain)


Who / what is it?
Claire Damon, co-founder and expert pastry chef at Des Gâteaux et du Pain, is one of the only female pastry chefs with her own establishment in the city and also my French pastry idol. But more than that, she is the fairy godmother of fruit, known for teasing the flavors out of fresh, seasonal-only fruit (which means: no superfluous levels of added sugar) and crafting pastries that emphasize flavor, texture and taste versus. color, a common preoccupation.

Signature treat? 
I could point you to the Lipstick, one of her most iconic creations updated seasonally, but instead I encourage you to try the ice cream/sorbet and her Pamplemousse Rosa (seen above), which is a newer pastry composed of rose-flavored mousse, a whole grapefruit wedge and grapefruit jelly anchored on a rice flour crust. If you come in the fall, she will surely be working with a whole different batch of fruit at which point I would say pick up the autumn Lipstick.

Address: 89 rue du Bac, 75007
LA PÂTISSERIE DES RÊVES 

La Pâtisserie des RêvesLa Pâtisserie des Rêves Kouign AmannLa Pâtisserie des Rêves Paris BrestLa Pâtisserie des Rêves Tarte aux Fraises
Who / what is it?
This pastry shop hardly needs an introduction- its divine confections encased neatly in bell jars evoke a dreamlike sensation (which its name suggests). Philippe Conticini popularized the art of pastry reinvention when he opened his shop in 2009 with Thierry Teyssier and has continued to win accolades for his work.

Signature treat? 
If you’re in the mood for pâtisserie, his award-winning Paris-Brest is a wise, solid choice especially if you like hazelnut and praline. My other favorite is his tarte au citron which is more tarte than sweet, which I love. And in viennoiserie, I have a particular affection for his Kouign-Amann which he presents as a long stick vs. its traditional rounded shape. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

Address: 89 rue du Bac, 75007
What’s your rue du Bac favorite?

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