My amazing friend Amy is visiting this week! Given that she loves food as much as I do, she was the perfect partner in crime for a croissant crawl. Ever since reading David Lebovitz’s “Paris’s Best Croissants” in Travel + Leisure, I have been wanting to judge all of those boulangeries for myself. Amy and I did even better by trying SEVEN croissants (take that, David!) from different bakeries across town with a very specific mission– find the best croissant in Paris.
We started at my local bakery on Rue Cler, Ronde Des Pains (45 Rue Cler). We hungrily ate our first croissant of the day. I noticed that the croissant was not very dark, but it was still crispy and doughy inside without feeling too heavy.
Next, we walked a couple blocks to Pain et Chocolat (16 Avenue de La Motte Picquet). I always loved the name of the café – Bread and Chocolate – but I had never actually stepped inside.We were lured inside by the croissants on display in the window, which were significantly darker than the one we devoured at Ronde Des Pains. After talking with a staff member, we learned that they roll all the dough overnight and bake it in their ovens downstairs. It’s good to know that even a café is willing to bake their own pastries (one would hope with the “bread” being in the name). Pain et Chocolat’s croissant was definitely crispier (probably due to the longer baking) and less doughy, but I thought it was really buttery and heavy. I had butter all over my hand as I ripped the croissant into pieces.
We took the Métro all the way across town to Blé Sucré (7 Rue Antoine Vollon). I was a little embarrassed to admit to Amy that I had never really explored the 12th arrondissement of Paris before. We found an adorable store front overlooking the Square Armand Trousseau. These croissants were massive, much wider and taller than I had ever seen before. I had read all the online reviews that raved about their madeleines (people, I take my food research seriously) and so we also bought a four-pack of those petite cakes. Blé Sucré’s croissants were impressive. Out of all of the croissants, it was the flakiest and surprisingly had a sweet hint to it. We tried to decipher if some sugar was lightly coating the croissant or if the batter itself was sweet.
I know this is a croissant review, but I have to take a brief moment to review their madeleines. Those bad boys are the most delicious madeleines that I have ever tasted in my entire life. They are very light and fluffy and don’t have an almond taste (unlike the ones you normally find in the U.S.). The absolute clincher was the layer of sugar coating one side of the madeleine. I’m guessing that it has to be some sort of diluted sugar frosting because it actually wasn’t that sweet. BUT, that little bit of frosting added an audible crunch to the madeleine, giving some delightful texture to the moist and soft cake. The madeleines are only sold in a four pack, but you should just buy them. Trust me. You will eat them all.
After Blé Sucré, Amy and I walked ten minutes to La Pâtisserie by Cyril Lignac (24 Rue Paul Bert). His store has some beautiful pastries and I especially loved the presentation of his lemon meringue tart. Cyril Lignac’s croissant seemed like the best croissant that was well-rounded. The ends were super crispy and the middle section was not too doughy. It was buttery but still very light at the same time. I wish I had some fleur de sel in my back pocket because just a sprinkling of fresh sea salt would have made it the perfect croissant.
Amy and I were suffering from a croissant coma, but we powered through because I wanted to go to Le Moulin de Rosa (32 Rue de Turenne). Christophe had taken me to that boulangerie before and I remember thinking the croissant was good. In dire need of some digestion help, we happily walked the 30 minutes to the Marais. While walking to Le Moulin de Rosa, we passed by 28 Boulangerie (28 Boulevard Beaumarchais) and smelled the most amazing baked bread. Our pit stop did not lead to any viennoiserie revelations. It was a solid croissant but really nothing to write home about.
Finally, we arrived at our last stop, Le Moulin de Rosa. It was flaky, buttery and much better than 28 Boulangerie, but it definitely was not the best. I had to also order a financier because they make the best financiers. You can actually taste the almonds and there are trace amounts of ground almond and vanilla bean baked in.
Final Verdict: For me, it was a tie between La Pâtisserie by Cyril Lignac and Blé Sucré. I think Cyril Lignac has the best classic croissant. It seemed like the perfect combination of all of the seven croissants we tried. It had fantastic crispiness and flakiness while not being too overwhelming and heavy. If you want to try a croissant with a slight twist, Blé Sucré’s croissants really have a certain sweetness to them. Amy’s favorite croissant of the day was from Blé Sucré. The journey to Blé Sucré would be worth it just for the madeleines. I’m already plotting my next trip to the 12th arrondissement.
Do you have a favorite croissant in Paris? Please do share! I’d love to discover more boulangeries!