Pink, gold, green, yellow, brown…It’s like being outside a jewelry store, except that these colorful gems are not earrings. No, this is a patisserie, and those cakes you are eyeing happen to be the best macarons in Paris.
No one knows for sure where they first came from. Some say Italy, and others claim they have their origins in the Far East. The more nationalistic among the French point to Nancy, Montmorillon, Rheims, or even Melun. Originally they were made as a small ball of almond pastry, not unlike a candy. But all of that was before.
The macaron everyone is talking about these days is 100 percent Parisian. Back in 1830, its appearance changed: Two shells were brought together by a flavored ganache to create a single cake. You are in debt to the famous pastry chefs at Ladurée and the Gerbet family for bringing about this revolution. Less than 200 years later and the macaron continues unstoppable as its wonderful flavors conquer everything in its path. Savory or sweet, nothing can stop it now.
You find them all over Paris. All the bakeries in the capital sell them, but to savor the pleasure of the best macarons in Paris—and you must take the time, as this is not simply a quick snack—you need to make your way to the Left Bank. In the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, following the former footsteps of Sartre and Beauvoir, turn into Rue Bonaparte, and walk toward the Church of Saint-Sulpice. There, at No. 72, you find the doors to heaven: This is Pierre Hermé.
It’s no accident that macarons are the best in Paris. Pierre Hermé comes from a line of pâtissiers that goes back four generations. He learned his trade at Gaston Lenôtre, Fauchon, and Ladurée, no less. His talent is also his passion. In his hands, the macaron has become something else—he has reinvented almond pastry. A simple piece of confectionery has turned into pastry making at the highest level.
When you have one of Pierre Hermé’s macarons in front of you, you don’t just have a sweet tooth anymore, but suddenly you become a connoisseur. And how could anyone resist the temptation? Hermé has a dozen different flavors to try on the permanent and seasonal menus, and each one is more intoxicating than the next: Mogador, Médélice, Citron et Praliné, Rose et Coing, Infiniment Chocolat, Infiniment Rose, Crème Brulée. Where to start?
Don’t hesitate. Bite into one of those pretty little macarons and let it fizz and crackle in your mouth. Feel it melt and let the subtle flavors wash over your taste buds with sublime delicacy. It’s sweet, sensual, unique, and a moment of sheer pleasure—a promise of more to come, as you sample more choices. It’s a Pierre Hermé: one of the best macarons in Paris.