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Did you read that popular diet book written by a French woman who suggests a bit of dark chocolate every afternoon helps you stay skinny? Well If there was ever a better time to believe her, or those other studies that say a bit of chocolate is good for your heart, then a trip to Paris is it.
There is too much that is good about chocolate to feel any guilt here. Throughout France chocolate is as sacred as wine or cheese; a culinary art that is deeply respected and appreciated. There is even a small museum dedicated to it!
Though you can buy chocolate on nearly every block in Paris, you want to buy the best of the best, to give yourself an experience that will transport you to another place. Some of the chocolate shops are old institutions dating back to the early 1800s, following generations of family recipes and closely guarded secrets, while others were launched more recently and have a flair for the contemporary, whether in their décor or their use of ingredients.
They all have international reputations now, but always, these master chocolate makers offer pure goodness and only the best quality products. This is high-end chocolate where the origin of the bean and methods of production are highly valued and essential to the results.
In France, when it comes to food, generally people love to engage in conversation about the origin, style, and flavor of whatever it is they are serving, and this should be the case with these shops listed below:
La Maison du Chocolat:
A classic Paris institution and now a worldwide name, La Maison du Chocolat, continues to create an excellent range of chocolates, from pure ganache, or salty caramel fillings, to Asian spice infused squares to the standard bars dotted with dried fruit or nuts.
In case you forgot a gift for someone, you can find a stand at Charles De Gaulle Airport as well for last minute gifts! www.lamaisonduchocolat.fr/en/
- Carrousel du Louvre, 99 Rue de Rivoli 75001
- 19 Rue de Sevres 75007
- 8 Boulevard de la Madeleine 75008
The original Foucher chocolate shop opened in 1819 on rue de Bac in the 7th arrondissement, across from the legendary Le Bon Marche department store, and it still remains, just a step away at 134, rue de Bac.
Known for their chocolate as much as for the beautiful Art Nouveau designs that adorn their delicacies, Foucher was one of the first French chocolate companies to make an international reputation. A great gift idea for the mother-in-law or work friend who has a romantic streak. The beautiful, vintage-like packing is classic French. www.chocolat-foucher.com
- Boutique and tearoom: 134, rue du Bac, 75007
- Boutique only: 30 Avenue de l’Opera, 75002
Á la Mère de Famille:
Started in 1760 by Pierre Jean Bernard, à la Mère du Famille is one of Paris’s oldest shops. It received praise from the famous Grimod de la Reynière, who was one of the first food critics, starting an Almanac of Gourmands in 1810.
This solidified the reputation of the company, which was passed down through generations of family members as it grew internationally. It remains a family business today, with contemporary additions such as an e-boutique and cooking classes. www.lameredefamille.com
- 82, Rue Montorgueil, 75002
- 23, rue Rambuteau, 75004
- 39, Rue du Cherche Midi, 75006
- 70, Rue Bonaparte, 75006
- 47, Rue Cler, 75007
- 35, Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009
- 59, Rue de la Pompe, 75016
- 107, Rue Jouffroy d’Abbans, 75017
The contemporary innovators
With his metal, glass and warm wood interiors, Genin altered the traditional look of chocolate shops. If you visit Paris in the winter, then you must visit the Marais location with its tea room for one of their extraordinary hot chocolate (chocolat chaud).
Yes, you will probably wait in line and it costs 10 euros, but trust me, it is worth it! While you wait, stroll over to their boutique and buy some of their basil or Tonka bean chocolate squares. And have a look upstairs at the chocolate laboratory, the heart of the operation. www.jacquesgenin.fr
- 133 rue de Turene, 75003
- 27 rue de Varenne, 75007
Alain Ducasse Le Chocolat:
Internationally renowned chef, Alain Ducasse, has three small chocolate shops in Paris. A great place to find gifts, including the 45-piece discovery boxes, hot chocolate mix, and the incredible Chocolate Box, which consists of a huge, thick block of chocolate that comes in a wooden tray with wooden mallet to break it into pieces.
Ducasse is known for his 5-starred and extremely expensive restaurants in Las Vegas, Hong Kong and New York, so this is truly a chocolate as luxury experience. www.lechocolat-alainducasse.com/en/
- 26 rue Saint Benoit, 76006
- 40 rue de la Roquette, 75011- where you can tour the laboratory
- 9 rue du Marché Saint-Honoré 75001
Jean-Paul Hévin came to Paris from the French countryside and instantly began working among the current culinary leaders of the time including Joel Robuchon. He was entrusted to open a chocolate shop in Japan for a large hotel and encounter with Japanese traditions and ingredients inspired his career.
Returning to Paris in the 1980s when he would soon open his own set of chocolate shops, chocolate bars and chocolate cellars, as he refers to them, with a string of stores across Asia as well. If you like hot chocolate, you may want to buy his book titled Chocolate Chaud, with over 40 recipes and tips for making the perfect cup. www.jeanpaulhevin.com
- 231 rue Saint-Honoré, 75001
- 41 rue de Bretagne, 75003
- 3 rue Vavin, 75006
- Lafayette Gourmet- Galeries Lafayette, 35 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009
Though Pierre Marcolini is technically Belgian, this chocolate maker has become an international name. With a very contemporary aesthetic, Marcolini made his mark by promoting his “from Bean to Bar” philosophy, underscoring his relationship to small-scale chocolate producers and the use of single bean varieties. eu.marcolini.com
- 89 rue de Seine, 75006
- 3 rue Scribe, 75009
- 235 rue Saint-Honoré, 75001
Henri Le Roux:
If caramel is your thing, then a visit to a Henri Le Roux boutique is a must. Le Roux studied chocolate and candy making in Switzerland and worked for a time in Paris before returning to his native Bretagne, in the northwest coast of France to open his own shop in the late 1970s.
Looking to create something different he came up with the idea of using salted butter, an ingredient that Bretagne is famous for, as a sweet, quickly coming up with salted butter caramel, which understandably became an instant international success and a registered trademark (CBS for Caramel au Beurre Salé or Salted Butter Caramel). www.chocolatleroux.eu/
- 1 rue de Bourbon le Chateau, 75006
- 52 rue Saint-Dominique, 75007
- 24 rue des Martyrs, 75009
Á l’Étoile d’Or:
Though opened in the latter half of the last century, Á l’Étoile d’Or is a Paris institution due in part to the generous and one of a kind owner, Denise Acabo. An intimate shop with old wood cabinets and glass vitrines which hold a selection of the best pralines, caramels (Henri le roux), and jellies, many wrapped in gorgeous, printed papers, but it is her refined selection of chocolate bars that steals the show.
Focusing on makers who promote the bean to bar philosophy, Á l’Étoile d’Or is one of the only places in Paris to find the exclusive, Lyon based Bernachon chocolate bars. Her friendly and helpful approach makes it feel as though you’ve stepped back in time and she will guide you through the shop offering suggestions and often a free sample or two to help with any decisions. The shop recently re-opened in 2015 after a gas explosion in the building’s basement destroyed most of the shop and inventory. No website.
- 30 rue Pierre Fontaine, 75009
Located on the lively and famous market street, rue Mouffetard, in the 5th, Moocha is a different sort of chocolate shop. More of a curated
collection rather solo show, Moocha was opened by Marie-Helene Gantois with idea of creating a unique and engaging experience around chocolate. The shop offers a range of creations by several French master chocolate makers and you can select items from each one to create your own individual box.
The shop and website offers information about each chocolatier, to give an insider’s look into their work. In addition to the ongoing selection, Gantois features seasonal specialties, including hot chocolate in the winter and ice cream in the summer, and she offers special workshops, tastings and events throughout the year. http://www.chocolatsmococha.com/
- 89 rue Mouffetard, 75005
And if you love tasty treats, you must try our Ultimate Chocolate Family Tour! yummy!
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