This year I have been on the hunt for the best croissant in Paris which originally started the post titled "The Paris Agenda" It took a lot of research and I tried a lot more croissants than I imagined I ever would. This is all my own opinion so your favorite croissant may not have made my list but feel free to comment below and share.
When I was working on my "research" of taste testing croissants I wanted to come up with certain criteria. I prefer my croissant buttery, a little flakey, and not too dry. You can order your croissant just as you can your baguette either bien cuite (well cooked) or pas trop cuite (not too cooked).
I asked a few of my Parisian friends for their favorite croissant in Paris. While I did get the insider tips, they asked me not to tell! Not everyone shares their favorite boulangerie, it is something that is held sacred.
Here are a few pointers when seeking out a good croissant in Paris.
1. Make sure you order a croissant au beurre. The other option is croissant ordinaire. You will be able to tell a difference just by looking. The big difference is in the taste.
2. Time of Day. Be mindful when you are ordering your croissant at the Boulangerie. I have had bad luck first thing in the morning 6 am, and much better luck around 9 am for a warm fresh one right out of the oven. It makes all the difference! You can also try around 4 pm during the children's goûter hour. If you order a croissant around 11/12 they are most likely going to be more dry from sitting out for a few hours.
5. Boulangerie Onfroy : 34 Rue de Saintonge
This one makes the list but it can be hit or miss. You will see it is a hole in the wall Boulangerie tucked away on a side street. I tried the croissant three times. Two out of three were fresh and hot right out of the oven and were the most amazing croissant. The third which was not hot was not so great. But overall it still makes the list as a place you should stop, but don't go out of your way.
4. Boulangerie Moderne Rabineau - 16 Rue des Fosses St Jacques
I was surprised to find this at my coffee spot in the Marais, Au Petit Fer a Cheval. I don't typically order croissants in bars but my bartender Didier offered and I was tempted. I was pleasantly surprised and stopped to ask where they were from. There is a boulangerie next door but he told me that it wasn't from there. He gave me the ticket from the boulangerie order in the morning so I could have the exact address.
3. Blé Sucré - 7 Rue Antoine Vallon
I have heard about Blé Sucré for a while but I never made it there until this trip. It is very close to the Aligre market so you can stop here before or after. I was visiting my friend Erin who lives nearby so we grabbed a few of each to taste test back at her house. The dough is sweeter than most croissants you will find in Paris but this makes it unique. I would love to try one warm which I have yet to do. I did go back this past trip and they were sold out very early on a Saturday and had no plans to make more so keep this in mind when scheduling your visit.
2. Du Pain et des Idées - 34 Rue Yves Toudic
This is a must visit! They are known for their escargot croissants which have various flavors such as pistache chocolat, praliné, and fruits rouge. Over the course of the month I tried a few different croissants. They were all delicious and very flakey. You can sit right outside and eat them on the bench or take it to go. They just started serving coffee but you can also pop by Holy Belly for takeaway. Please Note: They are closed on the weekend so plan accordingly.
1. Maison Landemaine 28 Beaumarchais
I have talked about this boulangerie a lot over the years. I stumbled upon it on my walk back in 2013 and the lines were out the door so I had to try it. I have been going ever since. I believe the ownership has changed over the years but I haven't noticed a change in the quality of items. I love their torsadee baguette. This past trip I grabbed a quick croissant and I had a meeting across town so I threw it in my bag for later. I hate eating on the go in Paris but I needed something before being tied up for few hours. I pulled out my croissant which you will see in the actual photo got smashed but it stopped me in my tracks. It was so perfect between the butter, flakes, and flavor.
I discovered my favorite pain au chocolat back in 2012 when I was in Montmartre. Le Grenier à Pain, 38 Rue Des Abbesses (closed Tuesday and Wednesday) I still pop in when I am in the neighborhood and it doesn't disappoint. I will say I think they are more on the bien cuite side with their baking, you will see this with their baguettes too.
An interesting read: A French Baker's Crusade to Save The Genuine Croissant in France
Stay tuned for my favorite croissant in Chicago and NYC.