Paris Picks: Chocolate and Candy
I may be in my mid 20s, but when it comes to chocolate and candy, I might as well be 5. I LOVE CHOCOLATE. I LOVE CANDY. And no one can take that away from me.
Paris is a wonderful, dangerous place for a choco/candy-holic. With so many MOFs (short for Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France) setting up shop in the capital, you’re never short of chocolate and candy specialists to choose from. Not only are they delicious, these sweets are also beautifully presented both in terms of wrapping and store decorations. Of course, malheureusement, this also translates to a higher price tag… but my hungry hippo self usually found a way to justify it and buy a little something anyway. 🙂 Below, I’ll introduce some of my favorite places to buy chocolates and candy in the City of Light (which might as well be renamed the City of Sweets).
Brace yourselves for a long post, this ended up being much longer than anticipated…
Tl;dr List (not in any ranking, except the first one, which is indeed #1 in my eyes):
- A l’Etoile d’Or – (Absolute must!!!)
- Le Bonbon au Palais
- Georges Larnicol – (Probably second favorite place, after A l’Etoile d’Or)
- Jean-Charles Rochoux
- Jean-Paul Hevin
- Patrick Roger
- La Grande Epicerie de Paris (Bon Marchés gourmet grocery)
- Your nearest neighborhood confiserie/chocolaterie or even the Monoprix/closest grocery store
30 Rue Pierre Fontaine, 75009 Paris
Take a break from Le Moulin Rouge and Sacré Coeur and visit a most magical, marvelous shop of delightful chocolates and candies from all over France. Denise Acabo, the owner, and her braided pig tails are reason enough to visit this shop. She’s so friendly and welcoming from the moment you step into her store of sweets. I can’t say my memory is super clear from our encounter, but I do remember mentioning that I first heard of her through my favorite Paris food blogger, David Lebovitz, at which point she led me (perhaps taking my arm) toward her drawer full of magazines and article clip outs that feature her store. Another memory from our little chat was how surprised she was that I spoke English so well (I was trying to assist an American tourist couple), even though I told her I’m actually American (lol). I also remember chatting with her assistant at the time, who was also Japanese (but actually from Japan). The assistant was pregnant and I vaguely recall Denise worrying about what she would do when she was away on maternity leave…
Anyway, regardless of if you speak French, I’m sure that she will welcome you with open arms and try to make conversation! She stocks modern candies as well as traditional specialty chocolates and candies from her childhood – things you won’t find in many places (ex: the Bernachon chocolate bars which aren’t sold outside of Lyon (this might have changed in the past few years…), except at L’Etoile d’Or, and the Cotignac d’Orléans, a super traditional, old-school jam/candy). If the pictures on Instagram, Yelp, or David Lebovitz’s blog are not enough, let me try to describe the magic I felt inside the store.
The moment I opened the door and walked in from the nippy outdoors, I felt a warmth both inside and out. There’s something lovely about crammed, yet meticulously displayed, shelves. What’s most touching about both Denise and her store is the amount of care that’s so obviously put into the place. She is passionate about her store, the sweets (their taste, history, variety) and her customers. She radiates joy from the moment you meet her and the way she and her assistant wrap the chocolate bars with paper and ribbon makes you forget (at least, temporarily) that you’re about to shell out a lunch worth’s euros for a bar of chocolate. From the different sweets lining her walls, you get an immediate understanding of the artisanal history of French chocolate and candy making.
If none of the above convinces you to go, I’m just going to add that it’s a really small store and I spent literally an hour walking in circles about the place because I could. not. choose. what to take home. I am generally indecisive, but I’m usually not that indecisive.
Tldr: Go for Denise. Go for the Chocolate (Bernachon or otherwise). Go for the pretty tins of candy. Go for the Cotignac d’Orléans. Go for the magical candy shop atmosphere.
19 rue Monge, 75005 Paris
Another wonderful address that I encountered thanks to Lebovitz’s blog, it’s worth a visit especially if you’re frolicking around the Arènes de Lutece, Jardin des Plantes or the Grande Mosquée de Paris. To be honest, I prefer A L’Etoile d’Or, but Bonbon au Palais is delightful in its own way. Georges, the owner, is another incredibly friendly sweets connoisseur who treats each customer (both regulars and newcomers) with care and attention. The decor is more modern, though, which is probably why Denise’s shop is more up my alley – I’m a sucker for old, traditional, vintage-y décor.
At Le Bonbon au Palais, you’ll find a large central table with a beautiful array of large apothecary jars full of various candies. They have a beautiful collection of traditional guimauves (marshmallows)! Georges carefully curates a variety of candies made in France with a long tradition. Peruse the store and find your delight!
I only went once, and I remember buying delicious honey candies. It was in the winter time, and I actually went looking for marron glacés – especially the broken bits. Unfortunately, I cannot for the life of me remember if I actually bought them, but it’s something to look for if you enjoy those delicious glazed chestnuts! 🙂
Several branches, I was always partial to the one near Saint Paul métro (14 rue de Rivoli, 75004) and Odéon métro (132 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006) respectively (probably because they were most convenient for me).
Georges Larnicol always makes the list when I give my friends recommendations on what to buy/eat in Paris. I’ll talk about their kouignettes in the Paris Picks: Pastries and Cakes edition, but for now let me tell you that their chocolates are the bomb dot com. The mussel-shapped ones in particular, are so fricken marvelous. As long as you’re not allergic to hazelnuts (and don’t have some aversion to them), I guarantee that you will adore these praliné creations. Imagine biting into a marvelously delicate, caramelized, hazelnutty crunch. It’s also super fun to bite into this realistically decorated mussel to find a sweet chocolate inside.
They always have a bunch of chocolates to choose from (I enjoyed the clusters and the apple-shaped ones, too), as well as chocolate sculptures. If you can manage to be conservative with your choices (they price by weight), you can surely indulge in a bit of Larnicol magic 😉
16 Rue d’Assas, 75006 Paris
I don’t have much to say about Jean-Charles Rochoux, except for that I went a few years ago when I was staying in an AirBnb nearby with my family during Christmas vacation (while I was studying abroad – we couldn’t stay with our host fams over break). I still rêve (dream) about their orangettes – dark chocolate covered candied orange peel slices. They were perfect, although I remember them being pricier than I hoped.
I also distinctly remember cute little teddy bear-shaped mini chocolate sculptures. As with Georges Larnicol and Patrick Roger, these chocolate shops are fun even to just window shop/browse. Beautifully crafted sculptures that I’d feel a bit sad for eating anyway 🙂
Several branches, I went to the one near Église Saint-Sulpice. 4 Place Saint-Sulpice, 75006 Paris
Patrick Roger is known for his amazing chocolate sculptures. His boutique windows are always full of funny/cute/crazy animals and themes. Another MOF, obviously the chocolates themselves taste amazing, too. The tablettes come in a chic metal box – and I can’t help but think that a lot of the cost is presentation… I only bought their chocolate once, but it was delicious!
[Umm I finally realized that I could just copy and paste Instagram pictures on here…]
I mainly stick to window browsing when it comes to Patrick Roger, but definitely worth a visit.
Also several branches, I went to the one near school, which was at 3 rue Vavin, 75006 Paris
When I think of Jean-Paul Hevin, I just think of wonderful dark chocolate aromas. My first taste of Jean-Paul Hevin came in the form of some of their chocolate macarons (which were delicious). I feel like this is one of the (aethetically) more minimalist of the higher end chocolatiers, which is probably why I like them. You’ll find several shops across Paris (as well as in Japan and Taiwan).
30 rue d’Auteuil, 75016 Paris
A lovely, traditional chocolate shop, located in the 16th arrondissement. This was close to my host family and was also the location of one of our cohort excursions when I was studying abroad. I love that their branding is orange – a nice pop of color in a Parisian world of subtler hues.
They have a range of chocolate goods, from truffles to chocolate bars, and you’ll be sure to find something great! It’s also nice to get out of the center of the city and explore some of the other neighborhoods. This one (the 16th) is bougie, to be sure, but you’ll find pleasant areas for strolling and wandering! You’re also relatively near the Maison de Balzac (house/museum of the famous 19th century writer), Musée Marmottan (a quiet museum featuring early works of Monet, among other things) and Nana-Ya (a wonderful Japanese lunch/take-out place).
38 rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris
Basically an emporium of delicious, bougie goodness. Expect to find a wide variety of mostly higher-end chocolates, candies, teas, coffees, cute sugar cubes, cookies from around France (and the world), as well as a wide variety of ready made foods and baked goods. The gourmet grocery of the shmancy Le Bon Marché department store, it’s a wonderful place to find gifts for folks back home as well as lunch/dinner if you don’t feel like going out or cooking.
Of course, things are pricey here, so don’t shop for something that you could easily buy at franprix or monoprix at a much better price. Look around for specialty items that are a reasonable amount of euros (like the Macarons de Joyeuse, for example, which goes for about 7 or 8 euros for 20 scrumptious cookies).
Your neighborhood shop/supermarket
From Franprix to Monoprix to whatever shop is around the corner
Quite frankly, you don’t even have to go to the shmancy places listed above to get some yummy treats. Whether it’s the chocolate sold at your corner boulangerie/patisserie or the chocolates in the aisles at monoprix, there are some delicious treats just calling out your name!
Although it’s not actually French, I’m partial to the Kinder Bueno bar. So. Fricken. Addicting. I admit to inserting many too many euros in the vending machines at métro stations… No shame. 🙂
Phew! That was a lot! I’d love to hear about your favorite chocolate and candy shops in Paris 🙂 Leave any comments or questions below!