Dining

12 Parisian Pastries to Add to Your Must-Try List

Head to the City of Lights with confidence in your pâtisserie-naming skills
Photo: Tasting Table

There’s no decision paralysis like the one brought on by a case full of meticulously crafted French pastries. Having to choose one on the spot is hard enough, but if you don't know your éclair from your fraisier, the experience can be less than sweet. Use this pâtisserie breakdown before your next trip to Paris and show off your pastry smarts.

Éclair

Crafted from baked choux dough and stuffed with cream, these ganache-topped treats are beloved by locals and tourists alike. Common flavors include chocolate, coffee and pistachio, though if a speculoos option comes your way, don’t let it pass you by.

Crème Brûlée

This quintessential dessert is comprised of thick vanilla custard topped with caramelized sugar. Cool in the center and warm on top, the variety of temperatures and textures creates a serious sensory overload.

 
 
 
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Tarte Tatin

Think of this one as apple pie gone to culinary school. It's usually made with apples, but the fruit is sometimes swapped for pears or prune.

Fraisier 

This simple strawberry cake is layered with alternating levels of cream, fruit and cake. It's light, airy and perfect as a midday summer treat.

 
 
 
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Opéra

Coffee addicts and chocolate lovers take note: Crafted from layered sponge cake, chocolate ganache and coffee buttercream, this pâtisserie checks all the boxes.

Mille-feuille

Literally translated to 'thousand layers,' this classic French pastry is true to its name. Paper-thin layers of puff pastry alternate with layers pastry cream, and you might find powdered sugar or cocoa powder dusted on top.

Paris-Brest

This delight gets its name from the famous French bicycle race between Paris and Brest during the late 19th century, as the dessert is shaped like a bicycle wheel. It's two round choux pastries loaded with praline-flavored pastry cream and topped with powdered sugar.

 
 
 
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Canelé

Typical of the Bordeaux region, these spongy treats have a soft custard-like center, flavored with vanilla and rum.

Saint-Honoré

Born in Paris back in 1847, this showstopper is comprised of pastry cream puffs loaded with vanilla pastry cream, chantilly cream and caramel.

Chouquette

These 16th century sweets were invented by the pastry chef of Catherine de Medici and have since been a staple at Parisian snack hours. They're soft, light and topped with crunchy pearl sugar.

 
 
 
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Baba au Rhum

This small cake is soaked in rum and topped with whipped cream. Perfect for cake happy hour.

Macaron

The classic cookie needs no introduction. Macarons are most commonly made from two meringues separated by a thin layer of ganache or jam, available in countless flavors.

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