Master baker Eric Kayser has shops all over the city—and in such far-flung destinations as Dakar and Tokyo. The original location, opened in 1996, is in the 5th Arrondissement, and still showcases walls of extraordinary, naturally leavened, open-hearth-baked breads, including crusty, chewy baguettes that are considered some of the best in Paris. There are also divine buttery croissants, seasonal pastries like a lemon bichon (caramelized flaky pastry filled with lemon cream) and simple, savory items available for takeout, including a textbook-perfect ham and Emmental cheese sandwich. maison-kayser.com
The original 1862 Ladurée shop has a gloriously baroque interior, with 19th-century wood paneling and wall frescoes decorated with angels. The delicate, airy macarons here stick to conventional flavors like vanilla, pistachio and cassis. Among Ladurée’s other stellar baked goods: a knockout pain au chocolat aux amande that combines flaky pastry with dark chocolate and green almond paste. laduree.fr
Pierre Hermé, a fourth-generation baker who was the wizard behind the pastries at Fauchon, opened his first store in Paris in 2002 in Saint-Germain. Most come for the exquisite macarons, meringue sandwich cookies in flavors that range from pure Venezuelan dark chocolate to the shock-pink ispahan, made with rose, lychee and raspberry. pierreherme.com
The puckery lemon tart and whole-apple tarte Tatin at Fabrice Le Bourdat’s out-of-the-way shop are an incredible deal for the quality.
Borrowing a restaurant technique, Guy Savoy protégé Hugues Pouget assembles each caramel mille-feuille and triangular passion fruit tartlet to order.
The pastries all arrive by dumbwaiter at this swank pastry shop and tearoom. Highlights include updated classics, like a wheel-shaped cream puff Paris-Brest with a soft praline heart.
A Paris Star Baker: Rebel Boulanger Gontran Cherrier
In the mid-2000s, pastry chefs with restaurant résumés began opening fantastic shops in off-the-beaten-track locales. One of the most popular of these neo-boulangers is Gontran Cherrier, 32, a shaggy-haired TV chef and author fond of playing with flavors that would shock the old guard, from squid ink to cumin.
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Cherrier comes from three generations of bakers—his father and grandfather spent decades making a small roster of classic breads in little local bakeries. After learning the family business, Cherrier went to cooking school, worked in high-end kitchens (Lucas Carton, L’Arpège) and now has a trendsetting bakery (left) that’s seasonal, experimental and totally unpredictable.