The best croissant in Paris

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If I had a nickle every time someone asked me where to find the best croissant in Paris.  My answer goes like this: the best croissant in Paris is simply a good one within sleep-walking distance of where you happen to be staying.  Think about it, croissant is best eaten with your breakfast beverage of choice, preferably before your eyes open properly.  With its perfect mix of crisp, soft, buttery, sweet, and savory (from a judicious addition of salt), a croissant as the first mouthful is a perfect omen for the rest of your day.  A croissant in the middle of the afternoon simply isn’t the same.

What I usually do when I find myself in a new apartment or hotel in Paris is scout the neighborhood (online and on foot) for a few nice looking places, and then hold my own croissant taste-test to find the one I like the most, as I said, within a sleep walking distance from my bed.  The winner of my taste off is where I go every day, half asleep, for my morning fix.

Then, one severely jetlag day a little over a week ago changed all that.  I found myself up before five in the morning without anything to do.  A few googling strokes on the keyboard later, I found myself on the old, craggy line 4 métro heading down toward Porte d’Orleans.  My destination?  Le meilleur croissant de Paris as christened by Concours du Meilleur Croissant, Ville de Paris 2007. 

This is Paris, so of course they take their croissants and their baguettes (and plenty other edible stuff) very seriously.  Winning one of these competition is quite a feat, and I simply had to give it a try.

The boulangerie, named after the chef, Frédéric Comyn, is at the edge of Paris by Porte d’Orleans.  It’s not as far as you think though,  Line 4 goes directly there, and it’s not that many stops from Saint Germain de Près, where you’ll likely be shopping or lining up for Pierre Hermé’s macarons later. 

So there I was, dead tired but oddly awake with jetlag, sitting in the shaky métro with all manners of odd characters barely after 6 in the morning.  At the end of the line, I got out onto the big boulevard Brune, where the fancy new tram lines run, then turned on rue Friants.  As I marched with a purpose down the street looking for the shop, I ran into a figure in chef’s white walking down the street carrying a basket with newly baked baguettes and a few other delicious looking things.  It’s the chef, going to the cafe down the road to deliver his morning goods.  I was clearly on the right track.

I continued down the road and found a small, not particularly distinctive looking boulangerie on the street not far from where I ran into the chef.  It was so early I was alone in the store, and the shelves were barely half full of stuff, but the intoxicating perfume already filled the space.  The breads looked fine if not anything special.  The few pastries look better.  But there was no croissant in sight!  What, I came all this way for naught!?  I was getting a little agitated.

The I heard footsteps behind me, it’s the guy in chef’s white returning from his delivery run.  "Can I help you?", he asked.  I said of course, and told him I came all the way for the best croissant in Paris.  But I didn’t see any, I protested, getting a little agitated.  He smiled, a zen, no-worries-all-is-well-in-the-world sort of smile, and walked behind the counter and into the back.  He returned a mere moment later, heady scents rushed before him, with a tray full of croissants, so fresh out of the oven it left a faint trail of vapor behind.  Now that’s what I came out here for, I thought.

He asked how many I’d like.  I stared at the tray, mesmerized, trying to think for a minute: there’s David waiting at the hotel, and a couple special friends also staying there.  Six, I said, to take away.  That should do, j’en veux six.  Oh, yes, s’il vous plaît.  And an extra one for RIGHT NOW, because, I mean, how could I possibly resist!

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Boy, was it good.  Perfectly shaped.  Crisp and crumbly where it’s supposed to be.  Cloud-soft, but elastic enough to put up a tiny resistance as I bit into it.  So perfectly flaky it extended like an accordian as I pulled it apart.  Boy, was it perfect.

Mind you, it was barely seven in the morning.  Mind you, I was in half alert half slumber state of jetlag.  Mind me, it’s one of the best croissants I’ve ever had. 

I brought the other six back to the hotel, coddling the content inside the tissue-thin paper bag like a newly found kitten.  David ate one and pronounced them perfect, even Paula who wasn’t in the mood for anything "heavy" had one.  Traci polished hers off without saying a word: I think that meant it’s pretty darn good.  I ate a second one too, that made four.  What happened to the two others you asked?  Don’t ask me, I admit to nothing.


Frédéric Comyn
Boulanger, Pâtissier, Chocolatier

27, rue Friant

75014 Paris. Tél. 01 45 45 21 54. (closed Monday and Tuesday)

p.s. The one in the picture on top of the post had a minor flaw.  You can see the little white streak on one side.  I’m not sure if it’s the same thing in croissants, but if this were a baguette it would be called baisé (in English, well, it’s f*cked), which means they were baked just a tiny bit too close to each other and the side didn’t get brown properly.  It’s not that big a deal though, still tasted pretty darn good to me.

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  • JB in San Diego

    First time on your blog, heard about in on Adam’s Amateur Gourmet site. Excellent writing – I used to live in France and appreciate your perspective. But your headline threw me at first; I thought, “oh, hyperbole in a blog again.” But you quickly acknowledged that in your opening paragraph and removed the fear that you were eliminating all the other boulangeries in Paris. Thanks for the virtual croissant. I’d like a perfect pain-au-chocolat next, please.

  • http://caseyellis.blogspot.com Casey

    Mouth-watering post.

  • http://breadchick.com breadchick

    Ah, only 4 stops from my home base whenever I’m in Paris! I’ve just put this on my list for my September visit.

  • http://angoulvant.net/blog Stéphane

    That looks like a tasty croissant. If anyone ever mentions “croissant sandwiches” I will promptly refer them to that second picture of yours. A croissant like that one would simply deflate if you tried to cut it horizontally. I’ve gone on this rant too many times…

  • http://www.nordljus.co.uk/ keiko

    Pim, this looks/sounds SO good – must make sure to try some next trip over! Let me know if you’re coming to London, hope you’re enjoying a lovely summer. kxx

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com Tartelette

    Looks wonderful! I have a little love story with the “croissant aux amandes” of Au 140 boulangerie. I just can’t eat them slow enough!

  • http://www.missginsu.com MissGinsu

    Oh, how I’d love to double-check on your croissant findings for accuracy! My mouth waters at the thought of it. Many thanks for the vicarious thrill.
    We sought out a recent winner of the “finest baguette in Paris” judging last autumn and it was definitely worth the trek. (Photo here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/missginsu/1460010024/)
    I’d kill for their oven-fresh Chausson aux Pommes right about now.

  • http://www.fledglingfood.blogspot.com johanna

    yum yum. i really rate pierre hermé’s croissants – used to live on place st sulpice, was most convenient! his pain au chocolat are also delicieux aussi!

  • http://zigzackly.blogspot.com/ Peter

    I’m on a diet. I shouldn’t be here! I so badly want a good croissant.

  • http://theendivechronicles.com/ Erin

    There is really nothing better than waking up to a well made croissant and a good cup of coffee.

  • http://www.sundaydish.typepad.com Erinn

    This post is like one of my favorite day dreams. Something about eating bread, of any kind, whilst in Paris, just sends me into spasms of joy. I’m impressed by your restraint in not eating the remaining ones on your way back to your hotel! Thanks for this post which makes me want to run away to Paris, this instant.

  • Mark

    Then there’s Bread and Roses, close to Gertrude Stein’s house.

  • http://www.syrupandtang.com/ Duncan | Syrup&Tang

    {sob}… Looks and sounds delightful. That feeling when a fresh tray is brought out is so wonderful. Except when there are three people in front of you and the first one says “I’ll have twenty please”. That’s when the rest of the queue gasps, huffs, then slinks off round the corner to mug the first guy as he walks away with his overladen bag of beauties.

  • http://www.cavolettodibruxelles.it sigrid

    Actually, on my last – business – trip to paris, I skipped breakfast in my av. foch hotel every morning, hopped on the tube and went to rue bonaparte, grabbed a croissant at pierre hermé and then ordered an orange juice at café de saint sulpice :-) Should I feel guilty about this?? :-) )
    ps: oh, and the year befor I had an appartment just in front of Aoki and I must say that his croissants are great too :-) )

  • Jimmy-in-Seattle

    Pimmy…Just thought I’d check to see if you’re there yet – Hooooray! You are off to a good start. Your writing is so inspired when you are there. It’s sooo completely different. Maybe you’ll live there one of these days. You could be the new Patty Wells of your generation…..I know you’ll be eating at three-star places. I just hope you’ll start looking for some new Bistros baby. I wouldn’t blame you if you went back to L’Entredgeu. I did a few months ago, and it was really “fu*king” good!… Don’t forget your ‘ol fan base…Happy hunting my dear……..Jimmy-in-Seattle

  • http://www.rasamalaysia.com Rasa Malaysia

    All Pâtissier in Paris are much better than the ones here…doesn’t even have to Google in my opinion, still better than what we have here. Sigh!

  • http://lespetitpois.blogspot.com Shira

    Welcome back to Paris! Did this croissant far outrank Herme’s? I cycled over to have one this morning and found it superlative. Though as you say, Porte de Versailles isn’t really so far…
    Shira

  • Cheryl

    Those do look good! Croissants aren’t French, though… they’re Austrian. They were invented to celebrate an Austrian victory over the Ottomans in 1683, which is why they’re shaped like little crescents. People just think they’re French because the name in English was borrowed from the French word, rather than the German one, which is Kipfel. Plus, the French like them. But the croissant didn’t arrive in France until Marie Antoinette, the Austrian princess, married the French king and wanted them for breakfast. :)

  • http://www.chezus.com Chez US

    I completely agree! We do the same when we are in Paris …. the last time our apartment was on top of the bakery, what a fantastic to way to wake up. I always knew it was 530 am when I could smell the first batch coming out of the oven!

  • http://mise-en-space.blogspot.com Leigh

    can’t wait til the next time i’m in paris to go to ce boulanger and get one of these. that is the most gorgeous croissant i’ve ever seen in that picture!!!

  • fin

    FANTASTIC IDEA !!! When I go (which is rare) I will try to find these cute places.

  • fin

    FANTASTIC IDEA !!! When I go (which is rare) I will try to find these cute places.

  • http://sunnypetropoullakis.blogspot.com Sunny

    I am booking my tickets now.

  • http://chefectomy.blogspot.com/ Chefectomy

    Hi Pim,
    I just found your site from Evil Chef Mom’s. I absolute love Paris, my favorite city in the world and this post was wonderful. Amazing how a story about a croissant can lift the spirit. I had croissant ancienne at La Duree in November. Thanks for your post and your blog.
    –Marc

  • http://manolofood.com Mr. Henry

    It’s nickel, darling Pim, not “nickle” that you wish you had. xxx

  • http://monkey-foodanddesign.blogspot.com/ monkey

    I’m traveling to NYC soon. Any idea where the best croissant in the city is?
    I fell in love with the sucre brioche while in Provence. It’s a brioche made in kinda the shape of an eclair, topped off with crunchy sugar.

  • http://monkey-foodanddesign.blogspot.com/ monkey

    I’m traveling to NYC soon. Any idea where the best croissant in the city is?
    I fell in love with the sucre brioche while in Provence. It’s a brioche made in kinda the shape of an eclair, topped off with crunchy sugar.

  • narendra

    Pim,
    In 1994, my son had woken me up at 0400 am and persuaded me to go to a neighborhood bakery, to taste freshly baked Pau (Portugese Goan bread). I always had great memories of this incident, aromas of fresh bread straight out of the oven, and feel/taste.
    While I read your blog, I am delighted, once again.
    I cant write though, for nuts!

  • Melanie

    I want a croissant right now–maybe even two–I agree with you–the best is closest to your home and morning wake up with a great coffee

  • http://www.perfumesofparis.net Hugo boss perfumes

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention – I’ve reviewed it myself now. A very enjoyable read

  • Israel Gadelha

    Ola meu nome e Israel sou brasieliro moro no Rio de Janeiro Brazil gostei do seu blog ele da um sabor especial a nossa imaginaçao a distancia.

  • http://www.farklitakip.com telefon dinleme

    thank you for your article. really i find it….

  • http://www.FiveStarButter.com Clint Arthur

    You might want to check out this video on Croissants by Gregory Gourreau at Payard Patisserie at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. He makes the The Best Croissant.

  • http://www.filmchepassione.blogspot.com vincent

    hi, i want learn how you make croissant..i are italian and very stupid nobody in italy know the really croissant…i want make for open a warehouse and sell in italy i don t work in this moment..please can you help me? can you answer my email..thank you for life if you help me…i have really need!!!

  • http://spacemoneysystem2010.blogspot.com/ vincent

    sorry oops…my email bank90@libero.it

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7GYOOS7LBNEK6LVCSYWGWNJOPA gdadl

    Well that was a completely arrogant and useless article. How about got to X (whatever X is), as this is the place that I like.

  • AngColette

    Thank you for a very informative post Cheryl, *MindBlown!

    I also agree with the best ones being the closest ones, the bread in Paris was so good, we even enjoyed a ham and cheese sandwich inside the Louvre!

  • Ruth Lieu

    I’m going to Paris for work in two weeks. This will be so handy.