There are many musts while visiting the city of lights: take a boat tour on the Seine, get lost in the Louve, have a glass of Chateau while taking in the view of the Eiffel Tower. As breathtaking as the sights of the French capital are, there are other just as notable, and much more appetizing, aspects as well.
While strolling down Champs-Élysées you will be surrounded by endless shops and cafes. The Arc de Triomphe, positioned perfectly at the street’s end, draws tourists away from the street’s bustle for a photo op with the historic monument. But before you head for the glorious Arc, it is important to take note of the subtle mint-green awning to your left. The simple, gold lettering across the front reads, “Ladurée,” but more appropriately should just say “Dessert Heaven.”
Some walk into Ladurée to sit down for a cup of tea, but with the gluttonous display of baked goods staring me in the face I become quite ravenous, quite quickly. Little cards delicately placed among the selections. Millefeuilles, Le Divin, L’Ispahan… all of these French names with no meaning to me only make them more appealing. I ponder the mystery of ingredients. What is in the center of that puffy little pastry? Is it cream? Is it fruit? Is it just more puffy pastry? I don’t know, so I must know. So I point to the unknown and when the cute French girl lifts the round little wonder I nod my head in excitement. At 5.50 Euros a pop I try to think economically but how can I when my eyes are playing tricks on my mind, my stomach, and my wallet.
Pastry after pastry, cake after cake, decadent little chocolate after decadent little chocolate, the display at Ladurée is endless and each option is more tantalizing than the last. As I slowly make my way up the line of tourists gawking and pointing frantically over the glass, I finally arrive at the cashier, exhausted and eager. Quickly I learn that whether you choose an artistically crafted little cake or a variety of flavors of macaroon (the rose is unexpectedly delicious) you will be more than pleased.
And so, it is due to my pure amazement of French desserts that whenever someone asks what I recommend they add to their Parisian itinerary, the answer is always the same. While in Paris, eat cake.