by Marisa Mudge
Paris… a place of myth and legend… a feast for the senses… all with a mixture of ancient magnificence and modern elegance.
There is an overt beauty within the City of Light and if you give it permission, it will capture your soul. Paris architecture elegantly tells the story of Romans, Kings, Revolutionaries and Artists. Flowing through its heart, the river Seine sings forever, crossed by its multitude of bridges.
Both the grand boulevards and the alleys hold secrets to be discovered. Paris is a moment in time for all eternity.
The first time I arrived in Paris, it was love at first sight. So much so, that the day I left, I vowed a return every year for the rest of my life. That was six years ago, and I have traveled to Paris once or twice a year ever since, promise kept.
Each trip uncovers some new wonder, but of course the one thing I search for, with every Parisian step I take… is Paris chocolate.
On this trip, I started my adventure at The Madeline, a Catholic Church in the 8th arrondissement at the end of the Rue Du Royal. If you want to walk just a short distance and still procure a substantial selection of chocolate, start here.
Begin at the Madeline, walk only a few blocks towards the opera, and I promise as a chocolate lover you will find Nirvana. Nestled among the world class boutiques and cafes that form a circle around the Madeline are three exceptional, world-class chocolatiers.
Before we start, however, I also encourage you a quick stop at La Cure Gourmand if you get the chance. Located next to Hermes, La Cure Gourmand will catch your eye, a shop filled with whimsical chocolate shapes – wine bottles, purses, tools, neck ties and more. They offer much more than chocolate, an important note, as the chocolate ranks very average, but it’s still a fun way to start your journey. Now, onto the big three chocolatiers…
The first is Patrick Roger. The window display shines, wisely one of the most striking features of the shop. What truly sets it apart? Well, let’s just say if you’ve never seen a chocolate sculpture, now’s your chance. Chocolate sculptures are rare, but consider Patrick Roger the Michelangelo of chocolate sculpters.
The sculpture theme changes, but it’s always a masterpiece. Past sculptures include The Thinker, tigers, penguins and perhaps most infamously, giant apes (yes, giant apes).
It may sound crazy, but trust me, the sculptures will quickly command your attention. Do not, however, let your amazement stop you from walking through the door. Much like a perfectly-crafted truffle that looks gorgeous on the outside, you most definitely don’t want to miss what’s on the inside.
Patrick Roger’s second floor offers a lounge, where you can admire more chocolate sculptures. The taste has not been sacrificed by the artistic endeavor. Their chocolates are luxurious. If you are a devotee of dark chocolate (who isn’t?), Patrick Roger offers tremendous flavor combinations that make for a well-balanced ganache, such as Lime, Pepper, and Earl Grey Tea just to name a few.
A Walk in the Clouds
Next up… the famous Michel Cluizel. The shop door reads “Petite Manufactue”. A French chocolatier since 1948, they craft bean-to-bar, bon bons, ice cream and classic French pastries… amazing Paris chocolate.
Although this “Petite Manufactue” has spread its sweetness across the pond to the Americas, some flavors are only available in France. The 99% plantation ganache truffle truly shines, one of the chocolate “unicorns” found in the City of Light…