Naturally, one can’t come to Paris and not try macarons, especially if you’re a dessert fiend like me. Maracons are easily accessible in almost every corner of Paris from everyday cafes to speciality stores. Two of the most well-known brands specialising in macarons are Ladurée and Pierre Hermé. Both have a strong fanbase but I’m curious to see if there is a substantial difference between the two.
Having landed my first day in Paris, I didn’t want to stroll too far to get my macaron fix and conveniently enough, there was a Ladurée store within a reasonable walking distance. Ladurée is very classically decorated with pastel colours and gives the impression of the quintessential Parisian pâtisserie. The line up wasn’t too bad as I only waited 15 minutes. During that duration, I picked up a small pamphlet to decide which flavours I wanted. The flavour options were the traditional vanilla, chocolate, etc and the macarons tended to sport one flavour, maximum two. I ended up choosing the pistachio and salted caramel macarons.
A historic monument in its own right, Ledoyen is also one of the oldest restaurants in Paris. Although famous today, the origins of Ledoyen started out as a humble country inn on the outskirts of Paris in 1779. Gradually over time it was turned into a restaurant and moved to its current location. Though it’s located off the famous Champs-Élysées in Paris’ 8th arrondissement, the discrete location is nearly impossible to spot unless you are actively seeking it.
In terms of ambience, Ledoyen is a stark contrast to Le Cinq. The overall theme seems to be minimalist and classic. Here, you will not find ornate chandeliers or over the top luxuriousness like that of Le Meurice. Instead, its charm lies in its modesty and tumultuous history. Though now a quiet and quaint pavilion, this was once a place where French high society threw lavish parties and a place where famous writers frequented. Ledoyen also boasts a notable clientele, including Guy de Maupassant, Jean-Paul Marat, and Napoleon. In fact, it’s rumoured that this is where Napoleon met his first empress Josephine.