The giant madeleine door handle and the tiny seashell shaped sweets printed on the wallpaper are a good indicator of what lies within. The classic childhood treat is here elevated to a work of art in a variety of flavors. Delicately perfumed with crisp, buttery edges, the lemon glazed and salted caramel were particularly excellent. Madeleines were invented in Alsace where pastry chef Gilles Marchal hails from, and, while his are more expensive than most, they’re superlative within their category. It’s no surprise given that Marchal was the pastry chef for a number of years at Le Bristol, Plaza Athénée, and La Maison du Chocolat before striking out to open his own neighborhood bakery. The madeleines might be the stars of the show, but there are numerous other options including breakfast pastries, after school snacks, an ice cream cart in summer, and artfully presented tarts, such as a piquant lemon tart garnished with meringue cigarettes. There’s even occasionally a solid gluten-free option in the form of a “sacher cake” which resembles a chocolatey tiramisu. There’s no space to sit so plan on taking your pastries to-go and snacking on the steps of Sacre-Coeur.
— Catherine Down, September 2015
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