Five Great for Hot Chocolate

chocolate affogato berthillon |

Baby, it’s cold outside. Falling temperatures call for a mug of chocolat chaud. But where to find the real deal? When it comes to hot chocolate, Paris generally isn’t a cocoa powder town; a true chocolat chaud tends to be real melted chocolate blended with warm whole milk, which is often deceptively creamy, or, for further decadence, a mixture of milk and cream. Here are five of our favorites for hot chocolate in Paris. 


In the summer, crazy crowds gather on the Ile Saint-Louis for Berthillon’s famous ice cream, but in the winter, this old-fashioned ice cream shop is almost abandoned. The emptiness belies one of Paris’ better-kept food secrets: It’s hard to imagine a more decadent cup of cocoa than the chocolate affogato here. You receive a silver platter with a scoop of the ice cream or sorbet of your choice (you can’t go wrong with the salted caramel or classic vanilla) alongside a pitcher of melted dark chocolate, another of frothy hot milk, and a bowl of whipped cream. Then you mix it yourself for a cup that is as chocolate-y or creamy as you like, though guaranteed to be completely over the top. If that wasn’t enough, it’s garnished with a crunchy nut cookie. Be sure you head to the original Berthillon, however, as there are many other spots nearby that will advertise that they sell the brand and are frequently mistaken for the ice cream shop.

chocolate affogato berthillon |
The chocolate affogato tray at Berthillon, ready to mix

Jacques Genin

Head inside to the airy, spacious tea salon for one of the best cups of hot chocolate in town. The chocolate chaud at Jacques Genin is so thick that you can practically stand a spoon in it. The chocolate is intense and rich, so consider ordering the whole side bowl of whipped cream, flecked with vanilla, to cut the bittersweet blend. You’ll usually receive some of Genin’s bonbons or caramels on the side for an extra sugar high. For those concerned about being sent into diabetic coma, you can instead order a Chococcino which lightens the chocolate with espresso and a thick layer of cocoa-dusted whipped cream. Aim for one of the tables with the cozy couches and give yourself at least an hour as the wait time, for both tables and service, can be long, particularly when weather is nasty. If you fancy a bite while you sip, chocolatier Genin usually makes a handful of pastries to order each day and they’re consistently some of the best within their category.

Jacques Genin Chocolaterie Paris Photo Meg Zimbeck
Hot chocolate and a mille-feuille at Jacques Genin

Cafe Pouchkine

This might be the dark horse candidate of the hot chocolate world. While it’s not as well-known as some of the others on our list, the quality at Pouchkine is quite high and the presentation and service are charming. The slightly bitter and very thick hot chocolate is frothed tableside in a silver pitcher and accompanied by a Russian love poem from your server. The original location is amidst the escalators of the upscale department store, so for a more relaxed experience head to the less hectic tea salon along boulevard Saint-Germain. Save room for some Franco-Russian desserts.

Russian-style hot chocolate at Café Pouchkine

Jean-Paul Hevin

For the quirkiest cup, head to this chocolatier on rue Saint-Honoré where you’ll find green tea, ginger, and, gulp, even oyster flavored hot cocoa served in the chocolate bar over the shop. However, in our opinion there’s no messing with the purity of the original. If you’re in the market solely for this classic cup of dark chocolate, go instead to Hevin’s recently opened Chocolate Bar on rue de Bretagne in the Marais. There are only a few stools, but the solicitous server will whisk up the special cocoa blend with fresh milk from Normandy right in front of you. You can also take it to go to sip as you window shop in this fashionable neighborhood.

Hevin hot choc
The classic chocolat chaud at Jacques Hevin

Un Dimanche à Paris

This chocolate shop from Pierre Cluizel serves its hot chocolate ceremonially in a porcelain chaudière at their lovely salon inside of a cobbled passageway. One of the sweetest blends tasted and with a distinct vanilla flavor, Cluizel’s hot chocolate is €8 euros on site or €2.20 to go. You can take it down to the banks of the Seine or on a stroll through the streets of Saint-Germain.

Un Dimanche à Paris
Tableside service at Un Dimanche à Paris

Notably absent from this list? Angelina. While this elegant tea salon might be one of the most famous in the world, at this point it’s relying solely on reputation. We don’t recommend it unless you want your cup of cocoa to feel like a cattle call. The lines outside stretch down the block and you can easily spend 20 minutes in the cold before being squashed into the bustling tea room. The famed “L’Africaine” blend of three different chocolates is dark, bittersweet, and rich – everything you could hope for – but arrived at our table with a skin already formed on top. Service was brusque and disinterested. It’s a good hot chocolate, but there are far more pleasant experiences to be had. Your best bet if you have your heart set on Angelina is to pick a cold, clear day, head instead to their sidewalk kiosk just outside the original location on rue de Rivoli, then take your drink to enjoy inside the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries across the street.

Angelina kiosk
The best way to experience Angelina is to take away from the sidewalk kiosk

4 Comments on Five Great for Hot Chocolate

  1. Ok, so i read this article about hot chocolate in Paris, and this place is supposed to be in top 5! But it is not at all!!! i mean the price is like in Angelina and all you get is small warm(not hot!!) cup of chocolate! We saw on the photos that they serve it in cool metal things, but guess what, your not getting any, cause they dont give it. when I asked, why its not like this, the waitress was rude as hell and said that we are just 3(WTF I NEED TO BRING LIKE 20 PEOPLE?) so we cant have that, and its already served, so… (she made a face like shut up and drink) Even water was not there! cream? no, just small cup of chocolate. even shity cofee place next to me serves a glass of water with espresso, and here not at all. and when i asked about it, she was like so unhappy, and brought 3 glasses with not happy face, like i insulted her. Our waitress was old blonde woman, and she was rude as hell! maybe we were not lucky, and other waitress are nice, and usually everything is fine, but that was like worst hot chocolate ever. it was OK as chocolate, but there were no cream, no nothing, not even a simple water. for same price as Angelina.

    I think you should remove them from the list. they wont enter even top 30.

  2. This is a nice compilation, but I must add another…Nestled at 33 Rue Madeleine Michelis in Neuilly-sur-Seine, (metro Les Sablons) La Boulangerie du Parc serves up some of the most divine hot chocolate you’ve ever had. Skip the tourist traps and go here!!! You will not wait, the servers are super nice and attentive and you’ll be swimming in hot chocolate heaven.

  3. These are good recommendations, but I wish you had included places outside the most-touristed arrondissements. Surely Parisians can find great hot chocolate in the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 19th as well? Why not inspire visitors to step outside the tourist comfort zone and explore a little farther afield?

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