Madman Jacques Genin crafts some of the city's most exquisite chocolate, but he's almost equally known for his caramels and pâtes de fruits. You might mistake his shop in the northern Marais for a luxury jeweler. The airy space is filled with stunning floral arrangements and white-gloved assistants assembling chocolate boxes. Favorite chocolates include the menthe fraîche (fresh mint), the noisette-feuilleté (crispy hazelnut praline) and fève tonka (tonka bean). The mango-passion fruit caramels are stunning, but we love his anything-but-plain nature version. Expect his pâtes de fruits to change with the seasons, but keep an eye out for orange sanguine (blood orange) in winter and berry flavors like fraise and framboise (strawberry and raspberry) in summer.
The French have had a love affair with chocolate since 1615, when Anne of Austria (confusingly, actually Spanish) married Louis XIII of France and packed cocoa beans for drinking chocolate in her Paris-bound valise. 400 years later, French chocolates are some of the finest in the world and among the best souvenirs to take home.
Purveyors of fine chocolate in Paris are suffering major losses this year. Back in February, Denise Acabo’s beloved chocolate shop L’Etoile d’Or was rocked by an explosion. Then yesterday, Patrick Roger’s atelier in Sceaux suffered a major fire.
There were no (human) casualties in the fire that broke out on around 3pm, but production of those delicious pralines and bonbons has of course ground to a halt.
To more fully grasp how awful this is, check out David Lebovitz’ video documenting the delicious work that took place in (and hopefully will return soon to) this atelier.
Master chocolatier and "caramelier" Henri Le Roux has set up shop in Paris. Salted butter caramel fans, rejoice.
Michel Chaudun is, simply, a master.
Pralines are the specialty at this fifty-year-old shop in the 16th.
This chocolate shop has had a presence on the rue du Bac for nearly 200 years. There's a tea salon, too, for tasting on the spot.
This Roanne-based shop is known for their bean-to-bar chocolate tablets - packaged in unmistakable, multicolored stacks - and Praluline, a praline-studded brioche.
Larnicol is known for his whimsical chocolate centerpieces and sculptures, as well as his signature kouignettes, a miniature, deeply caramelized version of the classic kouign amann.
And now both of these outliers are opening shops in Saint-Germain.
The wonderful site Painrisien recently tweeted a picture of the storefront window at 26 rue Saint-Benoit, advertising the imminent arrival of Ducasse. That means you’ll soon be able to buy a box of bonbons and eat it while standing in line for Le Relais de L’Entrecôte.
The left bank outpost for Jacques Genin is more of a distant dream, but they confirmed that they are indeed looking for a space near Saint-Germain or Saint-Sulpice. He’s a bit busy right now painting several hundred chocolate eggs but hopes to return to the search sometime after Easter.
Just to recap, here’s a list of our favorite chocolatiers in and around Saint-Germain. Additional listings can be found in Our Guide to Chocolate Shops.
Pretty Close to Saint-Germain
We're leaving in just a moment for the Salon du Chocolat and wanted to give you a taste of the chocolate fashion show that we're hoping to see. Pay particular attention (or skip ahead to) the moment at 2:20 in this video from 2009 when a topless woman is blowing bubbles with her lover on a carriage made of chocolate.