Sunday, September 27, 2009

September Tour: Giant palmiers, fleur du lait gelato and a double shot of chocolate

The residential eighth and seventeenth arrondisements get bad raps for being stuffy and boring. But right where the two neighborhoods meet is a sensational oasis of sweetness that’s pretty exciting, if you ask me.

Case in point: a small gem of a salon de thé/bakery/chocolatier, La Petite Rose, is just a couple doors down from one of the dozen + city locations of the famed patisserie Lenotre (11 & 15, blvd de Courcelles, respectively). This modest spot currently has beautiful fresh fruit tartlettes (apricot, raspberry, apple). Or you can save your pastry appetite for a millefeuille at Lenotre and leave La Petite Rose with a pretty pink and brown box of chocolate bonbons for later.

Once you cross the boulevard to rue de Levis, you enter the 17th arrondisement—and a long stretch of sweet possibilities.

At the tip of the street (6, rue de Levis), the charming Beaux Arts façade of Le Moulin de la Vierge will beckon you inside the pocket-sized bakery that packs in all of the classics: individual baba au rhums, tartlette aux noix and the palmiers the size of your head.

There are only twelve gelato and sorbet flavors at Pozzetto (21, rue de Levis), but still, you’ll have a hard time deciding. How could you not with options like fleur de lait, gianduja, peach and melon?

Personally, it’s all but impossible to walk by an Arnaud Delmontel (23, rue de Levis) and not get something. I devil dog dare you to look in the window and skip one of his bright and shiny fondant-frosted cakes or lemon-raspberry financiers.

Once you leave rue de Levis and go a little further into the 17th, you’ll be rewarded with a double shot of chocolate. The sustainable, artisinal chocolate salon, Puerto Cacao (53, rue de Tocqueville) offers multi-course chocolate indulgences (a pot of hot cocoa to wash down that chocolate-drenched tartine?). Or you can pop across the street where La Petite Chocolatière supplements its chocolate bonbons with freshly made macarons.

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