One street, three must-eat sweet spots. But since three seems a bit of a gyp compared to the gluttony of other months (well, it is January my friends, the month of great, big healthy intentions), all you have to do is pop around the corner for one last take-home indulgence—the icing on the cake, if you will.
Start at 35, rue Rambuteau. If you know your chocolate makers, you’ll know this is Pralus not by the claret red storefront but by the rainbow of colors of the chocolate pyramids (why they’re called pyramids instead of blocks, I’m not sure, seeing as they consist of 10 squares) and pink-spotted brioche (the famous “praluline”) in the window. The chocolate bars’ colored wrappings correspond to the origin of the cocoa beans. Aqua is from Cuba, violet, from Ghana, mustard yellow is from Indonesia. The pink in the brioche is from the (dyed) Piémont hazelnuts and Valencia almonds that are roasted, crushed and then baked into the sweet, buttery brioche. With either treat, it’s not the colors but the taste that matters (duh), and the flavors are indeed vibrant and delicious.
Speaking of color, a few doors down (23, rue Rambuteau) is the brash cupcake maker, Berko. They weren’t the first to seize the American trend in Paris, but they’re certainly the loudest. Crimson red, hot pink, florescent green, polka dots, gumdrops, chocolate swirls, cookie chunks—these cupcakes cause strollers to suffer from whiplash on the sidewalks every day. Other treats are equally colorful (and sinful), including cheesecake, custardy tarts and caramel-doused shortbread bars.
Jump to the other side of rue Rambuteau, where another patisserie creates sidewalk bottlenecks. Pain de Sucre, which was opened in 2004 by two pastry chefs, is the haute patisserie of the street. Great big, square tarts of rhubarb and raspberry are accented with rosemary; tablettes of chocolate are studded with wild strawberries or whole hazelnuts; and the perfect rows of macarons include flavors like elderflower, lime, chocolate mint and cherry-pistachio.
To bookend this short but sweet tour in chocolate, turn right onto rue des Archives for a visit to Jadis et Gourmande (39 rue des Archives). More gimmicky fun than serious artistry, this Parisian chocolate shop (one of five in the city) has chocolate Eiffel Towers, chocolate plaques that spell out P-A-R-I-S as well as delicious disks of milk and dark chocolate that are topped with dried fruit or nuts.