The Ladurée pastry shops are a Parisian institution – and now a worldwide brand – considered to sell the tastiest multi-colored, multi-flavored macaroons in the city. The story began in 1862, when Louis Ernest Ladurée opened a small bakery on rue Royale in the center of the city, just as it was undergoing transformation into the wide boulevards and majestic townhouses designed by Baron Haussmann that we see today. Nine years later the shop burned down and the Ladurées reinvented themselves purely as pastry makers; by 1900 a thriving teashop had opened on the premises too but the iconic macaroons so beloved of the Parisian haute monde were not created until 1950s. Now 15,000 are sold each day and the genteel Ladurée teashops are a taste of a bygone Paris, also selling gateaux, perfect little fruit tarts and pain au chocolate, all packaged in the distinctive Ladurée green and gold. Today under the auspices of entrepreneurial managing director David Holder, the Ladurée brand goes from strength to strength but has lost nothing of its courteous French charm.
75 avenue des Champs Elysées (currently being revamped after a fire, but still open as a shop – take the metro to George V) and five other branches in central Paris, including the original bakery at 16 rue Royale (metro to Madeleine). Open Monday–Friday 7:30am–11.30pm; Saturday 8:30am-12:30am; Sunday 8:30am–11:30pm.