Leonard's Chocolate Tour in Paris - Spring, 2005

I went to Paris for two months this spring to work on a new book about the great City of Light. My first book has reached the exalted status of bestseller in France and I am now following it up with "le sequel." So I dug in my heels and worked every day, all day, seven days a week, either in the archives studying old photos and maps of Paris, walking the streets trying to figure what stood where, or taking photos of today's Paris to match the archival photos I was collecting. Given this priority it was difficult to give chocolate the attention it deserved. This was a great disappointment. And to think, I arrived in Paris with a list of over fifty chocolate shops to visit. I even had the lofty idea of doing the new chocolate guide to Paris. Sad to say, I failed.

I did, however, manage to taste chocolate, and lots of it, but I had to restrict myself to chocolatiers who were close to my itinerary as I moved around the city. One chocolatier happily on my route was Patrick Roger, newly opened on Boulevard Saint Germain not far from Boulevard Saint Michel. Along with his large selection of ganache and pralinés (these are the small bite size confections we Americans think of as bon-bons) he has a rack of twenty, count them, twenty different chocolate bars. Of these twenty bars I imagined there might be one or two that would send me into seventh heaven. But which ones! I'd need weeks to go through his bars alone.

Oh the befuddlement of being able to make only a small selection, and at about $6 each! And each chocolatier in Paris has an assortment as great to choose from. In truth it would take a grant to do chocolate research properly.

One highlight of my stay was having friends arrive in Paris, including two members of the Berkeley Chocolate Club - Luke Cole & Nancy Shelby. Together we devoted a whole day to chocolate tasting in Paris. One important stop was at Angelinas on rue de Rivoli for hot chocolate - see photos.

On a second day together I took my friends on one of my walking tours and combined it with stops at chocolate shops along the way. A splendid combination - Paris history and chocolate. I will be offering this walk along with my other walks. Anyone wanting more info, contact me.

For many years Paris was dominated by Belgian chocolate. It's only in the last twenty years or so that a generation of young French chocolatiers has risen up and changed the chocolate landscape of Paris adding to the myriad wonders of the city. Thus anyone visiting Paris must have chocolate on their map.

  Chocolate Shops Visited :

Angelina 226, rue de Rivoli, Paris 75001

Christian Constant 37, rue d'Assas, Paris 75007

Michel Cluizel 201, rue Saint-Honoré, Paris 75001

Pierre Hermé 72, rue Bonaparte, Paris 75006

Cacao et Chocolat 29, rue de Buci, Paris 75006

Jean-Paul Hévin 231, rue Saint-Honoré, Paris 75001

Patrick Roger 108, boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris 75006

Debauve & Gallais 30, rue des Saints-Peres, Paris 75007

Mere de Famille 35, rue du Faubourg Montmarte, Paris 75009

La Maison du Chocolat 8, boulevard de la Madeleine, Paris 75009

Jean-Paul Hévin 231, rue Saint-Honoré, Paris 75001

Click here to see photos of the shops visited

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