I visited: 75 Avenue des Champs-Élysées 75008
Metro George V
Tel: 01 40 75 08 75
Open Monday to Sunday from 7:30 AM to 11:00 PM
(EXCEPT Monday: from 7:30 AM to midnight)
Miller and bakery owner Louis-Ernest Ladurée is responsible for one of the most successful luxury bakeries in the world. He founded the first Ladurée on the Rue Royale in Paris in 1862. Ladurée truly took off after a fire eviscerated its original store during the Paris Commune in the 1870s. A replacement shop was built and decorated with new architectural motifs and design styles (evocative of Rococo and chinoiseries, as well as Second Empire furniture styles). These stylistic choices are closely linked to the distinctiveness of the brand and one of the reasons for its success.
Ladurée’s grandson, Pierre Desfontaines, had the groundbreaking idea of selling the macaron as a double-decker “cookie” with a ganache filling. Desfontaines is also responsible for opening a tearoom in the pastry shop. Much like cafés were specifically understood as male arenas in the 19th century, tearooms became a space for women to congregate in the public sphere. The pastry chef Pierre Hermé created many original macaron flavors for Ladurée and was instrumental in catapulting them to fame. From Sofia Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette to the successful American TV show Gossip Girl, Ladurée has definitely become a reference in popular culture.
I highly recommend the “Ladurée experience”: sipping tea or munching a macaron in their tearooms is worth the detour! To get an idea of the range of flavors at Ladurée, I recently tasted the classic chocolate macaron, the slightly less conventional caramelbeurre-salé (caramel and salted butter), and an original macaron called pétale de rose (rose petal). I liked the rose petal macaron best (in terms of design and texture) for its unique flowery flavor. I hope Ladurée will continue offering similarly inventive macarons for its customers! Having recently hired pastry chef Claire Heitzler as their new directrice de la création (creative director), I think we can expect great things from Ladurée in the coming years.