Pastries in France are not delicate, flaky croissants or tasty, light brioche (those are categorized as viennoiserie), but a serious art form in design and execution with mousses, creams, and macarons involved. Beautiful stuff. I think that I have eaten more gorgeous food in the last 6 weeks than I have in my entire life.
After Adam mentioned that he wanted to eat boatloads of pastries, I decided to take one of our metro maps and find as many top-rated patisseries in Lyon as possible. And I did pretty well. You can see them marked in black and labeled.
Now, we didn't make it to all of these places, but we did visit quite a few of them (several twice!) and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
1. Bouillet: Sometimes two is better than one. This pastry maker has two locations, and we have gotten two pastries from each location. The first two were fine, gorgeous, but only mildly tasty, the second two were great! He is one of the more famous pastry makers in town, and he is also a chocolatier. The chocolate is probably worth trying, but we were more interested in his pastries. He also sells macarons, which we did try, and they were amazing.
2. Perroudan: Incredibly gorgeous and quite good. Fabulous cherry-chocolate mousse in one of them. Decent triple-chocolate layered mousse. Mostly I just like mousse. In just about any flavor.
3. Sève: We went here twice as well. SO tasty! Gorgeous store, and lots of amazing pastries to try. They also have two locations in Lyon. Some of my favorite pastries from our trip came from here.
4. Pepin: Right down the street from us. I would say it is dangerous, but we have only been here once. We loved the pastry we got here, and will probably go back for one last pastry tomorrow.
5. Delices des Sens: Our very first pastry was from here and it was fantastic. It set me on a life-long journey to eat and make delicious pastries with the man I love. If you are an Austin friend, I might just make one for you too. We also got a croissant here today, and it was mind-blowingly good! So much crispness and delicious buttery flakiness. I wish we had discovered their croissants earlier, because it was incredible, and I probably would have gotten one every week. Too late.
6. Taffin: This bakery/pâtisserie had one of my very favorite pastries in town. Macaron shells with raspberries and custard cream inside. I am absolutely recreating this when I get home, and will almost certainly share it here. I am so excited.
Did we make it to all of them? No. Did we give a pretty good effort? Yes.
We didn't indulge everyday, but every once in a while it is wonderful to eat something truly decadent. Of course you have to balance with with fruits and vegetables, but once in a while, nothing is better than a caramel-coated, mousse-filled pastry. Trust me, it doesn't get better than that.