Susan Heinrich stands in from the of Maison d'Isablle bakery in Paris biting a croissant.

Best Paris Croissants

PARIS

Dedicated taste testing resulted in this list of the best of Paris’s iconic snack

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In search of the best Paris croissants I tasted my way through the city, leaving trails of buttery flakes on the right bank and left.  In Paris, baking is a true art and the simple pleasure of a fresh croissant is elevated to something exceptional. But Paris has many mediocre croissants as well and those are best avoided. In this article I’ve compiled a list of the best — the iconic butter croissant, and a selection of my favorite flavored croissants as well.  

A single butter croissant sits in a pretty wire basket at a bakery in Paris. A few cookies are slightly visible below. It is a golden bronze color and there are flakes surrounding it.

I’ve tasted dozens of Paris croissants during many visits over the years and began keeping notes about my favorites a few years ago on a Solo Trip to Paris. On my latest trip last fall, a fascination with this most Parisian of pastries (technically, they are part of the viennoiserie category) became a dedicated pursuit. With my husband along as a co-taster, we sampled acclaimed croissants throughout the city to find the best.

A man holds a butter croissant on a street in Paris. Only his arm and trench coat are visible.
Sean holds a butter croissant on a fall day of croissant tasting in Paris

Here are the Paris croissants I most love with the arrondissements/neighborhoods noted in brackets. Just below that I have created a map with their locations. Detailed descriptions of each croissant and bakery follow below.

Best Paris Croissants (butter)

• La Maison d’Isabelle (5th) 

• Café Utopie (11th) 

• Le Boulanger de la Tour (5th) 

• Yann Couvreur (4th)

• Cyril Lignac (multiple)

Best Flavored Croissants

• Overall favorite croissant – The Ispahan, Pierre Hermé (multiple)  

• Favorite chocolate croissant – Le Grenier à Pain (multiple)

• Favorite almond croissant – Stohrer (2nd), Cafe Utopie (11th)

Best Paris Croissants - Google Map

What makes the Best Paris Croissant

What makes the perfect croissant? For me it begins as I step into the bakery — the scent of warm butter perfumes the air. They may appear piled nonchalantly in a basket (who us?) or lined in neat rows atop butter-stained parchment. My favorites vary in color. Some are pale gold, others are as bronzed as the most dedicated sunbathers on the French Riviera.

The exterior is very crisp so that the first bite produces a satisfying crunch and a shower of flakes. I especially love it when the ear (the croissant’s narrow end) is extra crunchy. By contrast, they are light and airy inside. Wispy layers of dough surround air pockets that sometimes resemble a honeycomb. It’s the contrast between the interior and exterior that makes the best Paris croissants so delicious.  

“How buttery is too buttery?” That seems to come down to personal preference. Croissants are the ideal vehicle for tasting the finest French butter; I err on the side of  “bonjour butter”!

How to Order a Croissant in Paris

Some bakeries sell a “croissant ordinaire” which is made with oil or margarine. Avoid those. You want a butter croissant, a “croissant au beurre” and it’s best to begin any interactions in Paris with bonjour (hello). I usually say: “Bonjour. Je vais prendre un croissant au beurre”. (Hello. I will take a butter croissant.) You can also say, “Bonjour. Croissant au beurre, s’il vous plaît.

I have had people question how good they can be when they see the price is €1.20. Yes, that’s really the price; they are rarely over €2. Meanwhile in the U.S., bakery croissants often cost between $4 and $6. I have seen them as high as $12.

Croissants are made early in the morning and will often sell out. This is especially true at popular bakeries. I scooped the second-last butter croissant at 9:30 am at the Boulanger de la Tour (listed below).

Reviews of the Best Paris Croissants

A hand holds a croissant from Maison d'Isabelle bakery in Paris. A Paris street is visible beyond.

La Maison d’Isabelle

47 Bd Saint-Germain (5th)
Closed Monday
Métro: Maubert – Mutualité

This gem in the Latin Quarter was conveniently located near my hotel on my most recent visit. It was the first thing I ate after dropping my bags. It was so delicious that I returned to taste it again and make sure it wasn’t just a “jetlagged stupor of happiness to be in Paris that made it so delicious”. 

This croissant is very crunchy, extremely buttery, and a dark cognac color that suggests it’s overcooked. It isn’t. A sign atop the bakery on Boulevard Saint-Germain declares “The grand prize winner in 2018.” So yes it’s well known and  there is often a line but it moves quickly. 

The upside with celebrity seems to be a commitment to “let them eat croissants.” La Maison d’Isabelle churns out croissants throughout the day. You likely won’t be disappointed by a basket with nothing but crumbs, as you might at some of the other bakeries on this list.  

It was and is exceptional, possibly my favorite butter croissant in Paris. 

A pale-blue colored exterior of a bakery in Paris with an awning with gold-colored lights. A blackboard sign sits on the sidewalkand a man and a dog stand just outside the door. A warm light is emitted from inside.

Boulangerie Utopie

20 rue Jean Pierre Timbaud (11th)

Closed Monday
Métro: Oberkampf

I visited Boulangerie Utopie on a Sunday morning with my friend Hilary who lives in Paris. We arrived just before it opened and there was already a line.  That gave me a few minutes to peer inside the window at the baker pulling perfectly golden baguettes from his oven — a very pleasant way to pass the time. 

This was one of those bakeries that smelled as delicious as it was. And the butter croissant, exceptional! It was a perfect balance of everything that makes a croissant delicious: light, flaky, crunchy and buttery, packaged in a perfect gold dome. On a whim, I purchased an almond croissant to enjoy later and I am glad I did.  It was equally yummy and turned out to be a favorite so I have included it as well.  Boulangerie Utopie is also known for its baguettes, brioche and chocolate eclairs.

The location is a little out of the way if you are staying on the Left Bank, but well worth it!

Two butter croissants remain in a woven basket above a marble counter.

Le Boulanger de la Tour

2 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine (5th)
Open Daily
Métro: Maubert – Mutualité

(Multiple locations)

The new Boulanger de la Tour was unveiled alongside the re-opening of the historic Tour d’Argent restaurant, the oldest restaurant in Paris. It is well worth a visit for a very special (and expensive) meal with a spectacular view. 

Word is out about the croissants made by the bakery across the street from the famous restaurant. I got the second-last butter croissant at 9:30 am on a weekday, and there was a line of sad croissant lovers behind me. The croissant was worth the hype: it had a shiny, bronze exterior with a tender interior and a wonderful butter flavor. It tasted decadent yet not overly rich.

Pretty viennoiseries and pastries are displayed in the shop window and inside the star becomes the exceptional breads: baguettes, wholewheat, rye and more. I tried the whole wheat and it was really delicious. In other words, if you are too late for croissants, there are other choices to get excited about. 

TIP: This is a short walk from Maison d’Isabelle so you can buy them both and compare.

Susan's hand holds a butter croissant and a paper bag of mint green with the words Yann Couvreur. Beyond are cobblestones streets in Paris.

Yann Couvreur

23 bis Rue des Rosiers (4th)
Open Daily
Métro: Saint Paul

Yann Couvreur is a famous pastry chef known for his creative interpretations on Parisian pastry classics, including a deconstructed  millefeuille. I was excited to try the croissant. It was a gorgeous golden brown, perfectly baked with a lovely crunch. Inside was a honeycomb of airy pockets. The difference for me was the flavor which was slightly more delicate than some of my other favorites. If you prefer a lighter butter flavor, this a great choice. 

This is a beautiful bakery with some special and unusual pastries. Sidenote: I love his packaging and logo with the little fox. I visited on a girls’ trip and each of us chose something different. Our choices received accolades all around. We visited the one on Rue des Rosiers, sustenance for exploring Le Marais. There are two other Paris location.

A woman's hand hold a croissant in front of an old teal-colored door in Paris.

Cyril Lignac

2 rue de Chaillot 
Open Daily
Métro: Alma-Marceau

(Multiple locations) 

It’s been a few years since I enjoyed this delightful croissant from Cyril Lignac, but I savored every bite and almost kept the pretty, dark paper bag as a remembrance. The crisp exterior was perfection and the favor sublime. It still gets great reviews and I intend to try it again next time to remind myself why it’s a best Paris croissant. Apparently, one of  Monsieur Lignac’s secrets is his favorite butter from Charentes-Poitou. Shh. 

He’s also known for an exceptional baba au rhum, among other things. I visited the rue de Chaillot location in the pretty residential area that is the 18th arrondissement, but there are multiple locations around Paris. 

A croissant is being held out by a hand on a Paris street with Haussmann buildings beyond. It has a bite missing from the end. It has a pink-colored filling and rose decorative sprinkles on top.
The Ispahan croissant from Pierre Hermé — a combination of rose, raspberry and lychee

Beyond Butter Croissants

When you are in the world’s great city of viennoiserie limiting yourself to only butter croissants is like only hearing the violin play at the symphony. 

Susan Heinrich sits at a cafe table in front of the Pierre Hermé bakery in Paris. On a plate in front of her is her favorite croissant, the Ispahan. She is wearing a trench coat and jeans.

Overall Favorite Flavored Croissant

The Ispahan at Pierre Hermé

126 boulevard Saint-Germain (6th)
Open Daily
Métro: Odéon

(Multiple locations)

As much as I adore butter croissants, the Ispahan at Pierre Hermé is sweet croissant perfection — a delightful mélange of rose, raspberry, and lychee. Sweet, but not cloying, with an exotic flavor of fruit and perfect mix of crisp and tender.

It’s no surprise that this wonderful flavor ensemble was created by the pastry chef known as the “Picasso of pastry”.  We also tried his kouign amann at Pierre Hermé and the butter croissant. All delicious. 

Colorful croissants sit atop a counter in a bakery. They have varying colors as decoration; some have rose sprinkles and the others have green. In front of that is a price list with the title vienoisserie at the top and a list of the pastries on offer.

Pierre Herme is also known for exceptional chocolates. Luckily his lovely shops are found all over Paris so you’ll have ample chance to visit and I hope you do. Apparently, they will reserve your croissant if you call ahead the day before. 

A hand holds a chocolate croissant in front of Le Grenier a Pain bakery in Paris.

Best Paris Chocolate Croissant

Le Grenier à Pain - Pain au Chocolat

38 Rue des Abbesses (18th)
Some locations closed Sunday
Métro: Abbesses

(Multiple locations)

There are delicious chocoloate croissants to be found around Paris but I especially loved the pain au chocolat at Le Grenier à Pain. It had a great depth of chocolate flavor and is not overly sweet, a nice compliment to a very buttery croissant exterior. This Paris bakery also gets rave reviews for its butter croissants. So you really can’t go wrong but do go early. The butter croissants were long gone when we arrived mid-afternoon on my recent visit.

This boulangerie is part of a small chain in Paris, so it might not feel as bespoke as the independent bakeries, but the quality is excellent. 

A hand holds out an almond croissant on a Paris street.

Best Almond Croissants

Stohrer - Almond Croissants

51 Rue Montorgueil (2nd)
Open Daily
Métro: Sentier

For an almond croissant the best is indisputably Stohrer, the oldest patisserie in Paris. The bakery dates to 1730 when it was opened by King Louis XV’s pastry chef, Nicolas Stohrer. It’s still located where it began, in a charming shop on rue Montorgueil. This Paris bakery is also a registered historical site, visit to see the lavish décor framed by an iconic yellow awning.

When Monsieur Stohrer began, he distinguished himself with chou pastries in a wide array of forms and he was the first to offer an array of baked goods in one place. He invented rum babas and was a master at vol-au-vents (puff pastry that is stuffed with a delicious filling). 

A row of Paris pain au chocolat croissants sit together in a glass case next to butter croissants.

As a dedicated croissant taster there will always be more bakeries to try. These Paris boulangeries have rave reviews and are the top of my list for croissant tasting on my next trip.  Since they are so well reviewed, I have included them in the map of “Paris Best Croissants” so you can easily find and try them yourself.

More of Paris's Best Croissants

Du Pain et des Idées 

34 Rue Yves Toudic (10th)
Closed Saturday, Sunday
Métro: Jacques Bonsergent 

In addition to exceptional croissants, this boulangerie is known for their snail-shaped sweet pastries called escargots“. This is top of my list for my next visit and a favorite of food writer, David Lebovitz. But I’ll have to save room because I also plan to taste croissants at: 

Mamiche (9th & 10th)

Two locations
Closed Sunday, Monday

Blé Sucre (12th)

7 rue Antoine Vollon
Closed Monday
Métro: Ledru-Rollin 
 

Sain Boulangerie (10th)

 13 rue Alibert
Closed Monday
Métro: Goncourt
 

The Paris Croissant I thought was Overrated

Pain Pain 

88 Rue des Martyrs angle
Métro: Pigalle

I am an outlier here as Pain Pain is often selected as a favorite. We tried the classic butter croissant and while I did think it was delightfully flaky, I found it a bit dry. The flavor wasn’t quite buttery enough for me. Maybe I got unlucky; it usually gets glowing reviews. Perhaps you should sample it for yourself. And if you do, please come back and comment below about what you think. Should I return to Pain Pain? 

A plate is empty other than a sprinkling of croissant crumbs.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this story about what I believe are the very best Paris croissants — the ones to enjoy while you stroll the pretty streets, relax in a beautiful park such as Luxembourg Gardens or in my favorite square, Places des Vosges.  Have you tasted an especially delicious croissant in Paris?  Please share your favorites in the comments below. 

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About - Midlife Globetrotter

Hey there,

I’m glad you’re here. Can we talk about midlife? I reached my late 40’s, realized my kids were growing up, and adventure began calling in a new way: big travel adventures as well as everyday ones. I want Midlife Globetrotter to be a place where we explore how to add a sense of fun, freedom and meaning to these precious years. Let’s celebrate how far we’ve come, and all that’s ahead.

Susan

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