For me it is still one of Paris’ greatest mysteries how these many sweet gourmet palaces that are constantly bombarding our eyes and senses with high-calorie temptations can survive in a city where the people are so much slimmer than elsewhere, and where the fashion designers dream up creations that are only wearable by a Size zero. Do Parisians have a faster metabolism? Who buys these countless graceful petits fours and macarons, these éclairs and truffles, these devilish little tarts and heavenly cream cakes from Ladurée or Pierre Hermé, from Fauchon or Lenôtre? And how do French women inside and outside the confectioneries stay so slim and beautiful?
Christophe Vasseur’s bakery Du Pain et des Idées (34, rue Yves Toudic) serves Parisian breakfast classics in a gourmet upgrade. The customers get up really early to line up for the “snails”, escargots, filled with chestnut cream, pistachios or chocolate. Yann Couvreur (137, Avenue Parmentier) used to be the chef patissier at the luxury hotel Eden Roc in St Barts. Since last year, he has been brightening up the mornings of Parisian hipsters with coffee and puff pastry roulés, not to mention divinely beautiful and fine patisserie works of art. It is precisely these places that I prefer to avoid for most of the year. But now it’s winter I occasionally treat myself to an extra portion of dolce vita. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet developed a Parisian metabolism.