We all hear about the croissant and its rich little brother the pain au chocolat, but these are not the only breakfast items available at the bakery. Parisians aren’t about to dive into an éclair or creamy millefeuille for breakfast, but they do have other options.
Skip breakfast in the hotel to save a few euros and splurge at some freshly baked carbohydrates instead. Paired with a coffee at a local café (be discreet) or even takeaway while seated in a park (it’s possible), any of these pastries will be a welcomed change from the perfectly delicious but potentially mundane croissant.
Plus, they’re very cheap ranging from €1.80-3 each.
If you want something less buttery but just as satisfying, go for one of these little loaves. Baked with a bit of milk and butter, this take on the brioche is best with chocolate chips scattered through it. It’s like a breakfast baguette, perfect for dipping in coffee.
It’s hard to beat a fresh apple turnover. Photo: Alexandre D
It’s like a croissant but with apple sauce inside. In the US it is known as the apple turnover. You still get the buttery goodness of other pastries but the sweet apple filling makes it feel downright healthy. Look for these alongside the croissants. It counts (probably) as one of your daily fruit requirements.
Related: A quick guide to Paris cafe etiquette
No, not snails, though these pin-wheel shaped pastries do owe their name to the one of France’s other culinary treasures. These flaky pastries can be rolled up and filled with most anything, from pink pralines or cinnamon to raisins or—my favorite—chocolate and pistachio. Every bakery that sells them will do them differently, so have fun trying them all.
It’s that thing that doesn’t seem like it belongs with the other pastries. Oblong and with gooey yellow pastry cream oozing out of it, I might never have ordered one if it wasn’t studded with bits of chocolate. But I’m glad I did. The brioche holds up well to all of that cream, but it’s definitely not for those who like a light breakfast.
An almond croissant is a decadent way to start the morning. Photo: Robyn Lee
Imagine a croissant filled with almond paste and topped with slivered almonds. Or take a regular croissant from yesterday’s batch and fill it with almond paste and coat it in a sweet syrup before baking it again, giving it a new life. Either way, you get yourself an almond croissant. The reused ones are my favorite, heavy with a frangipane (almond flavored filling) layer.
This one’s not French technically, but has roots in Algeria. Still, the sweetened bread topped with pearl sugar is an easy fix for someone who wants to keep it simple. Often sold in little domed buns but also in loaf form, the pastry is popular around Easter but can be found all yearlong in Paris.