One of the best things about Paris—or France in general—are the pastry shops and bakeries. Not only can you find a boulangerie on every other street corner, filled to the brim with buttery croissants, chocalate-filled croissants, and baguettes, but you can also find specialty pastry shops, where the offerings are more specific. Because of the smaller focus, these pastry shops tend to excel at what they produce, often with a decorative flair.
The pastry shop we will peek into today is Odette, conveniently located steps away from Notre Dame cathedral, Shakespeare and Company bookstore and the neighborhood in the 5th arrondissement known as Saint Michel. Odette is known for their cute little cream puffs, or choux à la crème, in French. Chou is actually the word for cabbage, interestingly, but these little delights are so very different! If you have limited time in Paris, this is a great place to experience French pastries in a salon de thé environment, because of its proximity to a prime sightseeing areas. As a side note, each cream puff costs less than 2 euros, which is excellent pricing compared to similar, yet more illustrious establishments such as Angelina or Ladurée.
If you’re not very familiar with pastry-baking at all – a cream puff is essentially flavoured cream or custard encased in a round ball of soft dough, the same type of dough found in profiteroles, éclairs, and even some savory treats. The dough is very airy and light, while the cream inside offers a contrasting texture. It is then topped with frosting that corresponds to or compliments the flavor inside. When I visited, Odette was offering nine flavors: The basics, like chocolate, vanilla, coffee, caramel, praline, and pistachio, but also some small curve-balls like lemon, green tea, and “fruits of the woods” (which essentially means wild berry).
I opted for a double-whammy of coffee flavor with a coffee cream puff and shot of espresso. The cream puff was decorated with a chocolate espresso bean, and it was delicious. The cream inside had a richer flavor, while the frosting on the top balanced it out with a more sugary taste. They also offer an assortment of drinks including soda, water, coffee and hot chocolate.
The outdoor seating is situated on a very charming side-street, across from one of the oldest churches in paris, Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, with a glimpse of Notre Dame peeking out from the other side of the river. This little street also has a handful of cute shops with trinkets and jewellery that differ greatly from the touristy shops on the main road.
If you follow the stairs to the next floor up, you’ll find a shiny salon de thé in the Art Deco style, where you will have a more comprehensive view of Notre Dame. It’s the perfect little place to feel fancy and Parisian.
Make sure to pop into Odette on the day you pay a visit to Notre Dame or Shakespeare and Company. It doesn’t take long, doesn’t cost much and is a tasty Parisian treat!
77 rue Galande
Open 10:30 – 7:30 everyday
Metro Saint Michel, line 4, RER B and C
Hannah Wilson is a young twenty-something blogger who decided to swap the constant sunshine of her California hometown for the grandeur and charm of Paris. She loves discovering unique shops, parks, cafés and restaurants in Paris, and currently lives in Versailles with her Swedish husband. You can see more of her life at www.FrenchCalifornian.com.
Image credits: All images by the author