I awoke to a pretty gray Parisian day, but I had a plan to brighten my morning. I was going in search of the city’s best croissant, which I had heard was at a little bakery called Blé Sucre in the 12th Arrondissement. I looked it up and was delighted to find out it was only a mile from my apartment. I set out on rain spattered pavement and it wasn’t long before I was turning onto Rue Antoine Vallon where the bakery is located.
Blé Sucre looks out onto a beautiful little park called Square Armand Trousseau and has all the hallmarks of a great bakery– the intoxicating aroma of butter and yeast, picture perfect rustic pastries (the kind that make my mouth water) like tarts filled with wintery hazelnuts and pears, and a line of people crammed in the small space. I ordered one of the famous croissants and, while Ble Sucre actually has some outdoor seating (rare for a boulangerie in Paris), I decided to take it home to where my French press was waiting for me.
The bag was still warm and on the walk back I couldn’t help opening it to take a whiff–the sweet scent of warm butter wafted out. I somehow resisted the urge to dig in until I made it back to my apartment. I knew the croissant was going to be good just by the way it felt in my hand. When I started to pull my first tear, the crispy outer layers started flaking perfectly onto the plate and the soft center had the right amount of elasticity and oozed apart as I pulled. While the middle was soft, I could feel the layers as I chewed and it had just the right amount of sweetness. The only plain croissant I’ve had before that comes close is at Tartine in San Francisco, but this was special and was the perfect mixture of a flaky and crisp outside and a doughy center.
While the plain croissant can seem a bit boring compared to pain au chocolate or croissant aux amande, I’ve truly started to appreciate its simplicity. It does not have the luxury of hiding behind bars of chocolate and almond paste. The truly amazing ones, like the croissant at Blé Sucre, have layers of subtle flavors like vanilla and almond.
I was truly sad when my last bite of croissant was over, but on this particular day, the little golden crescent was the only sunshine I needed.
7 Rue Antoine Vollon
01 43 40 77 73