Vincent Zanardi: the best pastries in Paris

Vincent Zanardi is pastry royalty. Back in 2006, he launched Covent Garden’s L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon with the late French chef and restaurateur. Now he’s executive pastry chef at Birley Bakery, a modern take on the classic French boulangerie on Cale Street in Chelsea. We talked to him about where to find the best pastries in Paris

Croissant: Union Boulangerie, 9th Arrondissement

In Paris, almost all the best bakeries have the kitchen at the back, so you know what you’re getting is super-fresh, straight from the oven. Union Boulangerie in the 9th Arrondissement is a proper bakery. It’s not about making pastries for Instagram. Its croissants are old-school in the best way: crunchy on the outside and still soft in the middle.

2 Rue Bleue, 75009 Paris;@union_boulangerie

Rum baba: La Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac, various locations 

The famous French chef Cyril Lignac has five branches of his patisserie throughout the city, including one on Rue de Chaillot near the Palais de Tokyo and one in the 11th that’s not too far from Père Lachaise. It’s the kind of place where you can shut your eyes and order everything, but the rum baba is particularly good.

Various locations; gourmand-croquant.com

Paris-Brest: Philippe Conticini, various locations 

Philippe Conticini is one of the great French pastry chefs and he has shops in London and, of course, Paris – including one on Île de la Cité, right in the heart of the action. He’s famous for lots of things, from coffee eclairs to lemon buckwheat tarts, but the thing you must try is his Paris-Brest, a praline cream-filled pastry, which is both a technical triumph and extremely tasty.

Various locations; philippeconticini.fr

Birley Bakery, 28-30 Cale Street, London SW3 3QU. Follow them on Instagram here: @birleybakery

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