No trip to Paris is complete without visiting Ladurée - the most famous Parisian tea saloon that is best known the creation of the macaron, and naturally for its macarons as well. This luxury chain of tea houses has become world-famous and boasts a rich history that is best understood to fully appreciate the store today. So, here we go...we'll keep it brief.
The history of Ladurée dates right back to1862, when Louis Ernest Ladurée, a miller from France’s southwest, created a bakery at 16 rue Royale in Paris. The bakery had its ups and down over the years and eventualy turn into a pastry shop (check out the gorgeous and detailed website www.laduree.fr/en for the full story) After years as a pastry shop it was Louis' wife who had the idea of mixing two styles: the Parisian café and pastry shop, giving birth to one of the first tea salons in town. The 'salon de thé' was very different to typical cafés and it's biggest advantaged was that it provided a place for ladies to gather in freedom, the idea took off with a bang!Ladurée became very popular in Parisian circles and it's next big step in achieving French domination, was its creation of the macaron.
Macarons are typically French and are a small, round cake that are deliciously crisp on the outside, smooth and soft in the middle, and come in a range of tantalising flavours (chocolate, caramel, raspberry, lemon, the list goes on). The macaron was invented at the beginnng of the 20th century when Louis Ernest Ladurée's cousin, Pierre Desfontaines, first thought of taking two macaron shells and joining them with a delicious ganache filling. Today, 15,000 of these are sold at Ladurée every single day, and this is all thanks to a team of top pastry chefs who carefully measure out the required amounts of almonds, eggs and sugar, before adding a unique 'know-how', essential to the making of such a delicacy. Each season Ladurée pays tribute to its creating by releasing a new flavour and its latest development in the macaron is the frozen variety - the crispy shells are the same but the ganache filling is frozen, mmm.
This brings us to present-day, the best bit! Ladurée has stores located all over the world however the most famous are of course in Paris. Walk past any one of its windows and you will find a lavish display of macaron's in a gorgeous array of colours, enticing you to come inside and take a peak. Step through the glass doors and be transported back to 20th century Paris - a time of elegance, beauty and old school glamour. The stores are light and bright, with white marble floors and walls and ceilings adorned with paintings inspired by art techniques used for the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the Garnier Opera. A large glass display cabinate dominates the store and proudly displays an array of macaron's (of course), as well as delicious tarts, cakes, biscuits and brownies - you won't be able to walk away empty handed. The flagship store in Paris offers both a take-away option or the chance to slip upstairs and nestle yourself in the plush furnishings whilst you enjoy your pastry with a tea, coffee or juice, and take in the views of the bustling streets below.
If you don't have time to visit one of the stores you'll be pleased to know that Ladurée currently has a pop-up shop at the Carrousel du Louvre, so while you're siteseeing you can pick up a beautifully packaged box of these delicious treats - a great present guys, let's not forget about the family stuck at home!