Previous and future posts in this trip report:
4. Eiffel Tower
5. Lunch at Laduree
6. Café Kleber Trocadero and The Eiffel Tower At Night
7. Lufthansa New Business Class, Upstairs On The 747-8i
After an enjoyable morning at the Eiffel Tower we headed to the Champs Elysees to enjoy lunch at Laduree. Laduree has been around for over 150 years as a pastry shop, but the tearoom portion is more recent. There’s a sizable location on the Champs, though the wait can be a bit of a bear. It’s easy enough to make reservations ahead of time. The Park Hyatt concierge took care of it for us but you can also call directly. Laduree has an informative website, though the flash makes it a bit annoying to navigate.
The decor of the tearoom is of a much earlier era. I wouldn’t call it stuffy, per se. It’s reserved, and the room we were in had plenty of natural light from the windows. The tables are roomy enough, but squeezed in tightly. We were seated upstairs near windows that overlooked Champs Elysees.
The service was a little stuffy. I wouldn’t say the waiter was arrogant, but there was a definite air of amusing the annoying Americans in the air. Our daughter picked up on it and decided to do her best impression.
Everything was very well branded from the small napkins with the coffee presentation to the twizzler in the juice and the sugar cubes. It was a very good cup of coffee and I rarely drink coffee. I especially liked that they warmed the silver pitchers, separate ones with the coffee and warmed cream to make a perfect temperature cup.
My daughter ordered a kid’s plate of bacon and eggs along with some tasty hash browns. My wife ordered a cucumber and tomato salad with chicken and a balsamic dressing. I don’t see things like puff pastry on the menu very often when it comes to a high quality restaurant. And, I love mushrooms. So, when I saw a chicken in puff pastry with duxelle and whole chanterelle mushrooms, I was all for it.
Catherine definitely liked her breakfast. Michelle thought the salad was okay, though she wasn’t expecting the dressing to be mayonaisse-based (isn’t everything in France?). The first bite of my dish was good but the temperature was just warm, not hot. Subsequent bites were just bad, based solely on the temperature.
The pace of service had been quite slow and we were tired, so I didn’t ask them to reheat the dish. I was disappointed, but I hadn’t set my expectations that high. Laduree is a big name in Paris, but I’ve never had anyone tell me the food blow them away.
Macaroons, on the other hand, is an area they excel in. We went downstairs to pick up a box of macaroons to take with us and compare to Angelina’s tasty morsels. The line to buy macaroons was at least a couple dozen people deep. As a dining patron we got to shortcut part of the line, but it still seemed to be a really long wait, something Parisians don’t have a big problem with.
We decided to head back to the hotel for a power nap and figured we would hit the Laduree retail store located on Rue Royale, not far from the Park Hyatt. As we walked outside the Champs Elysee location, we saw another dozen or so folks in line waiting to buy macaroons. It seemed likely they were going to be waiting about 30 minutes. To buy macaroons. Yikes.
Walking into the store at Rue Royale, I was initially disappointed to see a long line. As it turned out, it was just my feeble eyes playing tricks on me, as the back wall of the store was mirrored. It took us all of about 5 minutes in line before we were ready to make our selections.
We went with a healthy assortment:
Strawberry Candy Marshmallow
I asked Catherine last night what she recalled her favorites being. She said Vanilla, Pistachio and Rose Petal. I do remember liking the Pistachio but the Strawberry Candy Marshmallow was also a really big favorite of our group.
There was one item we were unanimous on. Laduree has noticeably better macaroons than Angelina. Angelina makes a good macaroon, mind you. Probably better than any I had tried until then.
But Laduree had more intense flavored fillings and the cookies were outstanding. Where we snacked on the Angelina macaroons and enjoyed them, we emptied the box at Laduree, not quite fighting over the last little bits.
I still wouldn’t wait half an hour in line for them, but I do think Laduree is a clear favorite in the macaroon battle. Just not lunch.