10 must-try pastries in France

Murphy ScottFebruary 19, 2023
Photo by Razvan Mirel Photo by Razvan Mirel

1. Croissant: This flaky, buttery pastry is a classic French breakfast item. It's made with layers of pastry dough that are rolled with butter and then baked until golden brown.

2. Pain au chocolat: Also known as a chocolate croissant, this pastry is similar to a croissant but has a stick of chocolate in the center.

3. Éclair: This pastry is made from choux pastry dough and filled with pastry cream, then topped with chocolate icing. It's long and thin in shape.

Photo by amirali mirhashemian Photo by amirali mirhashemian

4. Macaron: This delicate French pastry is made from almond flour, egg whites, and sugar, with a creamy filling sandwiched between two cookies.

5. Tarte Tatin: A classic French dessert, this pastry is made with caramelized apples that are baked with a layer of pastry on top.

6. Mille-feuille: Also known as a Napoleon, this pastry is made with layers of puff pastry, pastry cream, and sometimes fruit or jam.

Photo by Luna Hu Photo by Luna Hu

7. Pain aux raisins: Similar to a cinnamon roll, this pastry is made with flaky pastry dough, pastry cream, and raisins.

8. Chausson aux pommes: This pastry is made with puff pastry dough and filled with spiced apples.

9. Financier: This small, almond-flavored cake is made with almond flour, butter, and sugar.

10. Madeleine: This small, shell-shaped cake is made with butter, sugar, and flour, and has a light, delicate texture.

Photo by Brooke Lark Photo by Brooke Lark

My favorite pastries from the list of 10 are Pain au Chocolat and Macarons, and I've included the recipes for both below. Feel free to try making them at home!

Photo by Mink Mingle Photo by Mink Mingle

Recipe for Pain au chocolat:


• 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed

• 4-5 small chocolate bars (or 2-3 large ones), preferably dark chocolate

• 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry sheet into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick.

3. Cut the pastry into 4-5 rectangles, each about 3 inches by 6 inches.

4. Place a chocolate bar at the bottom of each rectangle, then roll the dough up around the chocolate.

5. Place the pastries on a lined baking sheet, seam side down.

6. Brush the pastries with egg wash.

7. Bake the pastries for about 15-20 minutes, until they are puffed and golden brown.

8. Let the pastries cool for a few minutes, then serve warm.

This is a simple and quick recipe. It is perfect for you when you're short on time but still want a delicious pastry treat.

Photo by Niclas IllgPhoto by Niclas Illg

Recipe for Macaron:


• 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

• 1 cup almond flour

• 3 large egg whites, at room temperature

• 1/4 cup granulated sugar

• Food coloring (optional)

• Filling of your choice (e.g. buttercream, jam, Nutella)


1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and almond flour until well combined.

3. In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until frothy.

4. Gradually add the granulated sugar to the egg whites, about 1 tablespoon at a time, while continuing to beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.

5. Gently fold the almond flour mixture into the egg whites using a rubber spatula, being careful not to overmix. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring at this point and fold it in as well.

6. Spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a round tip.

7. Pipe the batter onto the prepared baking sheet in small circles, about 1-2 inches in diameter, leaving about an inch of space between each one.

8. Tap the baking sheet firmly on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.

9. Let the macarons sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, until a skin forms on the surface and they are no longer sticky to the touch.

10. Bake the macarons for 12-15 minutes, until they are set but not browned.

11. Let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheet.

12. Once the macarons have cooled, remove them from the baking sheet and pair them up by size.

13. Spread a small amount of filling onto one macaron half, then sandwich it with another half.

14. Serve and enjoy your homemade macarons!

The key to making successful macarons is to measure your ingredients carefully and to be gentle when folding the batter. It may take a few tries to get them just right, but the result is definitely worth it!

Photo by Luna WangPhoto by Luna Wang

These are just a few of the many delicious pastries you can find in France. Each region of France has its own specialties, so be sure to try as many pastries as you can when you visit!