What makes a French bakery unique? Is it the quality of its baguettes, the flakiness of its croissants, the Parisian-ness of its décor? It’s some combination of all three — and so much more. Here are America’s 10 best French bakeries.
To find the bakeries on this list, we went through our list of the 75 Best Bakeries in America and picked out the few that seemed most inspired by Parisian boulangeries. Then, we studied their options: Do they have macarons? Cannelés? Financiers? Madeleines? While it was important for these bakeries to have a French style, individual character was just as important.
For example, Poupart’s Bakery in Louisiana blends classic flavors of New Orleans with French techniques, making it a must-visit bakery that's well worth traveling for. As much as we love macarons, macaron-only shops like Ladurée, which has a few locations in New York, did not make the cut, because the bakeries on this list have to excel at making bread from scratch.
Ultimately, what we look for in great French bakeries is the ability to transport us to Paris, but still make us so happy we’re eating something so delicious in America. That being said, Paris is not the only French city where you can find delicious treats.
So enjoy your Bastille Day, or any morning, really, at one of these bakeries.
Additional reporting by Nikkitha Bakshani
#10 Bakery Nouveau, Seattle
At Seattle’s Bakery Nouveau, you’ll find yourself tempted by the smell of irresistible offerings ranging from flavorful croissants to lemon meringue tarts to handmade chocolates. The award-winning Phoenix Cake, a triple-layer mousse cake with a delicate balance of pear mousse, 70 percent chocolate mousse, caramel mousse, pecan dacquoise, and chocolate sponge cake, is an absolute must. Don’t forget to check out some of the unexpected items like their jams and their ready-to-go pizzas, as well.
#9 Bien Cuit, Brooklyn
Bien Cuit offers breads that are made with local flours and a small-batch mixing method, making it easier for bakers to control the fermentation process and bring customers great quality products. Their breads show the nuanced flavors that emerge due to the bakery’s use of the slow fermentation process, which takes 16 to 68 hours. Their pastry selection has a blend of French and American choices, from the chocolate almond croissant (baked twice with brandy) to salted chocolate buckwheat cookies to a blueberry and lemon meringue tart with a basil infusion.