I will let you in on a little secret. If you had plans to visit Angelina’s, often lauded as the world’s best hot chocolate, but are a bit turned off by the lines (or wondering if it is worth the hype) there is another option; Carette. Founded in 1927 by Jean Carette and his wife Madelaine, their café is located just across the river from the Eiffel Tower on Place du Trocadero. Carette isn’t exactly a secret. It is one of the most well-known pastry houses in Paris, famous for its macarons and their Paris-Carette; a Paris-Brest but made with praline on a choux pastry.
Carette feels more like a bistro than a pastry shop, a very fancy bistro though. Everyone here this morning either works or lives locally and there is not a tourist in sight. I stand mesmerized in front of the display case for longer than I am allowed. It is so unbelievable that I admit I cheated on my usual favourite pastry shop and tried these ones (sorry….but not sorry). Actually, to be completely honest, I also bought a pain au chocolate (I also got a bit of a look from the woman at the counter…perhaps wondering why I would indulge myself so much. It was a bit of a ‘control yourself honey’ kind of look but I ignored it). If you add to that my 9euro hot chocolate, this was a pretty serious snack.
I stayed at my little table for as long as I possibly could, just taking it all in. I tried to listen in on the conversations of those sitting next to me (nothing interesting unfortunately…I was hoping for something good, maybe even scandalous but oh well). I contented myself with watching the runway of effortlessly elegant people walking up to the pastry counter, most of whom had much more control than I did. The result was that when I left Carette I went straight to the shops to buy some new clothes. When in Paris…
Needless to say, everything was fantastic and the hot chocolate was exactly what I expect, and hope for, when in Paris. It is dark, lightly sweetened and, most importantly, generous; there is always enough for two cups in those little jogs. I sat inside but there is also a lovely outdoor terrace where you can watch the world go by in Parisian style. In 2007 they opened another location at Place des Voges decorated by Monsieur de Givenchy’s nephew. It has an Art Deco theme with pink marble, golden details, and mirrors throughout. They also seem to have another location at Montmatre.
After tasting all that, there is lots to see and do around this part of Paris. One of my absolute favourite spots in Paris is Palais de Tokyo (technically a contemporary art museum but it is so much more than that). It will amaze, shock and confuse you. There is nothing quite like it. If you are looking for more traditional Modern Art then the Museum of Modern Art is just next door. Guimet Museum of asiatic art, another stunning museum, is only 3 minutes away.
Verdict: A beautiful hot chocolate. Carette, 4 Place du Trocadéro, Paris, France