[Before going any further, a note on images: if not attributed to anyone, I probably took it. Other pictures will probably come from the share or public domain filter of Google images, and are attributed to author whenever I can find a name]
Oh, les macarons. Where to begin?
[credit: Sunny Ripert, pictured: Ladurée macarons]
They come in so many flavors, so many (kind of) sizes, so many colors, and so many stores.. (unfortunately in not so many prices.. they are all expensive)
I tried very very many macarons while in Paris and I was (and still am) partial to rose and chocolat.
Which store has the best macarons? Well, that depends on what kind of macaron you like, do you like slightly bigger ones, slightly smaller ones? Creams and cookies that are more floral than not? Richer? Sweeter? Denser or lighter cream?
Personally, I love me some dark chocolate and therefore love Pierre Hermé’s chocolate. Since I like denser fillings, I love their rose (and let’s be real, basically any flavor they make). They also have weird flavors, which I was just never willing to try (like foie gras). I like to keep the flavors I love… http://www.pierreherme.com/
[A beautiful picture of their logo by Robyn Lee on flickr: roboppy]
At Ladurée (although I have an issue with their staff manhandling my macarons..), they have a delightfully light rose macaron. It seems like their macarons are smaller though.. http://www.laduree.com/fr_fr/
If you stop by Angelina and want something other than their ridiculously rich and glorious and wonderful and beautiful chocolat chaud, be sure to get their vanilla macaron! http://www.angelina-paris.fr/
While I adore Georges Larnicol for many other reasons, their macarons are not the best in the world. Because they sell things by weight, and because their macarons are small, you do get a lot more for your money number wise. However, unless you really like eating flowers, you will likely not enjoy their versions of the macaron. They have flavors like lavendar and rose, along with orange(?) but they are just too fragrant for my taste.. [but DEFINITELY visit them because they make up for their lack in the macaron department with WONDERFULLY DELICIOUS mussel-shaped praliné chocolates and KOUIGNETTES! nomnomnom] http://www.chocolaterielarnicol.fr/
For a little Japanese flavor..
If you want some macarons that are a little different from the traditional French ones, I suggest two Japanese places:
[Photo by Flickr user: KiriS]
1) Sadaharu Aoki, first of all their presentation of all of their pastries are absolutely beautiful. They are so colorful and gorgeous that they make you hesitate before engulfing the entire cake/cookie/pastry/whathaveyou. Besides making really delicious standard macarons, they have legit matcha and other Japanese tea related flavors! http://www.sadaharuaoki.com/boutique/paris-en.html
2) Aki Boulanger, located on rue Sainte-Anne is a wonderful Japanese bakery that has a small selection of macarons along with more traditional cakes and japanese pastries (and lunch items!) Their stuff is so good! I would have gone every day if my piggy bank didn’t tell me no.
If you’re in the mood for a more traditional “macaron”
So macarons didn’t always have the filling inside, and were not always so easily perishable. If you want a more traditional, hard-type macaron (which you do, because I am telling you they are delicious), go to Le Bon Marché’s grande epicerie, and get yourself a box of Les Macarons de Joyeusefrom Maison Charaix. They are these crunchy crisp sweet honey-almond flavored cookies that are almost too good to be true. Maison Charaix had a stand at the Salon du Chocolat when I was in Paris and once I had a sample..well, there was no going back. http://www.maisoncharaix.com/en/