If you dream about tarts and cakes sitting under bell jars attached to what looks like some kind of sci-fi Jetsons-like lab contraption, if carnation pink was your favorite color of the Crayola 64, and if being attended to by slender young pixies in white frocks and ballet flats is your customer service ideal, then Pâtisserie des Rêves may very well be the pastry shop of your dreams.
I for one prefer generous abundance over minimalism in my sweet shops. Even at ultra modern Pierre Hermé, the display resembles a well-stocked jewelry case. But at Philippe di Conticini’s new venture on rue du Bac I always find myself wondering, “Where is all the food?”.
Most of it is in the back, as it turns out. The girls in white take your order, point you to the caisse, fetch your treats from a window and carefully box them up. There are a few shelves with rows of cannelés, kouign aman (yes please), oversized madeleines and laminated brioche spirals, but the central display, with its individual glass domed refrigerator compartments, always seems a little sparse.
Of course, you aren’t there to eat the hardware, and I will happily admit to having been won over by the apple tart with crumbly topping, and the espresso powered coffee éclair. The tart a l’orange will please creamsicle lovers (if not me), and those who like their classics reconstructed will love the amber block of apples on the tarte tatin and the rearranged St. Honoré.
The thing that will bring me back, though, is the Paris-Brest. Shaped more like a flower of connected cream puffs than any bicycle wheel I would want to ride on, the pâte à choux shell is topped with a sprinkling of praline that gives it an irresistible crunch, and I would eat the filling alone with a spoon if presented with the opportunity.
A girl can dream, can’t she?
Pâtisserie des Rêves, 93 rue du Bac, 75007 Paris, +33 (0)1 42 84 00 82 website