Until the British physician, Joseph Fry invented “chocolate for eating” (the first chocolate bar) in 1847, the food of the gods was consumed only as a beverage. Chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) was embraced as an exclusive favorite among the French royal court, where it was the preferred drink of Louis XV. Marie Antoinette even brought her personal chocolate maker from Austria when she came to France to become the queen. The love affair with chocolat chaud grew exponentially and it went on to earn its prized place at the heart of French gastronomy.
Hot chocolate isn’t just enjoyed in the afternoon here, in fact, they drink it any time of night or day and it’s even widely consumed for breakfast in France. Now, that’s my definition of a “breakfast of champions.” While Paris is known as a café society, chocolat chaud is almost as easy to find as a cup of coffee. Here’s a roundup of memorable spots where you can enjoy some of the best hot chocolate in Paris.
Where to Find Traditional Hot Chocolate in Paris
1. Butterfly Pâtisserie at the Hôtel de Crillon
Nestled in a corner banquette at the elegant and cozy Butterfly Pâtisserie in the Hôtel de Crillon, one of the most luxurious hotels in France, is the perfect place to savor some of the best hot chocolate in Paris. While this list is not in order of preference, if making hot chocolates were an Olympic sport, this first one would win a gold medal for sure.
Butterfly Pâtisserie‘s Chocolat Chaud a l’ancienne (old-fashioned) is made with two kinds of fine dark chocolate (60% and 70%) as well as milk chocolate (40%), blended with milk and heavy cream, and served from a white porcelain chocolatière (hot chocolate pot). Under the lid is a hot chocolate spindle you can use to stir the thick hot chocolate before refilling your cup with the onctueux (creamy, smooth) drink of the gods.
For twenty-eight Euros treat yourself to the Trolley Experience with Old Fashioned Hot Chocolate, which comes with an accompaniment of three sublime sablés (shortbread cookies) served under a glass cloche (serving dome). There’s a hazelnut with gianduja praliné, a roasted corn and popcorn sablé with a dollop of fresh caramel, and a buckwheat praliné cookie with buckwheat nibs. I imagine this is not too unlike how Marie Antoinette enjoyed her French hot chocolate!
2. Boneshaker Donuts
Luckily, there are also some fantastic plant-based hot chocolate options in Paris. The best I’ve tried is from our friend Amanda Bankert’s Boneshaker Donuts. Her hot chocolate recipe involves using her espresso machine, she steams hot oat milk into a 70% Valrhona chocolate bar for a heavenly rich chocolat chaud, which I’d recommend pairing with a moist oversized (vegan) Magic Babs (chocolate glazed and caramelized almond donut). Do not believe anyone who tells you not to pair chocolate with chocolate! A large mug full of Amanda’s hot chocolate magic is 5.50€.
3. Land & Monkeys
Like Boneshaker, Land & Monkeys has some of the best hot chocolates for vegans in Paris, which dispel the idea anyone might have that vegan French pastries can’t taste great. The boulangerie has five locations in Paris. The one at 2 rue de Turenne is a wonderful place to take a hot chocolate pit stop before heading into the eminently walkable Marais district just blocks away. These hot chocolates have more of coffee consistency for those who prefer their hot chocolate less thick. The 6€ libation goes well with a vegan pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant).
Photo: Courtesy Angelina
The tea room at Angelina is almost as iconic as the Louvre, which is just a few blocks down Rue de Rivoli. Their stately Salon de Thé always has a line out the door, which is no doubt due to the draw of its world-renowned hot chocolates. The folks at Angelina told me that the secret recipe, which blends three kinds of African cacao, hasn’t changed in over a hundred years. For 8.90€ you aren’t just buying a cup of cocoa, you’re taking a trip back in time to Belle Epoque Paris. And what should you pair with Angelina’s famous French hot chocolate? Angelina’s famous Mont-Blanc pastry, of course!
5. Le Drugstore
Le Drugstore is the place to enjoy one of Paris’ best hot chocolates right on the Champs-Élysées while gazing on the Arc de Triomphe a block away. This multi-purpose space (pharmacy, bookstore, specialty food shop, cinema, restaurant) maintains the 1960s vibe of Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, filmed in part just down the street. Settle into the restaurant’s striking retro seats for a cup of timeless hot chocolate served in a pot (always a good sign). While these hot chocolates come on the bittersweet side, and some may want to add a pinch of sugar, I like them just the way they are. Get a table at the enclosed sidewalk terrace for sensational people-watching on one of the world’s most famous boulevards. At 7€, this Paris hot chocolate is surely a triumph!
6. Rose Bakery
The splendid Rose Bakery chain operates a growing number of museum cafés, and now has a delightful outpost in Le Bon Marché department store. A great place for a respite from shopping, you can take stock of your fashion finds while enjoying some of Rose Bakery’s fine artisan pastries and one of the best hot chocolates in town. American expat pastry chef Alison Johnson told me that their hot chocolate is adapted from a decadent recipe she used to make in New York, which she’s adapted for the French palate by reducing a tiny bit of the sugar to make it less sweet. “We use Valrhona Guanaja chocolate, dark and fruity at 70%, which has just enough acidity to balance out the richness of this wintertime treat,” she explained. Johnson recommends pairing with a gluten-free slice of cake, like lemon-poppy, lemon-rose or chocolate-orange. (Your taste buds will thank you.) This Paris hot chocolate is served from September through April at €7,50 a cup.
Photo: Chocolat Cyril Lignac
7. Cyril Lignac
With multiple television series, numerous restaurants, chocolate shops and patisseries, as well as countless cookbooks, Cyril Lignac is one of the most widely recognized chefs in France. He’s also one of the very few as renowned for his savory cuisine as he is for his pastry skills. So it’s no wonder that you can count on him for one of the best hot chocolates in Paris. He blends fine milk chocolate with crème fraiche (fresh cream) and vanilla-infused whole milk for a thick confection that pairs well with his divine marble cake. Available all year, at 5€ this is one of the best buys in town. If you’re in Paris in the summertime, try their chocofrais (cold chocolate drink). His chocolate bars, by the way, make fine gifts to bring home to chocolate lovers.
Seeing the dazzling pastries displayed on the marble counter behind glass and wood vitrines of the 1920s Carette tea room for the first time is a genuine Paris “pinch-me” moment. That said, few Paris experiences can beat sitting on the terrace of Carette’s outdoor covered arcade gazing on Place des Vosges (the oldest planned square in Paris) while keeping warm with their luscious hot chocolate. True to the old-world setting, it’s served in a silver chocolatière, and if you want a generous dollop of whipped cream (presented in a silver dessert bowl), ask for the Chocolat Viennois. Their signature finger sandwiches (chicken or salmon) are perfect for a tea-time hot chocolate. Hot chocolate is 10€, with whipped cream 12€.
Photo: Atelier du Bristol
9. Le Bristol
For a truly over-the-top chocolat chaud experience, settle into one of the banquette’s at Le Le Bristol Hotel’s Café Antonia with a generous pot of the silky smooth chocolate elixir. The 70% and 60% Guanaja chocolate concoction, mixed with half full and half light cream, is 19€ (23€ with fresh whipped cream). If you’re not planning to linger and luxuriate, you can also grab a cup of the same hearty hot chocolate at the hotel’s L’Epicerie des Ateliers for 8€ (10€ with whipped cream), and savor it while strolling down the couture fashion-filled rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
A perennial favorite of so many visitors to Paris, Ladurée offers up a satisfying cup of hot chocolate to accompany their famous macarons. Dark enough to please any chocolate lover, it’s best suited to those who prefer their hot chocolate less thick, yet still with a well-rounded chocolatey taste. With thirteen shops in Paris, whatever itinerary you plan out there’s a mighty good chance you won’t have to go far for that hot chocolate and macaron moment. 7.50€ a cup.
11. Le Véro-Dodat
In the first arrondissement, just two blocks from Savoir (the fictitious agency where Emily in Paris works), you can savor Chef Felipe Dominguez’s glorious French hot chocolate at Le Véro-Dodat, an elegant sliver of a restaurant nestled in the two-hundred-year-old Galerie Véro-Dodat indoor shopping arcade. Served in a chocolatiére, this insanely flavorful and thick brew uses 65% cacao chocolates of Cuban and African origin from Nicolas Berger, former pastry chef and chocolate maker for Alain Ducasse (who makes some of the best chocolate in Paris). Bertrand, Le Véro-Dodat’s owner, told me that the recipe was inspired from an original recipe from his childhood, half ganache and half cream. It’s served with a small pot of milk so that you can blend to the consistency of your liking. I liked it super thick and onctueux. No added milk necessary for me. Bertrand recommends pairing it with Chef Dominguez’s homemade Baba-au-Rhum or the Tarte au Figure (Fig tart). The hot chocolate is 11€ per order. (Keep in mind that a pot serves up two hearty cups of the divine drink.)
12. Café Pavane
At 22 Rue de Vaugirard, the street that runs along the North side of Jardin Luxembourg, you’ll find Café Pavane. Seating just sixteen, it’s a calm retreat for treats run by Manon Hévin, daughter of Master Chocolatier, Jean-Paul Hévin. Their hot chocolate is made with the famous chocolatier’s own brand, which is blended with whole milk and some secret spices. More on the bittersweet side, you can feel free to add a bit of sugar to taste if you like your hot chocolate sweeter. There’s a wide assortment of homemade pastries and cakes, all great for dunking in a cup of hot chocolate, which costs 7.80€.
13. Le Café Pierre Hermé
Often referred to as the most famous pastry chef in the world, Pierre Hermé has pastry shops and Salons de Thé sprinkled all over Paris, including at every train station. While strolling Saint Germain in the 6th arrondissement, I recommend dropping in at Le Café Pierre Hermé right on the Boulevard for a cup of their Chocolat Viennois. Served in a glass cup, you’ll get an eyeful of rich melted chocolate, topped by a swirl of thick vanilla whipped cream. Pairs perfectly with any of Hermé’s wide variety of macarons. Indulge in a Chocolat Chaud Viennois, for 7€ a cup.
14. Parc Monceau Carousel Kiosk
In 1860 the glorious Parc Monceau became the first public park under Emperor Napoleon III as part of his vision to transform Paris into a model city for the world. Among the many timeless treasures in the parc (that inspired impressionists like Monet and Caillebotte) is a lovely merry-go-round. The heady aroma of fresh baked gaufres (waffles) floating in the crisp winter air, the gleeful voices of children riding the , and a whipped cream-topped cup of piping hot chocolate from the cafe kiosk adjacent to the carousel, all set the stage for a perfect holiday season in Paris moment. Hot chocolate 5.50€.
15. Loyal Café Cantine
I was biking down Rue d’Amsterdam in the 9eme arrondissement (in the Pigalle neighborhood) on my way to pick up some vegan pastries at a Land & Monkeys outpost when I spotted a cool-looking eatery that compelled me to stop and check it out. When I stepped inside I was struck by the strong Brooklyn-in-Paris vibe of this decidedly mindful and very woody café. They use exclusively French ingredients for this primarily lunch-and-brunch business. As in a malted milkshake, some of the chocolate collects at the bottom of their delicious hot cocoa, which they finish with a cappuccino-like steamed milk flourish on top. Just a few blocks from Gare Saint Lazare, Loyal Café Cantine is an ideal place to pick up a sandwich before a brief railway get-away near Paris.
FAQ: Hot Chocolate – Paris
Is hot chocolate popular in France?
Hot chocolate has been a favorite for hundreds of years, in fact it is one of the most popular breakfast drinks in France.
Is hot chocolate easy to get in Paris?
Almost as many places serve delicious hot chocolate as coffee in Paris. Some of the best places include Butterfly Patisserie at the Hôtel de Crillon, Angelina, Carette, Ladurée, and Le Bristol, among others.
Is there vegan hot chocolate in Paris?
There are more and more great vegan options for places to sip on a warm mug of French hot chocolate in Paris. Two exceptional places for plant-based hot chocolate are Boneshaker Donuts and Land & Monkeys, and Loyal Café Cantinehas their own vegan hot chocolate recipe in addition to a dairy one.
How much does hot chocolate cost in Paris?
There’s a wide price range for delicious hot chocolate in Paris, based on the level of luxury of the venue and the ingredients. From the Frenchly round up, hot chocolates in Paris ranged from 4.50€ a cup, to 28€ for a pot of hot chocolate accompanied by three very gourmet cookies.
Philip Ruskin is an External Lecturer (ESSEC Bus. School), Consultant (food & travel marketing), writer, drummer and regular contributor to Frenchly. He loves to bike around his adopted hometown of Paris. . Find him here, on Instagram. All photos by the author except where indicated.