The World’s Best Pastry Chef of 2018 has a new endeavor: bread. Pastry guru Cédric Grolet opened his bakery-pastry shop, Cédric Grolet Opéra, today in Paris. It’s his second boutique in the city after his pâtisserie at Le Meurice, which opened in 2018.
The boulangerie-pâtisserie offers breads, viennoiseries, pastries, chocolates, sandwiches and hot drinks as well as dishes to eat on site or to-go. The space, about 300 square meters in size, feels distinctly Parisian. There’s a counter for pastries and a counter for viennoiseries, sandwiches and bread (but no display cases in the windows). A seating area of two-person tables and a counter allows 30 to 40 people to eat on location at a time. Grolet is calling it a “salon de thé,” so it’s not out of the question that an afternoon tea service could be offered at some point.
The trompe l’oeil fruits he became famous for will remain at Le Meurice. Grolet wanted to keep his two establishments separate (and try something new), so he went with a new theme at the bakery: flowers. Many of the viennoiseries and pastries — like the Saint-honoré, Baba en fleur, and Fleur en Tatin — have floral designs and shapes. He’s also made the classics — flan, chouquettes, Mont-Blanc — more Instagram-friendly. Like the decor, the prices are elevated: a croissant costs 3€, a sandwich 13€, a chocolat chaud 8€…
A highly anticipated opening, a line hundreds of people long formed outside hours before the doors were scheduled to open. Some ultimately left disappointed when the bakery ran out of pain au chocolat and croissants.
A crowd won’t be the only cause for missing on Grolet’s creations, though. Visitors will have to be aware of the baking schedule. As Grolet explained to Le Figaro, freshness and quality are of the utmost importance to him, so some of the boutique’s offerings will only be available at certain times. Viennoiseries (croissant, pain aux raisins, fleur noisette, chausson aux pommes, pain au chocolat) are sold from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., then sandwiches (two each day, one vegetarian and one with meat) from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., then plated desserts from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Excluding Saturdays, breads (baguette, rye bread, whole grain bread, olive bread, tomato bread) will only be available from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Grolet has not relinquished his role at Le Meurice to open his new boutique. In fact, Alain Ducasse, who heads Le Meurice’s kitchens, refused Grolet’s desire to leave the hotel’s pastry shop to open a new boutique. The young pastry chef will work at both establishments and only take a salary at Le Meurice, as he explained to Le Figaro, to maximize staff salaries at Opéra.
For Grolet, bread is actually a return to his roots. He received his CAP (certificat d’aptitude professionelle) to work as a boulanger, which allowed him to start his career at Fauchon. “Bread is the story of my life!” he told Le Figaro. “Pâtisserie, it’s good, but boulangerie, it’s better.”
Cédric Grolet Opéra — 35, avenue de l’Opéra, 2nd arrondissement. Open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., except Mondays