For the first couple of years that I lived in Paris I was television free and it was liberating. However, without a television my impression of the French was slightly skewed – I thought them passionate about philosophers and philosophy or at least that is what I experienced at dinner parties I attended – conversation on philosophers I had never heard of but felt I ought to have done left me feeling stupid and embarrassed. Well, that all changed when I finally bought a television to watch the Presidential elections (odd but true – I still don’t understand the French political system but then neither do half the indigenous population) and lo and behold France is a nation of reality tv addicts that they’ve imported either from the US and UK: Dancing With The Stars, Pop Idol, The Voice, Big Brother, Come Dine With Me, Top Chef, Masterchef and not only that they are shown at prime time. Well, well, well I thought I am actually a classy and intelligent girl as almost all those shows I do not watch aside from Come Dine With Me! The latest is Meilleur Pâtissier or as I know it from back home – the Great British Bake Off. France’s very own Cyril Lignac is a judge on the programme I have watched 20 mins of but which has captured the hearts of La Republique! I decided that my next sweet treat in Paris should come from Cyril Lignac’s patisserie if he is happy to judge then I am happy to judge the quality of his cakes too.
Location/ Le Lieu
Cyril Lignac’s Patisserie is located on rue Paul Bert in the 11th arrondissement and I actually found it quite easily. It is on the same street as Restaurant Paul Bert which is outstanding and will feature soon on one of my solo dining experiences in Paris. The patisserie itself is on the corner and is small – there is one way in and one way out of the shop. When I arrived it was busy and any more than 6 people in there and you will have to wait on the street – that’s ok if it’s not raining.
Cake / La Patisserie
Before I entered the shop I toyed with the idea of sharing my solitary weekend sweet treat pleasure with a friend who was coming to stay that night. I swiftly changed my mind as quickly as Cyril pipes the peaks on the tart au citron you see in the window. All individual cakes are €5 which is a lot of money that’s the equivalent of a bottle of wine for l’apertif which can give me 3 nights of pleasure where as most of the cakes in my estimation represent 3 to 5 mouthfuls of pleasure.
Anyway my favourite cake is la tarte au citron/ lemon tart. I decided to buy one and only one. I resolved to eat the cake and dispose of the box before she arrived and not to speak of it – mean perhaps – but I bulk at the idea of spending €10 on two cakes regardless of who baked them!
This is the reason I say to friends you have a choice in France either get fat and poor on patisseries or; buy one, look at it, observe it, photograph it and then sit and have a mini sweet meditative moment as you savour every expensive mouthful in the comfort of your apartment. I now do the latter hence my weekend sweet treat much to the relief of my bank manager.
Was it worth it? Well the crust was too hard and whilst the filling was tangy I didn’t care for the sugar buttons that adorned the peaks. I shall not be going back – it was a good tart but it had me comparing it to certain Booker Prize winning books – sometimes they are too clever for their own good and what you crave is an “easy read” without the need to reach for the dictionary or in this case a round pastry base and no sugar buttons.
Where? 24 rue Paul Bert 75011 or 2 rue de Chaillot 75016
How? The shop in the 11th arrondissement is close to metro Charonne (line 9)
Open when? 7/7 from 7am to 8pm
Pricey? Yes – €5 for a cake is really the upper limit especially when it is just take away!