Rich Treats at Petit Paris in Montclair

If you’ve longed for an upmarket patisserie in Montclair, look no further, for a delicious slice of Paris has served itself up on the eminently revisitable Church Street, the city’s only pedestrianized shopping area.

In a smart, minimalist space formerly occupied by Terra Tea Salon, a plethora of eye candy will greet you in the display case of Petit Paris French Pastry in the form of macarons, macarons, ooh, la la! macarons. In whatever flavor your heart desires. Lavendar honey, strawberry, raspberry, mint, vanilla, coffee, cherry, dark chocolate, mango, blood orange, zesty lemon, jasmine green tea, rose, salty caramel and hazelnut chocolate.

Each of these dainty meringue beauties, measuring just over an inch in diameter, (and likely adding that much to your girth upon observation alone) will set you back $2.75. At this price, you will want to linger over those precious bites.

Zesty lemon and blood orange were both tangy, attractively though unnaturally bright yellow and, well, blood-orange respectively, and both with robust and pleasant citrus flavor. My favorite was the very lavendar macaron with honey-flavored buttercream – the flavor and scent were spectacular and the color rather pleasing.

Charming macarons aside, the best sellers at Petit Paris, which opened on August 1, are the croissants, straight up or stuffed with chocolate (pain au chocolate) or almond paste (croissant aux amandes), priced $2.50 to $3.00. Wash them down with fresh-brewed coffee, tea, or iced coffee.

Other luxurious temptations will glint and wink at you, too. Eclairs in chocolate, coffee and vanilla, which are $3.60 apiece, or the pretty lemon tart, with a chocolate umbrella drizzled over it, which is $5.50. A luscious Napoleon studded with raspberries is $6,00, as are the lemon and pistachio cake (heavenly!), hazelnut chocolate ganache (the triple-layered cake in the slideshow below) and the majestic chocolate pyramid mousse, in which is embedded a chocolate heart.

If you walk in slightly peckish, you will be famished after trying a macaron or two. Luckily, Petit Paris, owned by Limi Maldonado and Baptiste Chigot, both 27, who moved to Baristaville recently from Paris, also serves a broad range of baguettes, sandwiches and quiches (Lorraine, chèvre/goat cheese or salmon), with salad on the side, for under $8.00.

There are four choices of panini and six of baguettes, with the namesake Petit Paris baguette being the most popular – stuffed with brie, prosciutto and walnut; the arugula and goat cheese baguette comes in a close second. The Champs Elysees is highly recommended – a towering baguette layered up with chicken, bacon, eggs, lettuce and mayo – a hearty choice for breakfast or lunch.  The top panini seller is vegetarian, piled with zucchini, eggplant, sun dried tomatoes, red pepper, parmesan, pesto and mozzarella.

Verdict: Very tasty. Working out a few new-business kinks. A tad pricey but definitely worth visiting.

Here’s a petite interview Baristanet did recently with Maldonado and Chigot, who live in Verona with their two-year-old daughter, Eleyne:

Are both of you the owners of Petit Paris? How did the idea come about?

The business is owned by me and Limi. My father was a baker in France and we had this common ambition to open a French bakery.

Do you run the business on your own? How have you been doing since you opened on Aug 1?

Yes we run the business, and we have been doing pretty well. Even better than we expected.

Do you bake on the premises? How many chefs do you have?

Our current bakery is located in 10 Church Street and we have two chefs; it depends on the day.

A lot of display space is devoted to macarons. Can you tell us why? How many do you sell a day?

This is because the macarons are  a beautiful and colorful product, and it’s part of the French culture. It’s what we wanted to bring to Montclair.

Visitors to Petit Paris have said your wares are rather expensive. How do you justify the high prices?

All the macarons are made by hand and it’s gluten free, the ingredients are expensive, almond powder and meringue, and it’s a gourmet product. It takes time and a lot of experience to make good ones.

What’s the most popular thing that you sell?

Most popular products would be the macarons, croissant, almond croissant and sandwiches

What do you recommend that people buy?

Definitely gotta try the macarons – salted caramel or dark chocolate or vanilla, our sandwiches and quiches.

What plans do you have for Petit Paris, going forward?

For winter, we will sell fondue au chocolat (fruit dipped in melted chocolate), gift baskets, and maybe next year, crepes.

Petit Paris French Bakery
10 Church Street
Montclair, NJ 07042
973 746 0288

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17 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve eaten at this place twice, and not for about two weeks, so it might be improving in the areas I critique below…But…

    …while the sandwiches were really good, and BIG, the service was pretty lousy. BOTH times I was there, it was pretty much empty. But the first time, the owner seemed confused and grumpy. Maybe it’s a French thing? The second time, they forgot my fellow diner’s order. Also, I couldn’t get breakfast, so I got some pound cake, and it was dry and basically inedible. The iced tea was oversweet (no unsweetened available) and, perhaps in the Euro tradition, iceless. I just don’t get the sense going in there that the owner(s) is (are) happy doing what she’s (they’re) doing, and that rubs off on me as a customer. Again, maybe they are just getting their legs under them; the stress in opening a new place must be enormous. I’m also surprised that there’s another promo for them here–didn’t you guys do something already? Or maybe they’re being touted all over the place, and I read it elsewhere?

  2. I had two macarons and a cappuccino — and paid $9.10. Delicious, but will need a second job if I want to be a regular.

  3. I’ll need Liz to get a third job so she can make me a regular, too.

    I had the 3 Fromages grilled sandwich and it was awesome awesome AWESOME.

  4. Petit Paris is absolutely fantastic. Every time I’ve been there the service has been excellent and conscientious. The Sacre Couer baguette sandwich is one of the best vegetarian sandwiches I’ve ever had and the mini-cakes are great looking and delicious. It’s a very nice looking shop and a wonderful place to relax and enjoy a meal.

    The macarons are appropriately priced. It does take a good deal of skill, time, effort and ingredients to make macarons of such high quality. The fillings are incredibly flavorful so, even though they are small, with only one or two you have a terrific, satisfying dessert (my favorites are the lemon and the mango coconut).

    The French approach to eating is to have smaller portion sizes with an outstanding degree of quality, which is a great way to eat, and that’s the method Petit Paris wisely embraces.

  5. Can someone please clarify..I was at this cafe twice and I asked if they baked on the premises..I was told that they do not bake any of the items-they are all bought from a bakery in NYC. In the above interview it states that they bake in another location. This is false information and should really be clarified. Don’t mean to come off as a snob but it is hard to support a bakery that does not bake their own items..they are just buying them from another source and charging us double.

  6. I had a macaron here, and it was amazing. I don’t mind paying extra for treats because I don’t have treats too often. My daughter (an almost three year old) had the raspberry macaron, and it took her a good ten minutes to eat hers. She was actually savoring it. I’ve never seen her do that with anything sweet.

    The iced tea is also pretty amazing. It was very, very lightly sweetened – and I loved it. I usually don’t like sweet tea, but I’d order that again.

  7. I was there on Sunday and they were super busy yet worked like crazy to help everyone as fast as they could with a smile.

    I wish them luck and hope they start making Pistachio Eclairs soon!

  8. @drfran, the response above on where Petit Paris bakes is directly from the owners – i.e. at the premises and they have two chefs. Limi did mention that they are looking into finding another venue to do their baking. It wasn’t clear if this would be in addition to 10 Church St, or instead of. On a previous visit, a staffer had told me, too, that the baking wasn’t done on the premises, but this staffer was also unable to tell me more about the individual cakes.

  9. I absolutely love this place! And, as for the “pricey” label, I usually get a baguette and iced tea which comes out to about $10. The baguette is large enough for two lunches. I went to Panera the other day and had a sandwich and drink and it came out to $12.

    Yes, the macarons are pricey… but quite frankly if they were cheaper I’d eat a lot more, which would be very bad for my waistline!

  10. I am a macaron addict (used to go to Pierre Herme and Laduree every week for years when I was in Paris), and I can tell you one thing: these macarons are AMAZING.

    In reply to some comments above, these macarons are bigger than those from laduree (i was there yesterday), and at least as good. True, they are slightly more expensive (5c), but when you consider the 1h wait outside laduree, it’s a no brainer. Plus when you add the box at ld, they cost more than $3 each!

    Haven’t found better macarons around here, that’s for sure.

    As for the pastries, they are overall good and fresh.

    The owners are very nice, but they can be a bit stressed during the busy times.

    Pour conclure, c’est un cafe tres charmant, qui offre des tres bons produits. Je reviendrai!

  11. I stopped in the day they opened; well, the doors were open, but the cash register wasn’t working yet, so I couldn’t buy anything. I walked around and admired the wares. When I asked if the baked goods were made in-house, the young woman working there told me that they were delivered from New York (she said the sandwiches were made in-house). It’s possible that now things are being baked on Church St. But I had the same reaction as one of the posters above–what I want is a bakery where they actually DO the baking on premises!

  12. Petit Paris is a gem of a cafe on Church Street. The people who own it and run it are hard working and a joy to speak with. A relaxed place to sip some coffee and have one of the many delicious macarons they offer. Sandwiches are well made and quite filling. A perfect fit for Church Steet! Looking forward to what goodies they will be offering in the near future. I wish them the Best of Success in their venture.

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