Parisian Living

The Sweet Life: Japanese Pastry Chefs Are Making Waves in Paris

by Sivan Askayo

Japanese Pastries in Paris, like MORI YOSHIDA's pretty cakes and tarts.

Mori Yoshida

Walking through the streets of Paris, past famous monuments and cult patisserie shops, it’s hard not to notice the lines filling up with tourists. The Japanese, in particular, have become huge fans of French sweets in recent years, thanks in part to the now-global reach of brands like Ladurée.

Where to eat Japanese Pastries in Paris like Mori Yoshida's ice cream cakes.

Mori Yoshida

The influence between the two cultures is far from one-sided, however. Asian ingredients and flavors are no longer rare on French menus, as French chefs and patissiers are won over by the restraint and precision that dominate Japanese cuisine – a refreshing alternative to over-the-top traditional fare.

Ciel bakery is one of the best for Japanese Pastries in Paris, and these two customers ordering at the counter know it.

Ciel

This symbiotic relationship has not escaped the pastry arena in Paris. Among the most popular pastry shops in Paris today, you’ll find more than one Japanese star leaving its mark on French and international palates.

Sadaharu Aoki refined Japanese Pastries at Paris bakery (left). A Japanese waitress setting the table with a Japanese pastry and tea (right).

Sadaharu Aoki

Sadaharu Aoki
Color is the first thing you notice upon entering one of Aoki’s boutiques in Paris. For a second, I thought I was looking at colorful Lego building blocks, perfectly arranged in the window display. The cakes were ordered by color shade and hues, and I was almost (almost.) tempted to walk out without my selection rather than see the perfect harmony of cakes disturbed.

The colorful Japanese Pastries at Sadaharu Aoki's Paris bakery.

Sadaharu Aoki

Beside the chocolate, eclairs, and macarons, there is a great selection of mini patisseries cubes, each shaped like a special jewel. Be sure to check out Aoki’s special summer line, the ZEN Nouveauté D’été.

A pink chocolate Japanese cake at Paris bakery Sadaharu Aoki, with a pot of Japanese tea.

Sadaharu Aoki

Aoki’s boutique are located throughout Paris in the 5th, 6th, 9th and 15th arrondissements. View all of their locations here.

35 Rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 45 44 48 90. Metro: Rennes

The counter of Japanese Pastries at Paris' Sadaharu Aoki bakery.

Delicate colorful Japanese Pastries in Paris at Sadaharu Aoki bakery (left). The bakery counter with packets of chocolates (right).

Sadaharu Aoki

Ciel
Ciel, which also has a location in the 5th, specializes in one kind of dessert: the angel cake, an airy, butter-free cake that always reminds me of the sand castles cakes I used to make at the beach as a child.

The colorful and spongy looking Japanese Pastries at Paris bakery Ciel with the pastry chef in the background.

Japanese Pastries in Paris at Ciel bakery are beautiful and presented in origami boxes.

Ciel

Ciel’s circular creations come in a variety of flavors and colors (Vanilla, Chocolate, Caramel, Raspberry, Green Tea, Earl Grey and Orange Blossom), and be sure to check in regularly for seasonal specials (a cherry blossom cake with sour cherry jam at the moment). The boutique itself is quite small and simply designed, and there are only eight seats around the counter.

A Japanese baker at Ciel, packing Japanese Pastries in Paris.

Ciel

If you’re getting your treats to-go, the delicate sales lady will wrap the cake in a beautiful white box folded like an origami. The packaging alone almost warrants a visit…

A Japanese baker at Ciel, packing Japanese Pastries in Paris.

Ciel

Beside angel cakes, Ciel serves assorted Japanese teas. At lunch and in the evenings, savory cakes are also available, tapas-style, to enjoy alongside a selection of Japanese wine, sake, schochu and whiskey.

Japanese Pastries in Paris at Ciel bakery come in origami boxes.

Ciel

Ciel. 3 rue Monge, 75005 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 43 29 40 78. Metro: Maubert – Mutualité

The beautiful Japanese pastries of Mori Yoshida in Paris.

Creamy and light Japanese pastries set out on the counter of Mori Yoshida's Paris bakery.

Mori Yoshida

Mori Yoshida
Yoshida’s patisseries come closest to what I call perfection. Each one looks like a Japanese tree in a beautiful, colorful Bonsai garden. Yoshida, the young chef, varies his offerings from one season to another by pairing seasonal fruits with traditional flavors.

Japanese baker in Paris, MORI YOSHIDA in his moss-green overalls (left). A staff-member at his Japanese Paris bakery smiling and wearing an orange apron (right).

Mori Yoshida

Alongside the artful patisseries, Yoshida also manufactures chocolate. He describes his role as curating the richness, perfume, acidity, and bitterness of chocolate in order to bring it to his eager customers.

A Japanese woman in an orange apron, holding one of Mori Yoshida's Japanese pastries in Paris (left). A Japanese cheesecake (right).

Mori Yoshida

I liked the simplicity of the design of this boutique — white walls, one long counter, and two big wooden displays. You don’t need much when the pastries themselves are so colorful and creative. When we visited the boutique, Yoshida himself peeked in from the kitchen to share a few tidbits of his inspiration with us.

Japanese cake on a plate, with layers of green tea and chocolate in Paris.

Sadaharu Aoki

Mori Yoshida. 65 avenue de Breteuil, 75007 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)6 47 34 29 74. Metro: Ségur/Duroc

The window of Japanese bakery in Paris, Sadaharu Aoki, the place to go for Japanese cakes.

Sadaharu Aoki

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Written by Sivan Askayo for the HiP Paris Blog. All photographs by Sivan Askayo. These images are part of the book Patisseries Guide to Paris by Sharon Heinrich, from Paris Chez Sharon. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Written By

Sivan Askayo

Sivan is a freelance Travel Photographer. She contributes to leading magazines such as Travel+Leisure, Conde Nast Traveller, Lonely Planet Traveller, Monocle and Elle Decor.  When she is not globe trotting on assignments, she splits her time between Tel Aviv and New York, where she has been living for the last 12 years. She will always find an opportunity to visit and shoot Paris, hoping a few times a year.  She loves coffee and will never be on a diet that would require her to give up chocolates and desserts.  View Website

5 comments on “The Sweet Life: Japanese Pastry Chefs Are Making Waves in Paris

I love the clean, crisp looks of Japanese bakeries and their pastries are always so delicate. The attention to detail and design applies to both the shop and the products!

I agree, and I highly recommend to follow the blog ‘Paris Chez Sharon’. The writer knows everything about Patisseries in Paris. She can be your best source for these in Paris

Who needs food when you have patisseries? I love the delicate artfulness that the owners have incorporated.

Wow those look so good

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