Christmas is the sweetest time of year in Paris, and even if you can’t make it across the pond, Paris gourmet treats can make their way to your doorstep. Although there are many gourmet specialty shops peppered throughout the city neighborhoods, two venerable institutions, Fauchon and Hediard stand proudly across from one another on the Place de la Madeleine on Paris’s Right Bank. Nowadays, both of these stores have products that can be ordered over the internet.
Both Hediard and Fauchon goumet food stores were founded in the 19th century – and both their original owners hailed from Normandy. This comes as no surprise to any of you who’ve spent any time in the Normandy region – where everything rich, creamy and buttery finds its way onto your plate.
Even if you can’t make it to Paris for the Christmas holidays – or if you’d just like to share a little French good living with friends or family, these two shops have gone global in a big way. And it’s not a new concept, Fauchon joined forces with Air France very early in its history to take advantage of unusual products from around the world which were flown in thanks to Air France. For example, Fauchon brought in such unusual new tastes such as lotus root and avocado. They also began offering flavored teas. At the turn of the 20th century, Fauchon’s five o’clock tea salon was a great success.
Fauchon has opened shops thoughout the world and linked up with Neimann Marcus in the US, but if you do visit Paris, be sure to take a look at the Fauchon windows when you’re visiting the Madeleine Church which is right on the same square. You can compare the two gourmet giants for yourself to decide whether you prefer Hediard or Fauchon.
Hediard ‘s history goes back to the mid-19th century (1854) and likewise, its enterprising founder, Ferdinand Hediard, went to all the corners of the world to bring exotic flavors to a Parisian clientele clamoring for new tastes and food experiences.
Now, we can enjoy some of the products that have been Christmas treats in France for decades like ‘marrons glaces’ which are sugared chestnuts – once avocados were the exotic treat for Parisians, and now, gourmet chocolates and apple flavored teas are treats for the rest of the world.
24 26 Place de la Madeleine
Tel. 01 70 39 38 00
21 Place de la Madeleine