There are truly too many great pastry shops in Paris. It is very difficult to choose which one to share with you first. After some thoughts, I decided to introduce a French patisserie called Bontemps. I am not sure what the origin of the name of the shop is. It is a combination of 2 French words “bon” (good) and “temps” (time). No matter when you go, you will surely spend some good time there.
The pastry shop recently opened its tea house. I couldn’t wait to try their cakes with my friends. The tea house is relatively big and can accommodate around 20 2-person tables. We arrived in the middle of the afternoon in early winter, it was completely full. The waiter, probably the owner, needed to go from time to time to the entrance to “persuade” clients to leave. We insisted on waiting outside. Knowing that it was cold, he kindly let us in giving us the only table left.
The inside of tea house is splendidly decorated, resembling a small hall in a palace. The hanging lights with various shapes from the high ceiling form a beautiful poetry picture. It looks like an inverted version of candles floating on a river at night. I almost felt some gentle breeze touching my face.
When I was immersed in this beautiful environment, my friend reminded me not to forget the goal of coming here: tasting their famous sablés (a biscuit similar to the British shortbread) and their cakes. We ordered a set of 4 small tarts, 2 cakes and 2 teas.
4 small tarts :
- Hazelnut from Piedmont,
- Caramel Banana Flambé / Peanuts from Soustons,
- Passion Fruit from Reunion Island,
- Comice Pear / Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla / Brown Rum
- Gianduja Chocolate Cake (crispy praline chocolate, chocolate ganache, serpentine Gianduja and roasted piedmont hazelnuts)
- Caramel Banana Flambé Cake (bananas flambé with brown rum, soft caramel and Soustons peanuts)
The cakes and little tarts are put on sublime plates, each of which has a different design. The small sablés tarts are super yummy. The sweet sablés are soft with a subtle hint of salt from flower of salt (fleur de sel). They are like very soft and fine sand pressed together. When I bit them gently, they fell apart gradually in my mouth.
Among the 4 tarts we chose, we liked the Caramel Banana Flambé / Peanuts from Soustons the most and that’s why later we ordered a big version : the Caramel Banana Flambé Cake. The interesting cream mixture of caramel and banana flambé fuses with the cracked sablés to melt in the mouth. However, the Caramel Banana Flambé Cake disappointed us as it was heavier and there are less sablés to go with the cream for each bite. We liked it less. Similar to the Caramel Banana Flambé Cake, the Gianduja Chocolate Cake is to a slight degree thicker and more compact. The hazelnut taste in the Gianduja chocolate is not too strong; it is well-balanced. If it were, it would overwhelm the taste of the chocolate. The 2 teas are light and pleasantly scented and they go well with the cakes and tarts.
If you live here or visit Paris, do go and pass an enjoyable afternoon there trying their sablés and cakes. You may also buy some to take away if you are short of time.
Environment / Atmosphere: 4.5
It was slightly too noisy as the tea house was full all the time, but I like the design of the tea house very much.
Appearance / design of desserts: 4
All the desserts are very nicely served on pretty plates. The appearance of the desserts themselves (those we tried) is somehow ordinary. However, the shape of sablés tarts/cakes for take away are beautiful.
The sablés are the best I have ever tried. The cakes are tasty too, inconsiderably too sweet and too heavy. They fare worse than the small tarts.
Good and fast service. Friendly and helpful staff.
Price-performance ratio: 4.5
It is the average price of eating a nice cake in a tea house in Paris. The quality of cakes and service are good too.
Add: 57 rue de Bretagne 75003 Paris
Tel: 01 42 74 10 68
Métro: Arts et Métiers (Line 3 & 11), Temple (Line 3), République & Filles du Calvaire (Line 8)
Price: cakes from 8€; a tea from 8€
Opening hours: every day, check from the net or call them to ask for the exact times
Remarks: Tea time starting only from 4pm on weekends; brunch from 11am to 3:30pm on weekends.