Contrary to popular belief, I do not eat a croissant (or two) everyday at breakfast time. As much as I would like to tear into a warm, flaky pastry oozing butter on a daily basis, the truth is that I can’t afford the calories, nor do I fancy getting out of my comfortable pajamas early in the morning just to make a trip to the boulangerie. However, whenever I am forced by circumstances to be out and about at 8 am in the morning, I am not one to begrudge myself of some freshly baked pastries and a hot pot of café creme. And that was how I found myself at Carette having breakfast.
Despite its strategic location right behind Palais Chaillot at Place Trocadero, there were few tourists to be found. Instead, the tea salon was packed with locals, those privileged 16th arrondissement (the equivalent of Upper East Side) dwellers looking elegant and magnificently coiffed even at 8 am on a Friday morning. Many were regulars, judging from the friendly banter with the servers and the numerous bisous happening around the room. If one’s into people watching, this is a prime spot to check out some serious Parisian style.
My order arrived as I was scanning the room, admiring the antiquated finishings and the real-life fashion show going on around me. Parisians are not big on breakfast, satisfied with a cup of café creme (because this is the only time of the day when it is legitimate to add milk to one’s coffee in Paris) and a croissant or a slab of toasted baguette. But if you seek some variety, Carette is a great place to be, its bakery churning out scrumptious viennoiseries and cakes, to more substantial sandwiches for breakfast. Omelette eaters though would unfortunately still need to find another place. I made a beeline for one of my favorite breakfast pastry, the brioche (that Carette offers 3 versions of). Billowing soft with a towering topknot, the brioche was fluffy with the distinctive fine, slightly stretchy crumb. Rich in eggs and butter, it was like eating a salted cloud, the fragrance of superior butter (salty, slightly sweet, with almost a floral aftertaste) lingering on one’s tongue long after the brioche has been gobbled up. Perfect on its own though also good dipped into the steaming cup of café creme, here served with separate pots of coffee and warm milk.
Besides sit-down service, Carette also does a brisk take-out business, the counter laden with beautiful cakes and pastries, the fresh cream on the religeuse still oozing milk at 8 in the morning, and the petit fours so dainty they’d never be mistaken as handmade. A picnic by the Seine or on the Jardin du Trocadero accompanied by sweet things from Carette. Now wouldn’t that be a delicious proposition for my next breakfast?
Carette (2 locations)
4 Place Trocadéro et 11 Novembre, 75016, Paris
25 Place des Vosges, 75003, Paris