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Angelina Café In Paris (Gourmet Eats Near The Louvre Museum)

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Angelina Cafe: Paris’s Best Hot Chocolate and more… much more.

Pouty lips and a slinky, slender body — It-Girl allure seems a common birthright for les Parisiennes.  I’ve been visiting Paris for scarcely five days, but I’ve already hoofed it from la rive gauche à la rive droite and back again countless times.  I’ve walked down a hundred boulevards and climbed dozens of staircases.  I must be on the fast track to being a body-double for Marion Cotillard, right? But between me and the lean Parisian figure I crave stands the Angelina Café.

On the Rue de Rivoli, nestled among the posh hotels and chic boutiques opposite the Louvre, lies this guidebook perennial. Of all cafes in Paris, Angelina Cafe Paris is sweets heaven; you may sit down for a proper dejeuner, but dessert is clearly the main event.  For every calorie I’ve burned there’s one with my name on it lying in wait within its decadent specialties.

It’s a fairy’s café, romantically and whimsically decorated.  A high ceiling, mirrors, gilt frames, and a large pastoral mural make the main dining hall feel spacious.  But actually, the seating is quite tight.  Packed around me sit weary Louvre walkers, models, and Japanese honeymooners.   There are girlfriend-getaway groups of un certain âge wearing newly purchased couture and guilty-pleasure smiles.

I spy a few mother-daughter outings.  The little girls sit scanning the room, aware of the specialness of this lunch.  Seeing them I feel a sharp, reflexive kick to my homesickness trigger.   It’s a weekday afternoon edging toward tea-time, and a queue has formed at the door.  You get the feeling this is par for the course here, as the wait staff and mâitre d’ work assiduously, communicating unremittingly, almost dancing around you as desserts and drinks fly from the kitchen; Angelina shows no signs of slowing down.

[pullquote]Paris is about indulgence, joie de vivre, living in the moment, is it not?  It’s not about calorie counting or speed walking to burn off your travel experiences.  Paris IS indulgence, and this is why I’ve come– to dive in.  I’m putting guilt on hold. [/pullquote] One suspects the lunchtime menu is intentionally light.  For example, you’ll find gazpacho soup and salads like smoked salmon and Niçoise with balsamic vinaigrette. No one is there for the salad.  Not even the models. One delight recommended by so many guidebooks is L’Africain, a fabulously rich hot chocolate drink made nearly legendary here.

Angelina cafe Paris otherwise offers the expected drinks menu, including an airy cappuccino and a down-to-earth espresso.  I’ve lost track of how many cups of strong coffee I’ve had today, but I must have at least one more.  My fickle palate shies away from L’Africain, which leaves me contentedly focused on my dessert, the Mont Blanc. And it’s almost here.

I can’t help thinking meanwhile that Louvre tickets permit exit and re-entry on the same day.  I think I’ll tackle the Mont Blanc as a sweet interlude between galleries next time I come.  The damage done at the Angelina, calorically speaking, can probably be burned off by a couple of solid hours of walking around the Louvre’s seemingly endless exhibits.  And there’s always the option to peruse its halls while power-walking… What?  Wait a minute.

I think I may be going too far.  As much as I want that slinky little figure, this is no time to worry about it.  Paris is about indulgence, joie de vivre, living in the moment, is it not?  It’s not about calorie counting or speed walking to burn off your travel experiences.  Paris indulgence, and this is why I’ve come– to dive in.  I’m putting guilt on hold.

And there’s no better time for this kind of resolution.  With the arrival of my Mont Blanc, my meal at the Angelina has now truly begun.  The creation comes elegantly layered: chestnut puree icing, whipped cream, and meringue.  As I burrow through the summit and delve my spoon inside to scoop out its whipped cream, I own a guilt-less smile.

I devour its dome and quickly hollow out the mountain until I pierce the meringue bottom, which is crunchy white snow.  From peak to base, this dessert has stunned my typically olive-loving, savory-savoring palate.  I usually shy away from the sugary delicacies like these, but the meringue is so flavorful I find it easy to forget it’s not much more than a cloud of sugar.

When I look around once again, I feel as though I’ve been lost in a reverie.   I observe that there are other desserts being served, but with at least one on each table, the Mont Blanc clearly dominates.  Cranking out what must be hundreds each day, the Angelina even sells them from a bright display case at the front of the establishment.  The souvenir-loaded take-away section has its own queue and cadre of busy staff.

I can’t help ogling the desserts I didn’t choose on the way out.  So many delicacies, so little time.  This dreamy café’s other offerings will have to wait until my next visit.  Hopefully one day I’ll bring my mother here…or a daughter (even more a pipe dream since I have none as of yet).  And as for the calories, the indulgence was worth it—down to the last spoonful. Angelina Cafe, Paris, Rue de Rivoli, 226, across from the Louvre, Metro: Concorde or Tuileries * All photos by Karen Regn © All rights reserved

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20 thoughts on “Angelina Café In Paris (Gourmet Eats Near The Louvre Museum)”

  1. Karen, I love this post, but I feel as if just from reading it I need to go power walking now… Oh! I take that back. I mean… I feel as if I need to go eat some “sugar clouds” right NOW. At Angelina Cafe would be just fine 🙂

  2. Great photos & post Karen.
    I will definetly take into consideration your recommendations next time I’m in Paris!

  3. Absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS, Karen!! Sigh, you’ve given me a luscious little escape today, put a huge smile on my face, and made certain that I go home tomorrow and made something decadent and wonderful. 🙂

  4. You’ve discovered one of my favourite Paris haunts. On your return you must try the chocolate, but my hint would be to go with a friend so you can split both!!

  5. Thanks so much for all the great comments!
    Yes! I can’t wait to go back to the Angelina with a big group of friends and attack the dessert menu with fresh vigor! Yes to sugar clouds and endlessly flowing chocolat, there’s no better place than Paris 🙂

  6. Just love how you called Angelina a fairy’s cafe. It does indeed invite notions of whimsy and romance. My friends and I did the exact same thing when we were there — spying out the others in the room and possibly a famous guest. Ah, the sugar may have gone to our heads, and she was more likely just a look-alike. Yes, definitely the place not to lose weight in Paris, among many. As you said though, Paris is a city for indulgence. Beautifully and whimsically written, this piece makes me want to return soon! Also, Karen, thank you for the very kind comments on my Napa guest post for The Travel Belles. I really appreciate it.

  7. I always find that going to Europe is it’s own exercise regime. The amount of walking that you do is much more intense than anything back in the States. I think it is okay to indulge when you’re constantly on the move. I know I ate like there was more tomorrow in Spain and didn’t gain anything.

  8. Cafes are one of my favorite places. The photos alone make me want to visit Angelina but then your talk of the hot chocolate and desserts- I’m sold!

  9. You know what? Your article and pics have made me hungry- I’m off to eat something. And I’l finally be back in Europe in a few weeks where I can get GOOD pastries… (hard to find in Mexico)

  10. I got the recommendation to try this from so many people and never made it there while I was in Paris. Next time, I won’t let up until I find it!

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  12. That does it. I’m stopping off in Paris for more than just a couple of hours next time I’m en route from Sicily to the UK. What is it about the pastries on Continental Europe that can turn even the most hardened cheese-fiend into a sugar-monster?

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