Who's peeking in my Hermé bag?

The Best Handbags from Paris Pâtisseries

I was in the Place de Saint Sulpice the other day, minding my own business. Sitting by the fountain, looking up at the St Sulpice church and nibbling on a Hermé Mosaïc macaron, I realised a few people looked curious as to what was in my bag.

Who’s peeking in my Hermé bag?

Anyone who knows their Paris pâtisserie bags will recognise it’s not just any old bag. Its leafy holes are Pierre Hermé’s signature: telling passers-by that you’re about to indulge in his Picasso-of-Pastry macarons, pastries or chocolates. This time I did have rather a lot of sweet works of art tucked away, and the wafting temptations of certain viennoiseries were inviting me through these sneaky-peeky-leafy holes. I kept my French art of self-control and resisted, keeping them for the family’s enjoyment later.

Suddenly I became the Paris Pastry Bag Awareness Committee, noticing many more bags being sported in between juggling cameras and umbrellas. Umbrellas?  Yes, yes. You’ve heard about the Paris summer?  Someone forgot to lay on the sunshine and it has been raining almost every day in July and much of June.

Perhaps the most recognised pastry bag is from Ladurée. Louis Ernest Ladurée would have been amazed 150 years after opening his shop to see how many tourists now show off the characteristic pastel shade of green with his name cameoed in the centre, bordered by leaves. Ah, leaves again, but more as a Versailles look. The golden rope is comfortable poised on the wrist, ladies, and its shape is ideal for positioning Paris guide books after your macaron tastings. To receive a bag like this, however, you need to invest in rather a few macarons or pastries. Most times I go in and buy 4 or 5 macarons, I’m flashed the Parisian shot and they’re stuffed into a pastel green paper bag.

What do you think of this bag with a silvery rope?

Fancy looking chocolates with a croc look?

Jean-Charles Rochoux‘s chocolates are given the classy treatment with the packaging plus bag to escort your tablets and sculptures. His signature muscular sculptures of male busts in chocolate are amusing. I learned the French phrase the other day from my daughter, who was referring to someone’s “tablette de chocolat”: it simply means they have lovely looking muscles, hence Rochoux’s muscles. Which reminds me (mussels is my wave of thinking here): did you know that Jean-Paul Hévin has a hot chocolate flavoured with oysters? I digress. Back to bag lady.

The glitzy, shinier look?

Christophe Roussel’s large, shiny black bags are rather stylish.  Why are they large?  When you order just one of his tall Réligieuse pastries, it’s packaged separately in its own tower box to ensure that it’s still perfectly intact by the time you arrive home.  As I no longer live in Paris and travel in the RER commuter train, I can tell you that attention to detail like this for top-of-the-range pastries is much appreciated!

He also thinks of the environment with the hessian bags to reuse… Good idea – I think it’s time I paid them a visit in the 7th this time and replenished my stocks since Antoine raves about his pastries.

The shopping bag look

Patrick Roger, on the other hand, knows how to concoct the perfect little bright green handbag to say, ‘I’ve been there and tasted his chocolates and caramels. They’re chic and dainty, resembling the shape of a Birkin bag but a paper DIY version without the worry of choosing which leather and colours of trimmings needed. Un Dimanche à Paris have also jumped on board with a mini bag for their chocolates, but personally I prefer Patrick’s. Roger; over and out.

Dainty bags to show off your love for French chocolates

Pain de Sucre has chosen a clever colour – resembling the classy signature orange used by the luxury Hermès store on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. No, not Hermé, but Hermès. Someday, I’ll earn money to buy a Hermès Birkin bag but while I’m dreaming about winning the Loto (ok, so I never buy tickets in the first place), I’ll continue with the pastries; at least I can change the colours frequently to adapt to sweet mood swings.

So what was in that first Hermé bag? Some macarons, of course, but also Infiniment Vanille (his vanilla tart, amazing!) and these Ispahan croissants, particularly sweet coated in sugar, dried raspberries but somehow we managed them for breakfast next morning…

There are many more pâtisseries to choose from in Paris, bien sûr.

What are your favourite bags that you like to keep as souvenirs of your trips to Paris?
And a double question whammy: what flavours are in Hermé’s Mosaïc macaron?

 

28 replies
  1. Kate
    Kate says:

    I think my favorite is the black with the pop of green. Very clean and stylish, though I do like the idea of a environmentally friendly bag as well (obviously). The pastries inside are the show-stoppers of course; I would probably forget how it was packaged after eating that beautifully flaky and perfectly executed croissant. Definitely an acceptable breakfast food.

    Reply
  2. Brooks at Cakewalker?The Sweet & Savory Collection
    Brooks at Cakewalker?The Sweet & Savory Collection says:

    Jill, This is a terrific post from start to finish. There’s no denying the French have mastered the art of self control—something I would no doubt lack especially if I were in the shopping district you were. From the photos they have the upper hand on stylish packaging too. I rather liked the croc bag. Which was my favorite? In the end, the one that glazed my eyes over was… the… Ispahan croissant!

    Reply
  3. Lora
    Lora says:

    I love this post. So creative. I have a ton of shopping bags I’ve saved over the years from high end stores Ike Tiffany’s. They do make pretty accessories.

    Reply
  4. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    One thing similar to French and Japanese is that we do care about bags and wrappings beyond the products. I enjoyed looking at all kinds of bags, and yes, let’s pray hard to win Lotto to buy Hermès Birkin bag!! LOL. By the way, my gosh, after seeing the last photo, I don’t know how I can go to sleep….

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Now you mention it, Nami, I can’t sleep now thinking that I could try and invent a posh bag like this that can hold as much butter in these croissants without making the bag greasy!

      Reply
  5. Kim Bee
    Kim Bee says:

    Gosh Jill, most places here charge you for bags and they aren’t even pretty. I like the leaf one best. It’s so cute. I sure need to come to Paris. I think I’d never want to leave.

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Don’t be fooled, Kim: we’re also charged for bags in Paris but I should perhaps have mentioned that these are free. Probably since you’re paying so much for the contents.

      Reply
  6. Vicki Bensinger
    Vicki Bensinger says:

    When I was in Paris, just once in my life, I saved the Laduree. At and have it filled with Paris books and maps. However of those you’ve showed, I wish I’d picked up a Herme’s and Rochoux’s bag, I love the way they look.

    What a fun post. Now I’m going to find myself obsessed with bag hoarding next time I travel overseas.

    Reply
  7. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    I love this post! What fun! And as have the Pierre Herme bag but as for the rest, I can see I need to catch up. When I come to Paris next will you bring me around and help me collect a few?

    Reply
  8. parisbreakfast
    parisbreakfast says:

    Adorable collection and much preferable to fancy high-end over priced highly coveted Hermes bag IMHO. No one wonders what’s lurking inside those Hermes bags..
    But what do you call these paper bags?
    A sac or cabas?
    I’ve yet to figure that one out..
    merci carolg

    Reply

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  1. […] Naturally, the radio team wanted to taste some macarons on air and so I brought along one of my Frenchy cooler pastry bags. Being a huge chutney fan as he is, I offered him his first macaron – although it was a curry […]

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