In a city where bakeries are more plentiful than actual berets, pastry maestro Philippe Conticini's La Pâtisserie des Rêves—a futuristic gallery-like shop in Paris where sweet-toothed visitors ogle spectacular pastries and gâteaux—makes a fresh addition. Conticini opened his pâtisserie in September 2009 after closing his previous pastry-focused enterprise, Exceptions Gourmandes, a year earlier. The author of several cookbooks, including "Sensations Nutella," a book devoted entirely to recipes made with the addictive chocolate hazelnut spread, the Parisian chef is no stranger to distinctive projects, baking eccentricities and sensational confections.
The seven-month-old pâtisserie, located on an unassuming (but posh) street on Paris' Left Bank, features a fantastic display of seasonal cakes and tarts, as well as classic goodies with inspired twists. Try the rich praline cream-filled Paris-Brest, a "reconstructed" Saint-Honore cake, or larger-than-life sweet brioche rolls that unfurl into sticky strips of fleshy pastry.
Unlike most pastry shops that keep consumables behind a counter, Conticini's displays his creations throughout the entire space, adding to the gallery-like ambiance. While many items are self-serve (a rarity amongst Parisian pâtisseries), a central island showcases a series of temperature-controlled glass domes containing demo desserts that, when chosen for purchase, come fresh from the back kitchen.