Ah, zut! I thought as I climbed the metro steps. Fat flakes of snow (the wet kind, not the fluffy stuff), twirled about, and my hands were determined not to move much in the cold. Guess I didn’t need to leave Boston. While Paris made the snow just magical enough to be bearable, it was still…cold. Californians have well-earned reputation of being weather-wimps, and I shamelessly associate with them. Not even three years of Boston snows could have me acclimated to any sort of cold. At 32˚F, this was definitely…chilly.
My phone dinged. Estelle, my French professor, told us that every time it snows in Paris (and it snows every year), Parisians rediscover the snow. As a result, many public transit lines are delayed or canceled. Such was the case for my friend, who was now running to the metro.
I walked to the street corner, and, looking up, amidst the flurries, saw the Banque de France regally sitting across the way. To my pleasant surprise, snow photographs marvelously — I’ve never before photographed while it’s been actively snowing. Pleased, I crossed the street and came to the awning of Hugo & Victor. The reason it’s #CroissantChronicles No. 1? It’s a few minutes walk from the office of the French school, and one metro stop away from the classroom. An easy, convenient first stop.
Snow continued to float down from the sky, whipped about by the wind. The pastry cases gleamed, the windows still festive with Christmas decor. Paris does Christmas really well…even though January, it seems. I stood, soaking in the scene (literally — the snow was quite wet), when my friend arrived.
We scurried into the shop, and the storekeeper greeted us kindly with a bonjour. I wish I had gotten his name! He reprimanded me for not waiting inside, as he saw me standing under the awning. I think I’ll have to be back.
On to the real goods: the croissant! Would I go back? Yes. It’s so close to class and overall, the croissant was good. The best? No.
I will say, however, that it was well made. The exterior was glossy and glistening under the warm lights, and many passerby stopped to linger in front of the window. The first bite was crunchy — the texture was definitely there — but not crispy. Crispy lends an air and expectation of being ephemeral. This was a sturdy, crunchy croissant. It did not shatter when I bit it, but the inside was nice and chewy. I’d describe it as rather elastic.
My golden standard of croissants, at the moment, is the one made by Tartine in San Francisco, CA. It’s feathery and beautiful. Hugo & Victor’s croissant was not feathery. It was, however, nice and buttery, so the taste was a winner.
So, if you’re ever wandering through the 7th arrondissement and find yourself on Boulevard Raspail, stop in for a croissant (or any of the other delectable-looking pastries) and a hello from the kind staff.
Stay tuned for the next #CroissantChronicles adventure!
40 Boulevard Raspail, 75007 Paris
Monday-Thursday; Sunday 10H-19H
+33 1 44 39 97 73