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Lille is known for its sweet tooth, and locals are proud of it. This friendly city is made even more welcoming by its long tradition of excellent patisseries and indulgent cakes and bakes. Read on for our round-up of the best places to visit to get your fix. In the words of Oscar Wilde, ‘the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it’.
The house of Hermand started over 50 years ago in the Avesnois, about an hour south-east of Lille, and is all now all grown up with pride of place in Vieux-Lille, plus three other addresses including one in the chic seaside resort of Le Touquet. In 2015, Patrick Hermand won the gold medal for the best artisan in Lille.
There is quite often a queue outside this pastry shop, but it moves briskly and is definitely worth the wait to enjoy, among other wonders, one of their emblematic Merveilleux – a melt-in-the-mouth meringue frosted with whipped chocolate cream and dusted with dark chocolate shavings. They are made in sizes for sharing or individual, and in a variety of flavours.
67 Rue de la Monnaie, 59800 Lille, France +33 03 20 51 99 59
For something off the beaten path, head to this specialist of oriental pastries in Lille. If you are unfamiliar with these traditional treats, or find it hard to make a choice among so many tempting delicacies on offer, the friendly staff will be more than happy to guide you, or simply prepare a sampler of their bestsellers. in our opinion, the almond paste cones are delicious.
32 Place Nouvelle Aventure, 59000 Lille, France +33 03 20 55 58 54
This pastry shop brings elements of faraway places to creative baking as owner Mathieu trained in Strasbourg, Chinon, Tours, Marseille, Angers, Nice, Lithuania and Poland, before settling in Lille. Le Boulangerie Mathieu takes pride in the careful selection of its ingredients using organic produce, AOC butter, quality chocolate and seasonal fruits.
A comparatively new entrant to the pastry offering in Lille, Éclairs Émois is entirely dedicated to éclairs was quick to build a fabulous reputation. Sweet or savoury, their contemporary creations look almost too pretty to eat. But they don’t just look good, they are also absolutely delicious and offer creative flavour combinations such as cassis and violet, salted caramel popcorn and chicory buttercream and brown sugar crackle.