IHG Travel Blog

Parisian pairings: Paintings and pastries

Parisian Pairings_(1)

There are two things that most people travel to Paris for — beautiful, iconic artwork and tasty, equally iconic pastries. Paris is full of art museums with some of the finest art collections in the world. In addition to this love for art, the French also have the reputation for being some of the best pastry makers in the world. While the city is famous for paintings and pastries, it’s also famous for the legendary lines that form of visitors waiting to catch a glimpse of the artistic masterpieces that call Paris home.

Line to see the Mona Lisa – Photo by Selena N. B. H.

If standing in a line for hours isn’t quite your idea of a perfect vacation, we don’t blame you. But, it would be almost blasphemous to visit Paris and not reflect on the works of art found there.

So, we’ve found a solution that allows you to appreciate paintings and pastries! It’s no surprise that many of Paris’s pastries are pretty perfect counterparts for its famous works of art. We’ve paired up some of the most iconic art works found in Paris with a pastry that captures their true essence. Head to the closest patisserie, and munch on these pastries while you mull over artistic geniuses of days gone by.

Mona Lisa and the Croissant

Mona Lisa Image Source: The Lourve. Croissant Image Source: Patrik Jones

The Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, is arguably the most famous resident of the Lourve, and possibly all of Paris. Which is why her pastry pairing is none other than the croissant. The croissant is another Parisian staple, and just like the Mona Lisa, it’s almost expected that you enjoy it while visiting the city. The croissant’s layers of buttery warmth inside a crusty, yet beautiful, exterior perfectly capture Mona Lisa’s warm, complex smile.

Where to find the painting: The Lourve
Where to find the pastry: Blé Sucré

Ballet Rehearsal on Stage and Pain au Chocolat

Degas Image Source: Musee d’Orsay. Pain au Chocolat Image Source: chrisjtse

Edgar Degas is a renowned French painter, sculptor, and print maker. But, Degas is most well known for capturing the movement and grace of ballerinas, and Ballet Rehearsal on Stage is one of the most exquisite examples of his work. It’s soft and airy, but the chiaroscuro (contrast of dark and light) hints that something darker lies beneath the surface. This contrast is perfectly mimicked in the delectable Pain au Chocolat. The airy dough surrounds one or two pieces of dark chocolate, just like the contrast of light and dark in Degas’s work.

Where to find the painting: Musee d’Orsay
Where to find the pastry: La Pâtisserie by Cyril Lignac

Field of Banana Trees and Mille-Feuille

Renoir Image Source: Musee d’Orsay. Image Source: Francois Schnell

Pierre-Auguste Renoir is another French painter who is famous for his Impressionist portraits. However, his masterpiece Field of Banana Trees takes a step away from portraits. The superb landscape displays Renoir’s love affair with nature and talent in composition. Appropriately, the pastry paring for this painting is mille-feuille, which literally translates into a thousand leaves. Discover your own love affair with a different type of nature as the endless layers of crème-filled, flaky dough melts in your mouth.

Where to find the painting: Musee d’Orsay
Where to find the pastry: La Chocolaterie de Jacques Genin

Iris Bed in Monet’s Garden and Macarons

Monet Image Source: Musee d’Orsay. Macaron Image Source: Julien Haler

Claude Monet loved his garden, he even said that it was his “most beautiful masterpiece.” That’s perfectly displayed in his work Iris Bed in Monet’s Garden. The vibrant violets, lush greens, and warm pinks and reds make it difficult to look away from this painting. You can almost smell the fragrant flowers as you gaze upon it. Macaroons are arguably an art form themselves, and their saturated hues and delicate taste make them the perfect accompaniment to Monet’s masterpiece.

Where to find the painting: Musee d’Orsay
Where to find the pastry: Pierre Hermé

A Table of Desserts and Tartes aux Fruits

de Heem Image Source: The Lourve. Tartes aux Fruits Image Source: Kurtis Garbutt

Upon first glance, A Table of Desserts by Jan Davidsz de Heem looks like a fairly haphazard collection of fruits, instruments, and wine. However, de Heem packed this painting to the hilt with moral symbolism. The indulgences of the day are laid out upon the table, while a lone watch strap reminds us of the moderation that is necessary. The same care and discretion used by de Heem is exhibited when masterful French pastry chefs create tartes aux fruits. An abundance of fruit is delicately piled atop delicious crème and a cookie-like crust. While it is an indulgence, its petite size and fresh fruits make it one that we’ll happily take in moderation.

Where to find the painting: The Lourve
Where to find the pastry: Le Boulanger de Monge

Whether you decide to stand in line and await a glimpse at a masterpiece or you choose to find a perfect patisserie and indulge a little, remember to take the time to reflect on the beauty that is truly everywhere in Paris. Bon appétit!

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