I scream, you scream, and the French definitely scream for ice cream. In summer, it’s a common sight on the boulevards and avenues of Paris seeing locals enjoy their ice cream cones and cups. Another common site is Parisians patiently waiting in line, sometimes up to 30 minutes, to purchase their favorite flavors.
Not only are there hundreds of free-standing ice cream shops in the city, but many of the top chocolate and pastry shops offer their own line of ice cream and sorbets at their shops. Here, we share our top picks of ice cream brands and shops in Paris (in no particular order).
Ask any Parisian what their favorite ice cream is, and most of them will resoundingly say Berthillon. Proof of that is the long line at the original shop on the Ile Saint Louis, a tiny island in the Seine River. In 1954, Raymond Berthillon, who owned a small hotel on Ile Saint Louis with his wife and mother, dusted off an ice cream maker he bought many years before and put it to work. He used only the purest and freshest ingredients: whole milk, creme fraiche he bought at the market, and fresh fruit, and soon after, local students were swarming the little shop after school for their afternoon ice cream fix. In 1961, the popular Gault-Millau culinary guide praised the ice cream, and the rest is Parisian history. The original shop sells all 48 flavors of their ice cream and sorbets to go and also has a cozy tea salon where you can indulge in their ice cream specialties along with cakes and pastries.
Pro Tip: Sadly the Berthillon shop on Ile Saint Louis is closed in August, but Berthillon is still sold in cafes and restaurant windows all over Paris.
A chain of shops producing Italian-style, artisanal gelato in France, Amorino has taken Paris by storm in recent years.
What makes Amorino stand out is its special presentation. When you purchase a cone, instead of using an ice cream scoop, they use a flat paddle to pack the ice cream, then create a series of layers that resemble rose petals. The effect can be quite artistic, especially if you order two or three contrasting color flavors. There are 20 Amorino shops in Paris and ice cream and sorbet flavors include black cherry, dulce de leche, passion fruit, Indian mango, Sri Lanka coconut, and blueberry cheesecake. The menu at Amorino also lists macarons stuffed with gelato, milkshakes, and sorbet drinks.
3. Une Glace A Paris
In 2015, Emmanuel Ryon and Olivier Menard, who both had long, distinguished careers in pastry and ice cream making, pooled their culinary talents to open Une Glace a Paris, an ice cream shop. They sourced ingredients and flavorings locally and from around the globe to produce superior quality ice cream and sorbet. Their venture paid off in the high culinary circles of France when Ryon was awarded the top culinary prize, Meilleur Ouvrier de France, for his pastry and ice cream.
Their imaginative pairings extend to mixing sweet and savory flavors and spices together, including coffee with cardamom, green apple and buckwheat, and pear and anise. Their sorbet flavors also have unusual pairings such as cranberry with goji berries, grapefruit with rose, wild strawberry and hibiscus, and carrot, ginger, and orange. Keep your eyes open for the refrigerated case that has beautiful and tempting ice cream cakes and pastries mixed with ice cream.
4. Pierre Herme
Pastry chef and entrepreneur extraordinaire, Pierre Herme was once named the Picasso of pastry by a food critic. Herme cashed in on the phrase and now uses the #picassoofpastry for his social media.
He has built a pastry empire, and his wildly popular macarons are favored and savored in his shops in Paris and throughout the world.
One of the first pastry chefs to introduce a line of ice creams, Herme went for intense, exotic flavors and dazzling presentation. His designer ice cream sandwiches, named Miss Glagla (perhaps a riff on Lady Gaga) are packaged in shiny silver boxes, and flavors include salted butter caramel. Their ice cream pint flavors include rose, raspberry and litchi, Sicilian mandarin, lemon, and basil, dark chocolate with nougatine, sea salt, and black pepper, and vanilla with beans from Tahiti, Madagascar, and Mexico.
Scaramouche is a family-owned ice cream maker located in a small village in the Provence region of France. Besides selling their ice cream in outlets all over France, they have their own shop in the Montmartre district of Paris.
Scaramouche sources their natural ingredients locally, producing artisanal ice cream with raw milk, organic eggs, and fresh country herbs. Their unusual flavor combinations include rosemary and olive oil, honey and thyme, lavender, rose geranium and pistachio, and Provencal saffron, and, in wintertime, black truffle. Sorbet flavors offered are Moroccan mint tea, blood orange, kumquat, Pastis, and verbena.
6. Glace Bachir
France has a longtime association and history with Lebanon, and there is a wide variety of Lebanese food shops and restaurants in Paris. Glace Bachir is a multigenerational ice cream company, originally started in 1936 by a family of four brothers and sisters who made the ice cream in their backyard in Lebanon. The certified organic ice cream is quite rich, so one scoop should suffice. Flavors include rose petal, intense chocolate, pistachio, almond, strawberry, apricot, and coffee. There are two Paris locations, one just across from the Pompidou Museum, the other in Montmartre.
7. Le Bac A Glaces
This unassuming storefront in the upscale Saint Germain des Pres area is so popular in the warmer months that if you don’t get there by early afternoon, they sell out. Le Bac a Glaces has been a family operation with just one location since 1955. They still use traditional methods to produce their ice cream, which contains farm-fresh milk, eggs, and less sugar than most other brands. Some of their more interesting flavors are banana flambe, honey and pine nut, cinnamon, espresso, and halvah. They also offer low sugar sorbets in flavors such as fig and nut, ginger and apricot, strawberry and rose, and lavender peach. Le Bac a Glaces offers ice cream cakes and Christmas logs made with ice cream.
Vegans are in luck when they come to Paris because they can have rich, creamy ice cream with no animal products. Impronta manufactures a range of protein-based ice creams that are low in calories, averaging 104 calories per serving, the same as a medium-sized apple. The ice cream and gelato flavors include lemon avocado, cinnamon banana, organic black sesame, blood orange and ginger, matcha green tea, and ginseng coffee. Impronta also has cold press vegetable juices and a vegan breakfast menu with avocado toast, Bulletproof coffee, and an acai bowl with granola.
Pozzetto offers authentic Italian gelato that is homemade on its premises. Located in the Marais district near the Hotel de Ville/City Hall, Pozzetto has classic gelato flavors such as pistachio, dark chocolate, coconut, Stracciatella, and Gianduja.
Their other location around the corner features a genuine Italian salumeria/delicatessen with a menu of hams, deli meats, and Italian cheeses.
10. Pierre Marcolini
Master chocolatier Pierre Marcolini has now added ice cream to his list of specialties. His line of ice cream pops are customized and hand-dipped. You can select from Madagascar vanilla, coconut, dark chocolate and coconut plus sorbets of yuzu raspberry and mango which are dipped in either milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and salted butter caramel, or milk chocolate and white chocolate with roasted hazelnuts and sea salt. The other frozen treat Pierre Marcolini offers is praline bonbons in packages of six, 10, and 25 pieces.
11. La Glacerie Paris
Pastry chef David Wesmael has created a frozen dessert and ice cream universe at his shop La Glacerie Paris in the Marais district. One of Wesmael’s prize creations is an updated, sophisticated version of an ice cream bomb, a glossy meringue sphere with an ice cream ball inside. You can purchase an individual-sized one or a large one to share. Fillings include cassis, dark chocolate and orange, and vanilla and chestnut. Another frozen delight is frozen chocolate bars with a wafer and fruit filling. Flavors include milk chocolate with passion fruit and raspberry, dark chocolate with matcha tea, and milk chocolate with caramel and hazelnuts.
Pro Tip: Ice cream scoops tend to be smaller in Paris, perhaps because the ice cream is richer. Best to order two scoops unless otherwise noted.