Hot chocolate is nostalgic for me. I grew up in Colorado so I’m no stranger to winters and cold weather. When a particularly good snowstorm would hit, we would spend the whole day sledding at the local sledding hill. When we got our fill, we would run back to the house, breathless and cheeks rosy from the cold, excited to drink hot chocolate.
At that time, it was usually just Swiss Miss. But Swiss Miss on a cold, snowy day was all I ever wanted.
Then I grew up, and hot chocolate felt … juvenile, almost. Why would an adult order hot chocolate when there is coffee, tea, or warm boozy drinks at our disposal?
Well, the Choco Cafe in Prague completely changed my mind. Decadent, rich, & boozy, this hot chocolate had as many similarities to Swiss Miss as Kraft Singles have to Parmigiano Reggiano. Despite looking for years, I never found a hot chocolate similar to the one offered at the Choco Cafe until I discovered the French tradition of chocolat chaud on my recent trip to Paris.
Good chocolat chaud is thick, rich, and velvety-smooth. It isn’t something you grab at a coffee counter to sip while exploring Paris. No, this is an experience that you sit down for, in a proper cafe with cups nestled in saucers.
There are so many options for excellent hot chocolate in Paris, and luckily they are located all over the city. If you find yourself exploring Paris on a chilly day, hitting up one of these cafes is guaranteed to warm you right up!
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Angelina is, without a doubt, the most famous cafe for chocolat chaud in Paris. Located just north of the Tuileries Garden, it is convenient for anyone strolling along the Champs-Élysées, visiting the Louvre, or shopping along the Place de la Madeleine.
You can opt to dine-in or purchase at a counter for take-away, but remember, this is an experience. I recommend you dine-in and really savor the moment.
The famous hot chocolate is their “African” hot chocolate. Why is it African? Because all the cocoa comes from Africa! You will be served with a pitcher that fills up your cup twice along with some whipped cream, so it is a very generous serving.
Because this is popular, you should expect a line. I visited on New Year’s Day around 10 am and was seated right away. I suspect this was an anomaly: every time I walked by otherwise had a line about 20 people deep.
The tearoom is beautiful and the ambiance was pleasant (but hectic). The seating space was more generous than other cafes on this list, so I didn’t feel quite like a sardine.
This hot chocolate is super decadent and very delicious. It was served piping hot and approached being too rich for even me (which is crazy, because I love chocolate). The side of whipped cream helped soften the hot chocolate, but this is the only one I was unable to fully finish.
Yes, the very same Ladurée that is world-famous for their macarons!
You absolutely must purchase macarons from Ladurée when in Paris but you need to dedicate one visit to their hot chocolate.
I recommend visiting the Ladurée on the Champs-Élysées or near Saint Germain on Rue Bonaparte. Not every shop has a restaurant and you’ll need to visit a restaurant to enjoy the chocolat chaud.
I visited around 11:00 am and it wasn’t busy at all. In fact, most of the cafe was empty. I think this was one of the two most beautiful cafes that I visited. I loved the plush chairs and the overall sense of opulence. Overall, I really enjoyed the vibe – I think it was the least hectic of all the cafes.
The hot chocolate was just as decadent as the other cafes, but I found that it was a bit more grainy. I definitely enjoyed it overall, though!
Les Deux Magots
Les Deux Magots is located right in the heart of Saint Germain, putting it practically in the middle of all the major sites in Paris. I stopped in one evening after a busy day of meandering around Paris and found the restaurant to be packed. They definitely stuff the tables in here!
The wait staff seemed a bit annoyed that I was taking up a valuable bistro table as a solo traveler but I didn’t let that ruffle my feathers. Although the service here was more gruff than I expected, I did stop in during the peak dinnertime rush, so I do understand.
I only ordered the hot chocolate and it was delicious. Velvety smooth, dark, and thick, it was less sweet than other hot chocolates on this list but it worked. I enjoyed sitting here sipping my chocolat chaud while reading one of my favorite books. I ended up meeting another fellow solo traveler and we cheerfully sipped our hot chocolates while recapping our days and talking about upcoming plans. It was a perfect Parisian evening.
Of all the cafes on this list, I think Café Pouchkine had my favorite hot chocolate in Paris. Located in Place de la Madeleine, it’s a very short walk from the Tuileries and around the corner from Les Galeries Lafayette. Imagine shopping at a decadent mall and ending it with a decadent hot chocolate in an opulent cafe – does anything sound more Parisian?
Café Pouchkine offered three hot chocolate options: traditional chocolat chaud, Viennese hot chocolate (chocolat chaud served with whipped cream), and orange hot chocolate. One of my favorite flavor combinations ever is chocolate & orange, so of course I opted for that!
It was wonderful. My favorite, hands down. Imagine a very high-end Chocolate Orange but perfectly warmed and served in a delicate cup.
The service was a bit slow, but I didn’t mind. This was everything I was looking for in my hot chocolate adventure.
Odette is a perfectly adorable cafe located in the Latin Quarter just a stone’s throw from Notre Dame. I’m cheating a little bit by putting it on this list, but I don’t mind.
Odette does not have the thick, luxurious, velvety hot chocolate that the other cafes offer. The hot chocolate here is delicious and perhaps comparable to what you would find at Starbucks, but not really the traditional Parisian chocolat chaud.
So why am I putting it on this list?
Because it is absolutely worth visiting! Odette is famous for their cream puffs and those alone are worth a stop. I stopped by and purchased two cream puffs and a hot chocolate and I had to run back down to the cashier to get two more cream puffs because they were so delicious.
So, no, Odette doesn’t have the luxurious hot chocolate that other cafes in Paris may boast about. But it is still a great option for a hot chocolate on a chilly day – and the cream puffs are just the cherry on top!
Pro tip: once you’re done enjoying Odette, walk just a block up the street to check out Shakespeare and Company. It is a cute, all-English bookstore that is famous and has a fascinating history!
Other Recommended Cafes
There are many other cafes in Paris that sell famous hot chocolate but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see all of them!
I can’t speak specifically to these cafes but they come highly recommended, so if you’re in the neighborhood, I’m sure they will be worth a stop!
- Café de la Paix – located near the Opera neighborhood, it is very close to Café Pouchkine, Les Galeries Lafayette, and the Place de la Madeleine shopping district.
- Bar 228 at the Hotel Meurice – located immediately adjacent to Angelina near the Tuileries. I tried to just stop by and was gruffly told me a reservation is required. So make that reservation!
- Jacques Genin – located in Le Marais, this is one of the few cafes that isn’t immediately around the Tuileries. If you make it to the Marais neighborhood, check it out!
- La Charlotte de Îsle – located on the Îsle Saint Louis. I tried to stop by but they were closed for their winter holidays. It looked adorable, though!