The colors of the macaroons at Laduree just scream Spring, don't they? (Not to mention the taste which is subtle yet rich and lighter than air. )
The history of Parisian tea salons is intimately tied to the history of the Ladurée family.
In 1862 Louis Ernest Ladurée, a miller from France’s southwest, opened a bakery at 16 rue Royale in Paris. At the same time, the first stone of the Garnier Opera was laid, and the area surrounding the Madeleine was rapidly developing into one of Paris' most important and elegant business districts. The most prestigious names in French luxury goods had already taken up residence in this neighborhood.
In 1871, a fire gave way to inspiring the transformation of the bakery to a pastry shop.
Jules Cheret was charged with decorating the pastry shop. Cheret was a famous turn-of-the-century painter and poster artist. His inspiration was the painting techniques used for the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the Garnier Opera.
Under the Second Empire, cafes developed and became more and more luxurious. They attracted Parisian high society.
The beginning of this century found Paris flocking to be seen in public. Women were also changing. They wanted to make new acquaintances. Literary salons and « les circles » were passe. Thus the Parisian café and pastry shop gave birth to one of the first tea salons in town. The ‘‘salon de thé’’ had a definite advantage over the cafés of the pooch: they permitted ladies to gather in freedom.
One of the many reasons why I am missing Paris so very much this spring. Today Laduree has a presence in many international cities. So if you do find yourself near Laduree have a macaroon for me. Pretty please...
Photos and history compliments of Laduree.